The Giants have one major silver lining on offense heading into the future

new york giants, daniel jones, andrew thomas

If you’ve had the unfortunate opportunity to watch the New York Giants’ offense this season, you’ve likely experienced resentment, depression, and even pure hatred.

The Giants currently host the league’s 30th ranked offense, averaging 16.5 points per game, even worse than the 2020 average of 17.5 points. We once hoped Big Blue would turn things around on offense with Daniel Jones going into his third season and the acquisition of big free-agent wide receiver Kenny Golladay. However, general manager Dave Dave Gettleman promised he would solve the offensive line. He even went as far as to say management had more confidence in the OL than the media and fans — turns out we were right.

“It’s really apparent that we have more confidence in our offensive line than you guys do,” Gettleman said before the seasons started. “We’re happy with the group we have.”

However, the decision to release Kevin Zeitler and promote Shane Lemieux to a starting role backfired incredibly. The two free agents the Giants signed during the off-season to provide depth on the OL retired prematurely (Zack Fulton and Joe Looney). Lemieux suffered a partially torn patellar tendon during the off-season, which ruled him out for the rest of the year.

The Giants’ OL now ranks 27th in pass blocking after landing at 32nd in 2020. Considering the talent they have available, OL coach Rob Sale has done a great job trying to find the right combinations and extract any potential from the players available. However, left tackle Andrew Thomas has witnessed an incredible acceleration of progress after ranking as the 55th pass-blocking tackle in football during his rookie season.

This year, Thomas has been the lone bright spot in the trenches for the Giants, ranking 8th among tackles with at least 450 pass-blocking snaps, per PFF. He has allowed just one sack, three quarterback hits, and 12 hurries, going five consecutive games without giving up a sack. Compared to last season, when he gave up 10 sacks and 39 hurries, the Giants have experienced massive development with their now bookend left tackle.

You can cross that position off as one the Giants don’t need to replace this upcoming off-season, despite the fact they desperately need an upgrade at right tackle with Nate Solder becoming a free agent. The Giants restructured Solder’s contract after he opted out of the 2020 season due to Covid building in a void year for the 2022 campaign that will pay him $4 million just to depart.

If the Giants can find an offensive tackle in the draft like Ikem Ekwonu or Evan Neal out of Alabama, the team will be looking at two stud tackles for the foreseeable future, especially if they are intrigued by the quarterback class in 2023.

Nonetheless, there haven’t been many silver linings on the offensive side this season. The shiftiness and agility of Kadarius Toney stand out, but his injuries have dampened his rookie campaign. Thomas remains the lone bright spot, given he’s battling through injury and dominating almost every game this season.

The Giants have several big decisions to make in the coming months, specifically regarding the general manager position and if they desire to continue rolling with Daniel Jones at quarterback. However, building the foundation of the offense would be advisable before spending another top pick on a QB.

New York Giants: Andrew Thomas enjoying fantastic second-year breakout

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants have arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL. In fact, Pro Football Focus has ranked the Giants’ offensive line 28th through fifteen weeks. For years, the Giants have unsuccessfully attempted to rebuild their offensive line. Except for one bright spot that has started to shine through this year. Left tackle Andrew Thomas is enjoying a fantastic second-year breakout, giving the Giants hope along the offensive line for the first time in a long time.

Andrew Thomas stats and highlights

The New York Giants selected Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. This pick was criticized heavily during Thomas’s rookie season. Andrew struggled to transition to the speed of the NFL and fell flat as a rookie. The Georgia product allowed 10 sacks and 57 pressures (second-most of all offensive tackles).

Andrew Thomas has bounced back to have a spectacular sophomore season. He has allowed only one sack this season in nine games. Thomas has posted a 79.5 pass-blocking grade this season, the sixteenth-highest grade in the league amongst offensive tackles (PFF).

The Giants’ offensive line might be in shambles, but Andrew Thomas has been a rock while protecting the quarterback’s blindside. Wholesale changes will come across the front line as the Giants look to make major upgrades this offseason. But the one constant will be Thomas as he remains firmly locked into the left tackle position.

