One of the big questions leading up to the New York Giantsâ€™ Week 7 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles was who their starting left tackle would be.
After 4th overall pick, Andrew Thomas was punished for being late to a meeting last week, missing the first series, and losing out on reps to Matt Peart, it seems as if he will be back in the starting lineup against Philly.
This was to be expected, as you simply donâ€™t give up on a talent of Thomasâ€™ quality after just six games. While he has been problematic in pass blocking and below average in run blocking, heâ€™s taking gradual steps forward to justify retaining him in the starting group.
However, Peart made it extremely difficult to exclude him, so I imagine management might give him reps at right tackle throughout the contest if they donâ€™t end up starting him there, to begin with. Recent free-agent signing Cam Fleming has been tumultuous as well on the opposite side of Thomas, finishing week 6 with a 44.6 overall grade, per PFF.
This was Fleming’s worst run-blocking game by a large margin, and his pass blocking has consistently decreased in efficiency since Week 4 against the Rams. Overall, he needs more consistency if he wants to retain his starting position, as Peart is certainly knocking on the door and looking for more action to continue his development.
The #Giants plan on having first-round LT Andrew Thomas back in the starting lineup tonight vs. the #Eagles, source said. After a punishment for violating team policy for part of last Sunday, Thomas returns in good standing.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 22, 2020
Peart had a fantastic game in the run blocking department last week against Washington, holding his own and looking sharper than Thomas through six weeks. Nonetheless, it was a lesser sample size, and the Giants need to see more from him if they want to feel confident he can hold it down for the remainder of the season. It seems as if the Giants are on the same white wave-length as the fans, in the sense that they want Thomas and Peart to end up being their starting tackles for the future.
I believe they envision Peart on the right side, so I wouldnâ€™t be surprised if they rotate Fleming and the young Connecticut product against the Eagles.
#Giants WR Sterling Shepard (toe) still plans to at least try to give it a go tonight vs. the #Eagles. Wonâ€™t know for sure until he tests it here at the Linc later but thereâ€™s optimism heâ€™s back tonight.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 22, 2020
The New York Giants should be gaining back any other playmaker on offense:
In addition to the tackle conundrum, the Giants are also expecting wide receiver Sterling Shepard to give it a go on Thursday night. Considering this is one of the more important games of the year, as a win would inject the Giants right into the playoff race for the NFC East, having all of their weapons available would be huge.
Shepard has missed the past four games with a turf toe injury, and even if he has a setback against Philadelphia, he will have an additional three weeks to recover. The Giants play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (very tough game) in week 8 and then have their BYE, giving him a cushion of recovery time in the worst-case scenario.