The New York Giants are banking on second-year offensive tackle Evan Neal to have a big 2023 season. The seventh-overall pick in last year’s draft struggled immensely as a rookie, surrendering 39 pressures and seven sacks (PFF). In preparation for his sophomore season, Neal has worked tirelessly this offseason, tweaking his form to ensure he’s less “bunched up” in pass protection going forward.
Neal spent time this offseason training with former Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro Willie Anderson. The Bengals legend had Neal work on his stance this spring.
“I first saw his stance and I said, ‘That stance can’t be comfortable going against certain kinds of rushers,’” Anderson told ESPN. “I asked him if he had a problem with these kinds of rushers, and he said, ‘Yes!’”
New York Giants’ Coach Embraces Outside Assistance for Neal’s Development
New York Giants offensive line coach Bobby Johnson recently discussed Neal’s efforts to improve with an outside source. Johnson had no problem with Neal seeking help outside the organization, telling the New York Post that it was something that had been discussed.
“The stuff Evan was working on was stuff we had discussed post-season, so it wasn’t like a guy was going out and changing something you had no idea about and you’re getting surprised by it,” Johnson said. “These are all things we had communicated, whether it be after the season or during the offseason with him keeping me informed.
“My big thing with this whole thing, you got a guy who’s a young guy and a talented player who’s working to get better at his craft,” Johnson said. “I have no problem with that. I’ll never have a problem with that. What he did this offseason, what he’s working on now I give the kid all the credit in the world, because he’s a worker.”
Eliminating Wasted Motion: Johnson Identifies Stance Issues in Neal’s Game
According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, Johnson said Neal’s stance was too “bunched-up” last season, causing too much wasted motion for the rookie in pass protection.
“I don’t want any wasted motion,” Johnson said. “In this league, especially in our division, the pass rushers that we have, if you waste movement, they are gone. They are on the quarterback.”
Coach Johnson Expects Progress in Evan Neal’s Sophomore Season
Neal’s work ethic has earned the admiration of his offensive line coach. Johnson is confident that Neal’s offseason work will produce better results during the tackle’s sophomore season.
“I have no reason to believe with the work ethic [Neal] put in the attention to detail and pushing to be a really good player that we’ll see better results.’’Bobby Johnson via the New York Post