Although the selection was criticized last year, the Giants’ decision to make Andrew Thomas the fourth-overall pick in last year’s draft seems like a phenomenal choice now. Thomas took a big leap this year and looks to be a foundational piece for the Giants going forward. The New York Giants will build their offensive line around Andrew Thomas to create a strong foundation for many years to come.

New York Giants head into Tampa Bay game as 10.5 point underdogs

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants exit their bye week with a Monday Night Football matchup against the Bucs, and predictably, Tampa has the advantage in the odds. The advantage for Tampa Bay has been set at -10.5 points (-110) and the over/under at 49.5 according to BetMGM.

It’s not surprising, of course. While the Giants are coming off a win and the Buccaneers are coming off a pair of back to back losses, Tampa is still one of the most talented teams in the league and one of the toughest names on the schedule for the Giants. And those back to back losses might make things harder on the Giants – they have to deal with a motivated Tom Brady, after all.

But there’s also reason to believe the Giants won’t settle for a blowout here, and that they might even beat the spread or more. That reason is desperation; after wins by rivals in the division, the Giants very much need to keep up their own good form if they want to avoid another season of being out of the hunt early on.

Tampa Bay suffering from injuries

One factor that might make this game closer than some expect is injuries.

Specifically, injuries in the secondary for Tampa Bay might hurt their performance against the Giants passing attack. Cornerback Carlton Davis III has been on the IR since suffering a quad injury in week 4, and CB Richard Sherman is also out following a pre-game injury on Sunday.

Sherman hasn’t been a regular player for the Bucs this season, so the Bucs may not see a big drop in play from his absence in this game. But Sherman’s injury still prevents Tampa from addressing a need at the position, which is why Sherman was signed this season.

And, fortunately for Giants defenders, the Bucs may not have Rob Gronkowski at tight end for this one. Gronkowski was at practice on Wednesday, but was absent the previous week and has been dealing with a rib injury over a number of weeks.

Injuries on the New York Giants side

The Giants do have their own injuries to deal with. However, things are trending in the right direction for some of their important playmakers.

The team has designated left tackle Andrew Thomas to return from IR, which is a big step for the offensive line. Thomas has become a key part of that line this season and his presence on the field would go a long way in making Daniel Jones more comfortable in the passing game. But right now, it’s not clear when Thomas will actually return to the field.

More likely is the return of Saquon Barkley, who has taken part in drills this week and seems to have a more optimistic timeline towards coming back.

Will the Giants beat the spread?

Let’s be completely honest here: the Giants are overmatched against the defending Super Bowl champs. Having to take on a motivated Tom Brady is also not a good spot to be in. And it doesn’t help that Daniel Jones is winless in primetime games.

However, the Giants have reasons of their own to be strongly motivated for this one. They’re also 5-4 against the spread this season. Generally, even when they haven’t won, the Giants have found a way to stay in the game and have exceeded Vegas’ expectations more often than not. The Bucs, on the other hand, are 3-6 against the spread.

It’s hard to project the Giants winning this one outright, based on the overall circumstances as well as Daniel Jones’ performance against Tampa last year. He had two touchdowns offset by two interceptions, and had his fifth worse quarterback rating of the season.

But Tampa isn’t quite as dominant right now as they were last year, and the Giants definitely have a chance to play up to the competition and stay in this one towards the end.

Prediction: Tampa Bay 28-24 New York, Bucs win outright but Giants cover the 10.5 point spread

New York Giants: Andrew Thomas designated to return to practice

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants should soon be getting a huge boost to their offense. Left tackle Andrew Thomas has been designated to return to practice. Thomas was placed on injured reserve on October 19 following the Giants’ blowout Week 6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Andrew Thomas has been dealing with injuries nearly all season. He missed the Giants’ Week 5 matchup with a left foot injury, returned in Week 6, then got injured again and was placed on injured reserve. To say that the Giants have felt Andrew Thomas’s absence over the past three games is an understatement.

The Giants designating Andrew Thomas to return to practice gives them a 21-day window to activate him off injured reserve. So, while Thomas could technically play this week, it still does not seem likely he does suit up on Monday. In all likelihood, Andrew Thomas will ease into practice this week with his eyes set on a return next Sunday versus the Eagles.

