Giants GM declares Evan Neal ‘needs to play better’

New York Giants offensive lineman Evan Neal (73) during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium.
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen did not hold back when evaluating the play of right tackle Evan Neal during his press conference on Monday, stating that an improvement in his game is needed.

Giants GM Joe Schoen calls on Evan Neal to “play better”

“Evan got off to a really good camp, had a concussion, missed a couple of weeks, came back, and needs to play better,” said Schoen via Giants.com. “Evan needs to play better. He knows that. Look forward to getting him back here when he’s healthy, but I think he’d admit there’s some things that he can do better, and we look forward to him continuing to improve.”

Evan Neal has played poorly this season

It has been a rough second season for the 2022 seventh-overall draft pick, whom Schoen drafted. He has committed five penalties and allowed two sacks this season and has missed several games due to injury. Neal’s lackluster play this season has earned him an abysmal Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade of 39.8.

His struggles have stood out the most among an offensive line group that has been dreadful this season, which has contributed to their lackluster offense overall. The Giants rank 30th in total yards of offense at 3,104 and tied for last in yards per play at 4.1.

Their lack of offensive production is a big factor in their 4-8 record on the season, which is tied for last in the NFC East.

Improving the offensive line will be a priority

Looking ahead to the draft, the Giants will need to focus primarily on offensive improvements. Whether or not they should select a quarterback has been a topic of discussion, and at this point, it’s all dependent on where they fall on the draft board.

In the past few seasons, the G-Men have focused heavily on upgrading the offensive line via the draft, but that may change in this upcoming draft, especially with the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position and their lack of playmaking at the wide receiver position.

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The Giants need Neal to turn things around ASAP

Neal’s on-field issues are a big reminder of the Giants’ bad luck when it comes to drafting offensive linemen. Andrew Thomas managed to become a successful pick, but Neal and Ereck Flowers are two of the most recent examples of first-round linemen not panning out for New York.

Therefore, the Giants will be relying on Neal to turn things around as the season winds down, but Schoen’s comments indicate that improvements need to happen soon. In a dream scenario, these comments could motivate Neal to step up.

However, if his struggles continue, it will be interesting to see if the Giants seek a replacement externally as opposed to trying their luck in the draft once again. Hopefully, Neal will make the proper adjustments to stay as a part of their rebuild.

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