Giants get their starting right tackle back from concussion protocol

New York Giants, NYG, Giants, Evan Neal, Mark Glowinski
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Giants prepare for their second preseason clash against the Carolina Panthers this Friday evening, there’s a mix of excitement and essential development needed from the team. While their previous game showcased a few standouts, there were evident shortcomings, especially with the offensive line.

Strengthening the Reserve Options

The Giants recognized the pressing need to bolster their backup options, and in response, they signed Julie’n Davenport to a contract this week. This move underscores the team’s commitment to strengthening their lineup and ensuring depth in critical positions.

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A Ray of Hope: Evan Neal Returns

In a significant boost for the team, starting right tackle Evan Neal successfully cleared the concussion protocols, becoming a full participant in Wednesday’s practice sessions. This opens the possibility of Neal making his debut for the season in the upcoming game against the Panthers.

Reflecting on Neal’s 2022 rookie season brings a mix of highs and lows. Despite delivering some commendable performances, he conceded 52 pressures and eight sacks, playing all 859 snaps at the right tackle position and earning seven penalties. Particularly, his encounters with top-tier pass rushers in the NFC East were challenging.

The Key to Unlocking Giants’ Explosive Playmaking

The Giants’ strategic game plan leans heavily on bolstering their offensive line, with the primary goal to shield quarterback Daniel Jones. This not only enhances their deep-passing game but also broadens their offensive options.

Neal’s progression into his second year is pivotal to this strategy. His commitment during the off-season, focusing on refining his technique and boosting his flexibility, is commendable. The reduction in weight is also anticipated to improve his responsiveness and stance efficacy.

The team’s aspirations to harness the prowess of speedy receivers, such as Darius Slayton and Jalin Hyatt, are largely contingent on the offensive line’s performance. A fortified protection for Jones, especially on the right side, will play a pivotal role in the Giants’ success trajectory. Sadly, the backup options in this department are not too promising.

However, with Neal’s anticipated return from his concussion setback, he’s expected to have a preseason game experience, setting the stage for the team’s crucial Week 1 face-off against the Dallas Cowboys.