Getting Andrew Thomas back in the starting lineup will be a huge boost to the Giants’ offense. Thomas is one of the Giants’ most important players.

How important is Andrew Thomas?

The New York Giants offense has not been the same without second-year left tackle Andrew Thomas. The Giants’ 2020 first-round pick was having a breakout sophomore season before suffering injuries that placed him on injured reserve.

Andrew Thomas in 2021:

  • 293 snaps
  • 2 penalties
  • 0 sacks
  • 7 pressures allowed
  • 5 games played

The greatest part of Andrew Thomas’s breakout was that it became the catalyst to Daniel Jones’s breakout season. Daniel Jones was playing at a high level while Andrew Thomas protected his blindside. Since Thomas has gone down, Jones’s production has faltered.

  • Daniel Jones passing yards per game WITH Andrew Thomas at left tackle: 285.2
  • Daniel Jones passing yards per game WITHOUT Andrew Thomas at left tackle: 158.25

Once Andrew Thomas returns to the lineup, the Giants’ passing attack should be far more productive. Thomas provides security and stability on Daniel Jones’s blindside. Having a great pass-protecting left tackle also allows Jason Garrett to call more deep passing plays. Expect to see some major improvements to the New York Giants’ passing offense once Andrew Thomas re-enters the starting lineup.

New York Giants: Andrew Thomas and C.J. Board placed on IR list

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

Injuries have been a major factor for the New York Giants this season, and that trend is continuing as two more players are added to the injured reserve. That duo of players includes one of the pivotal starters on the offensive line, second year tackle Andrew Thomas.

Thomas has been placed on the injured reserve along with C.J. Board, and according to league rules will miss a minimum of three games before being eligible to return to the active roster.

C.J. Board, on the other hand, won’t have a chance to return this season. His injury, a broken arm, is longer term in scope and won’t be healed soon enough to make a comeback.

Thomas should come back this season, but that doesn’t mean the foot injury that he’s dealing with is a light one. The injury was sustained to the same foot that Thomas had surgery on in the offseason, and it’s possible that this season’s injury is connected to the previous one.

The second year left tackle, who has been much improved this season, was playing a key role for the offensive line before being taken out by injury.

His starting presence was a major factor during a season where the Giants have been notoriously thin along the offensive line.

The team was rushing to add depth to the position group during training camp, but that goal was hardly accomplished and more blows were dealt to the Giants after the season started. Injuries to Nick Gates and Shane Lemieux left the Giants banged up on the O-line even before Thomas’ injury, but the situation is now worse than before as another starter is out.

The Giants have had reasonable success this season improvising and coming up with on-the-fly solutions for this part of the roster. With a starting tackle out for at least three weeks, it seems like they’ll have to keep that trend up.

New York Giants should roll with young starting OT duo the rest of season

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart

The New York Giants have struggled to solidify their offensive line for years. Despite investing a fair amount of assets in the unit, the Giants still have one of the league’s worst front lines. Andrew Thomas seems to be a stud, but the Giants’ ultra-expensive right tackle Nate Solder has played poorly all season long. It is time for the Giants to get extra young on the offensive line and start another second-year player on the offensive line: right tackle Matt Peart.

Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart should be starting offensive tackles for the rest of the season. Left tackle Andrew Thomas is dealing with an injury, but the Giants feel confident that he will be able to bounce back and continue playing at a high level. On the right side, though, Nate Solder has struggled all season and had a pitiful performance playing left tackle in Week Five. It is time for Matt Peart to take over as the starter at right tackle.

Andrew Thomas stats and highlights

Through the first four games of the season, Andrew Thomas looked phenomenal. The Giants’ 2020 fourth overall pick struggled as a rookie, especially in the first quarter of the season.

Weeks 1-4 2020:

-3 QB hits

-13 hurries

-19 pressures

-3 sacks allowed

As a sophomore, Andrew Thomas looks far more polished. The Giants’ young left tackle has proven to be a true building block as a top-tier pass protector this season.

