Following a disappointing rookie season in 2022, New York Giants right tackle Evan Neal has spent the offseason working on something new. Neal worked on his game with former NFL All-Pro Willie Anderson this offseason to change his stance and technique for the upcoming season.
“I’m open to change… This is just another one of those things, me trying something new, just seeing how I can get better,” Neal explained when asked about his new stance at OTAs.
Giants RT Evan Neal changing stance for 2023 season
Neal is considered a breakout candidate entering his sophomore season. The Alabama product was drafted with high expectations as the seventh overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Neal’s rookie season was one to forget, however, as the 360-pound tackle surrendered 39 pressures and seven sacks on the year.
In response to his woeful first season, Neal linked up with renowned offensive line coach Willie Anderson to sharpen his craft in preparation for 2023.
“Working with Willie was cool,” Neal said at OTAs. “Just gaining a lot of his knowledge, him being a Pro Bowl player. We were playing around with my stance, seeing what’s comfortable, seeing what’s not comfortable — the stance that I can be functional out of and explode out of and stuff like that.”
In addition to working on his stance, Neal and Anderson also took the time to develop a connection and work on the non-physical aspects of football.
“He came up here. We worked for a few days, watched film, got on the field, worked some different technique things. We have dialogue, we keep in contact, we keep in touch with each other, talk ball. Not everything has to be physical.”
Before starting at right tackle for the Giants in 2022, Neal was the starting left tackle at Alabama during his final collegiate season. The change from one side of the line to the other is a big adjustment; one that takes time to get the hang of. But for Neal, “It wasn’t that big of a deal.”
“Going from a left-handed stance to a right-handed stance, thankfully I’d done it before. I played three different positions at Alabama. It wasn’t that big of a deal. The main thing is I feel like it’s your hip alignments, stuff like that — just making sure that my hips get back adjusted to the right side. That’s the biggest thing.”Evan Neal via AL.com
When digging deeper into his new stance, Neal emphasized comfort as the catalyst to success.
“Like I said, just seeing, whether I’m widening out my base or narrowing it or just seeing what’s comfortable. You’ve got to be able to be functional in your stance and be able to move efficiently out of your stance. That’s what we were trying to find, find a place that I’m quick out of, that’s comfortable for me, a stance that I can get in and repeat rep after rep after rep.”Evan Neal on changing his stance for the 2023 season
Despite his struggles as a rookie, the Giants are still confident in Neal. His teammate Andrew Thomas has turned into an All-Pro left tackle despite having a similarly disappointing rookie season in 2021. Big Blue is hoping Neal can turn things around and have a similar career trajectory as Thomas.