Giants could get back both starting tackles in Week 9

New York Giants offensive tackle Evan Neal (73) and New York Giants offensive tackle Andrew Thomas (78) exit the field after defeating the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants might be contemplating the future, considering their 2–6 record and a recent letdown against the New York Jets in Week 8.

A Positive Update on Daniel Jones

Quarterback Daniel Jones has been cleared following a neck injury. With this, there’s a budding hope that the Giants might see the return of two starting tackles in their Week 9 showdown with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Andrew Thomas’ Anticipated Return

Star left tackle Andrew Thomas has been in recovery since sustaining a hamstring injury in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys. Before the setback, Thomas had played 53 snaps, leaving the Giants without one of their premier offensive assets.

In his absence, the Giants tried different players at left tackle. It began with Josh Ezeudu, followed by a transition to Justin Pugh, who was quite remarkably signed off his couch to serve as a primary starter.

During the previous game, the offensive line surrendered 11 pressures and two sacks. Pugh’s performance stood out, as he yielded only two pressures in 26 snaps, commendable given his recent entry and limited experience.

Reflecting on his recent performance, Thomas had an impressive 2022 season with 1,173 snaps. He conceded only 23 pressures and four sacks, garnering high praise among eligible left tackles. His return against the Raiders could be pivotal, especially in safeguarding Jones after his severe injury.

Evan Neal’s Struggles and Potential Return

Apart from Thomas, there’s an expectation surrounding second-year tackle Evan Neal’s comeback from an ankle injury. Neal’s season has been underwhelming thus far, with 410 snaps resulting in 29 pressures, a sack, and four penalties. During his hiatus, Tyre Phillips has stepped in, conceding six pressures over two games but generally outperforming the former first-round pick.

Regardless of Phillips’ decent showings, the Giants are likely to reinstate Neal to his customary position. It might mean fewer opportunities for Phillips, who has showcased promise as a pass blocker. A fully-fit offensive line can invigorate the Giants’ offense, but with the way the season is shaping up and the evident move of trading Leonard Williams, there’s a palpable sense of a lost season.

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