EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Andrew Thomas has faced some of the NFL’s top pass rushers in his first five games with the winless New York Giants, and he has quickly learned playing left tackle at this level isn’t easy.
The fourth pick overall in the draft, Thomas has been responsible for at least four sacks by Giants opponents as he’s faced the likes of Demarcus Ware of the Cowboys, Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn of the Bears and Bud Dupree of the Steelers.
The task will get no easier Sunday when Thomas will likely face No. 2 overall draft pick Chase Young of Washington (1-4) at MetLife Stadium.
“I think I see progression, but there are definitely things that I definitely need to get better at,” Thomas said Friday. “Things that I’ve been working on, just focusing on, because it’s every week in the NFL. There are no days off, there are no plays off. I’m just trying to cut down my negative plays as much as possible.”
The play that might stand out to many was the strip-sack of quarterback Daniel Jones that Ware had last weekend. It was returned for a touchdown by Cowboys defensive back Anthony Brown.
On the play, Thomas said he didn’t hit his landmark and Ware was able to beat him to the edge. The second mistake was he allowed the defensive end to deflect his punch and Ware quickly scooted past him for the sack and strip.
Offensive line coach Marc Colombo said Thomas’ biggest issue is consistency. However, he added the talent that he has faced will make him a better player.
“Andrew’s capable of being a dominating left tackle in the NFL,” Colombo said earlier this week. “I truly believe that. He’s gone against some really good competition, he’s done well at times and at times not so much.”
The Giants didn’t say whether they intended to start Thomas at left tackle this season after taking him in the draft. The decision was taken out of their hands when veteran Nate Solder opted out of this season because of concerns about the coronavirus.
Instead of having a competition for the most important job on the line, Thomas became the Giants’ best option. Not having Solder around also cost him a chance to talk to a veteran who had played the spot for years both in New York and New England.
Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said when he was the coach in Dallas, Cowboys seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Tyron Smith needed time to adjust to playing the position when he was younger.
“There’s no question it’s one of the most challenging positions in football,” Garrett said. “To block these elite rushers every week — Andrew has done a nice job so far. He’s going to get better and better as we go.”
Thomas, who surprised the Cowboys by catching a 2-point conversion, insists he is confident in his ability.
“There are things that I definitely need to work on,” the 21-year-old said. “That comes from practice and repetition, and like we talked about earlier, going up against these very talented pass rushers early I think will actually help build my confidence because I’ve seen the best. I’ve seen what the greatest in the NFL look like, so I can continue to get better each and every week.”
NOTES: DT Dexter Lawrence (knee) and WR Darius Slayton (foot) are questionable for Sunday. They were limited at practice all week. S Adrian Colbert (shoulder) also is questionable but was practiced fully on Friday. LB Kyler Fackrell and S Jabrill Peppers are expected to play despite being limited at practice with ankle injuries. … LB David Mayo was activated off injured reserve on Friday after missing the start of the season following surgery on his left knee. He started 13 games last season and tied for second on the team with 80 tackles.
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