Giants offensive tackle Andrew Thomas has had his work cut out for him through the first few games of his NFL career.
In Week 1, it was Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree. Last week, he faced Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. On Sunday, it’ll be 2020 second-overall pick Chase Young when the Giants host the Washington Football Team at MetLife Stadium.
In listing the stiff competition, it makes sense Thomas has surrendered a league-high 28 pressures as one of just four tackles to have given up 20 or more. Only Washington’s Geron Christian Sr. (5) has given up more sacks than Thomas (4).
But that hasn’t deterred the 21-year-old Thomas from focusing on his development.
“No, I wouldn’t say that my confidence is shaken,” he said on a Zoom call Friday afternoon. “There are things that I definitely need to work on, that comes from practicing, repetition and going against these very talented pass rushers early.
“I think that will actually build my confidence because I’ve seen the best, I’ve seen what the greatest in the NFL look like so I can continue to get better each and every week.”
Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said Thomas’ learning curve resembles that of the Cowboys’ Tyron Smith, who as a seven-time Pro Bowler is not a bad player to be compared to.
Andrew ThomasCharles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Garrett coached Smith in Dallas and watched him blossom into an All-Pro tackle over the course of nine seasons. But Garrett recalled how Smith had to work through growing pains before becoming the dominant offensive tackle that he is today.
“I think about a guy like Tyron Smith, who we had in Dallas. When we first got him there, he was going against DeMarcus Ware in practice every day,” Garrett said. “To be honest with you, right at the start he didn’t do very well. DeMarcus Ware really got after him. As it went along in training camp and as it went along when they competed against each other, Tyron started to win some. Then he started to win some more of them and then it would be back and forth and then it was 50/50. Then he started to win more than half.
“That’s really what these guys have to do. They have to keep battling, keep learning from their experiences. Be mentally tough, be physically tough. Technically, become better and you’ll grow and improve as a player over time. There’s no question it’s one of the most challenging positions in football. To block these elite rushers every week — Andrew has done a nice job so far. He’s going to get better and better as we go.”
In the Giants’ 37-34 loss to the Cowboys this past Sunday, Thomas had his best run-blocking game of the season despite giving up a sack to Lawrence and eight pressures. Garrett said facing the best of the best in the NFL will only serve Thomas well. That will continue this Sunday when Thomas faces Young, who has racked up 2.5 sacks and eight solo tackles so far this season.
“I’m sure Andrew’s going to be fired up for it. I’m sure they’ll both be fired up for it. I don’t think I’m going to have to push him extra this week,” offensive line coach Marc Colombo said of Thomas going up against Washington’s rookie defensive end. “He’ll be ready for the challenge, and it will be a challenge. It’s a good pass rusher, really good pass rusher. It’ll be exciting to see that matchup. I’m looking forward to it.”