Weeks 1-4 2021:

-1 QB hit

-5 hurries

-6 pressure

-ZERO sacks

Matt Peart stats and highlights

It took him a while to put it together, but it seems like New York Giants offensive tackle Matt Peart has finally found his way in the NFL. After only 150 snaps in 2020, Peart was initially expected to be the Giants’ starting right tackle in 2021. Ultimately, Nate Solder won the job, but it seems like Matt Peart might have earned it back in Week Five.

Matt Peart allowed 1 pressure and 0 QB Hits on 68 snaps as the starter against the Cowboys. He significantly outperformed Nate Solder. As a second-year player, Peart is still developing. With increased playing time, he could turn into a viable option as a full-time starter for the Giants.

New York Giants: Andrew Thomas expected to play in week 5

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants play the Dallas Cowboys later today, and they should have Andrew Thomas on the field when they do it. The left tackle has been questionable all week because of a foot injury, and the decision to let him play seems to have come in at the last minute.

It’s not a stretch to call this move a surprise. Thomas was limited in practice throughout the week and the injury was sustained to the same foot that he had surgery on in the offseason. That injury appeared to be a major factor in his play last year,

Thomas has been a major part of the offensive line this season. The year has come with a step up in his performance, and the Giants especially need Thomas on the field given the absence of others on the offensive line due to injuries.

The team can only field a portion of their expected offensive line from the beginning of the season right now, and to also lose Thomas would be a critical blow.

With that being said, Thomas may not be 100% even if he does play.

He’s been battling the injury all week and hasn’t shown the signs of making a full recovery. While Thomas is set to play, it appears he’s playing through the injury rather than playing healthy.

The extent of how much the injury will affect his play on the field remains to be seen, but it’s something to keep in mind as context for any changes in performance.

How the Giants will likely supplement the potential loss of Andrew Thomas in Week 5

nate solder, new york giants

The New York Giants are preparing for left tackle Andrew Thomas to potentially miss Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5. Coming off an extravagant win over the New Orleans Saints last weekend, the Giants would like to build off their success, but a strong Dallas team requires all hands on deck.

With Thomas being listed as questionable for the game, losing him would represent a massive hole on the offensive front. He currently hosts a 79 overall pass-blocking grade, a massive uptick compared to his 54.7 grade last season, per PFF. He hasn’t allowed a sack through four games, stonewalling Cam Jordan last week in arguably his best performance as a professional.

Dealing with a foot injury, Thomas was limping noticeably during practice this week but was able to participate in a limited fashion.

Thomas stated regarding the injury:

“Sore, but I’m doing everything that the trainers are asking me to do. Taking care of it, doing a lot of treatment, trying to get it ready.”

Commenting on his participation in practice, Thomas said:

Good. I was in the rotation yesterday, in the rotation today with (Tackle) Nate (Solder) and (Tackle) Matt (Peart), so we’ll see what happens Sunday.

Projected starting OL without Andrew Thomas:

LT: Nate Solder

LG: Matt Skura

C: Billy Price

RG: Will Hernandez

RT: Matt Peart

In the case that Thomas is forced to miss Week 5, veteran tackle Nate Solder will likely take over at his traditional spot. Solder has spent the beginning portion of the season at right tackle, where he struggled for the most part. Coming off a 2020 season where Solder spent his time from home opting out due to COVID-19, he has allowed two sacks, three QB hits, six hurries, and 11 pressures over 246 snaps this season. Thomas taking such a big leap forward has allowed coordinator Jason Garrett to provide Solder with a bit more help on the right side, but he would have to shift over in the worst-case scenario.

The last time Solder played right tackle was back in 2011 during his rookie season with the New England Patriots. He played in 780 snaps during that year but spent eight seasons beyond that at left tackle, presenting himself as one of the most sturdy options in the league before making his way to the Giants and struggling considerably.

Of course, that would force sophomore lineman Matt Peart into the starting RT spot. Peart has enjoyed all of just 19 snaps this year. All 19 came against the Denver Broncos in Week 1. With little to no game experience this season in the new system run by OL coach Rob Sale, the Giants could be staring down the barrel of a loaded gun if Thomas is forced to miss any time.

