New York Giants’ Andrew Thomas defends rookie Evan Neal after awful Week 3 performance

Alexander Wilson
evan neal, new york giants
Aug 21, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants offensive lineman Evan Neal (73) says a pregame prayer before the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants heavily invested in their offensive line this off-season, despite having minimal allocations. Financially, the Giants were in ruin when general manager Joe Schoen took over, but they were strapped with draft capital to help improve the trenches.

Schoen not only addressed the defensive line with Kayvon Thibodeaux but also landed Evan Neal with the 7th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Neal had been dominant with Alabama during his tenure, but his introduction to the NFL has been nothing but tough.

Over three games and 206 offensive snaps, Neal has allowed 4.0 sacks and 10 pressures, having one of his worst games as a football player in general against the Dallas Cowboys in Prime Time this past Monday. He allowed three sacks and five total pressures with a penalty but graded out adequately as a run blocker.

New York Giants rookie OT Evan Neal is NOT a “Bust”:

Some are already labeling Neal a “bust,” but that is an extremely premature argument given the difficulties Andrew Thomas dealt with as a rookie. Thomas gave up 10 sacks and 57 total pressures across 978 offensive snaps. He took a significant step forward in his growth during the 2021 season and has started his 2022 season on a high note.

Thomas knows all about labels and climbing out of difficult situations, which is why he came to the defense of his teammate after his abysmal Week 3 performance.

“I’ve definitely talked to Evan. It’s a short week, so we kind of had to put it to bed quickly. We’re already moved on to game planning for the Bears,” Thomas told reporters on Wednesday. “Just encouraging him to keep working and to have a short-term memory, but just a reminder that the stuff that you put on film, the rushers next week, they’re watching that. Just a reminder to clean that up and keep working the technique. He’s a talented kid, has all the tools in the world. He’s mature as hell, so I’m confident in him.”

The Giants will face off against the Chicago Bears on a short week this upcoming Sunday at 1 PM. The Bears currently rank 31st with a blitz rate of 7.3%, but they do rank 4th with a 33% pressure rate, normally sending four pass-rushers instead of getting more creative.

Neal will face another difficult task, but he has all the talent in the world to get the job done, as Thomas insinuates.

“It’s definitely not easy, especially coming from college where you dominate — you’re really good. It’s frustrating but I think he has a good attitude about it. He’s always asking me about different pointers and asking questions in the meeting room, just trying to get better every day. I think he has the right mindset,” Thomas added.