New York Giants: Just how great has Andrew Thomas looked through 4 games?

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants have patiently been waiting for left tackle Andrew Thomas to reach his potential, and after struggling in the final preseason game of the off-season against the New England Patriots, he has been lights out on the football field.

The New York Giants are watching their young tackle blossom:

Thomas has had a tremendous start to the 2021 season, which is also his sophomore campaign. After a tough start to his rookie season, he turned it around during the second half, posting far more optimistic numbers. Following the conclusion of the year, Thomas immediately underwent surgery to fix an ankle issue that had been bothering him since training camp. Ever since then, Thomas has completely redefined himself, thanks to new coach Rob Sale, who has done a fantastic job helping elevate the offensive line as a whole.

Currently, the Giants offensive line ranks 17th in the league in pass-blocking efficiency, a big jump from 31st in 2020, per PFF. This is primarily thanks to the establishment of Thomas at the most important position in the trenches, which has given quarterback Daniel Jones more time in the pocket to execute his throws.

Just take a look at the detailed statistics that Thomas has posted this year compared to last season. They represent an entirely different player with processed fundamentals and a focus on great pass blocking.

2021:

-1 QB hit

-5 hurries

-6 pressure

-ZERO sacks

2020:

-3 QB hits

-13 hurries

-19 pressures

-3 sacks allowed

“I think this year I’m doing a little bit better with my sets, getting to the spot a little bit better with hand placement,’’ he said. “The thing I want to improve on is double teams in the run game. I think my base blocks on the D-ends have been pretty good but I got to get better on my double teams, getting up to the ’backers and second-level blocks.’’

Thomas knows that his development is far from over, but he started off the 2021 campaign in fantastic fashion. As the team’s top-rated pass protector, he has enjoyed 264 offensive snaps, committing just two penalties, both of which came against Washington.

It is not as if Thomas has faced off against lackluster talent either, taking on Chase Young, Dante Fowler, and Cam Jordan in consecutive weeks. In fact, Jordan, who struggled against the Giants in Week 4, recorded just one hit and two pressures, arguably his worst game of the season. The week before against New England, Jordan tallied three hits and six hurries, far outpacing his performance this past week against the Georgia product.

Not only is Thomas putting together a great start to his second professional season, but he’s doing it against quality players, which is all the difference.

New York Giants: Andrew Thomas’s season off to a stellar start

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants are 0-2 with a ton of negativity and pessimism surrounding the team. After the Giants’ Week Two Thursday Night loss, Giants fans are down in the dumps. A huge shadow of darkness has shrouded this team for the better part of three years now. However, every now and then, some glimpses of light shine through. One of those shining lights after two weeks of the 2021 NFL season is left tackle Andrew Thomas.

When Dave Gettleman was hired as general manager of the Giants in 2018, he vowed to fix the offensive line. In 2020, Gettleman made significant moves to deliver on that promise. Most notably, the Giants drafted Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Andrew Thomas’s rookie season was filled with inconsistency. Fans set the expectations high for the Giants’ top-five pick and he did not always deliver. However, he did flash great potential at times last season and looked forward to building on those good performances in 2021.

In the 2021 preseason, fans started to panic when Andrew Thomas struggled in the exhibition season’s finale. But after two weeks in the regular season, Andrew Thomas looks like a brand new player.

Andrew Thomas through two weeks

Andrew Thomas’s sophomore season is off to a strong start. To kick the year off, Thomas put together a top-notch performance against the Denver Broncos. On 43 pass-blocking snaps versus Denver, Thomas allowed 0 sacks (PFF). He also allowed only 2 pressuress in that game.

Andrew Thomas’s Week Two performance built on what he accomplished in Week one. Once again, Andrew Thomas allowed only 2 pressures in Week Two, this time on 38 pass-blocking snaps. Check out this phenomenal pass set below:

Daniel Jones seems to feel safe and comfortable with Andrew Thomas protecting his blindside. If he can continue to play at this level, Andrew Thomas will prove the doubters wrong and prove himself to have been a good selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.