The NY Giants have a monumental decision to make at left tackle, but benching Andrew Thomas moving forward would be the wrong move
The NY Giants benched No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas for Sunday’s game against Washington after the rookie was late for a team meeting Saturday night, and despite his replacement, fellow rookie Matt Peart, playing well, must fight the temptation to keep Thomas on the bench.
Peart, chosen by the NY Giants in the third-round of April’s NFL Draft out of UConn, finished Sunday’s game as the Giants’ highest-graded offensive player with an 89.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, including a 93.4 run-blocking grade.
NY Giants LB Kyler Fackrell and CB James Bradberry were instrumental in Sunday's 20-19 win over the Washington Football Team, even as Daniel Jones struggled
Despite lining up at times against Washington Football Team rookie defensive end Chase Young, Peart only allowed one pressure on 11 snaps.
Monday, Giants head coach Joe Judge wouldn’t commit to Thomas starting Thursday against the Eagles.
“We’ll go through practice this week and kind of see where everything shakes out right now,” Judge said Monday. “But I was pleased with the way both he and Matt played, along with Cam (Fleming). We have multiple guys who can play the positions.
“We’ll go through practice these next couple of days and kind of see how everything shakes out. But again, we expect all of them to be at the game and we expect all of them to play.”
With only one real practice prior to Thursday night’s game, this isn’t the time to make a permanent change at left tackle, offensive line guru Duke Manyweather says.
“You have to roll with Thomas,” Manyweather tells GMenHQ. “He’s the No. 4 pick in the draft. You play him. Period.”
Thomas has looked stout against the run the past two games, but still has an overall grade of just 59.1 from Pro Football Focus and a pass blocking grade of 47.5.
“The real bad part is that Thomas hasn’t really improved in six weeks,” NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger told GMenHQ. “The same flaws I saw at Georgia, I’m still seeing now. He can’t keep his feet on the ground. It’s maddening to watch.”
While Baldinger thinks the Giants would be wise to sit Thomas and get Peart snaps, Manyweather believes Thomas’ flaws are fixable.
“He needs to find more consistency with his base,” Manyweather said. “Consistency in his pass sets, he tends to overset, which presents the green light for inside moves from defenders.
“Because his base isn’t always consistent with width and weight distribution, he has had some issues redirecting to post-cover the inside. He’s also been way too early with his hands way too often, which is a byproduct of him being out of position with his feet.”
Peart certainly played well enough to earn extended playing time in coming weeks, and as Baldinger points out, Peart’s 86.5 wingspan “might be the longest in the NFL, and that’s a huge asset,” getting Peart on the field should not come at the expense of playing Thomas.
What Judge, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and the Giants must realize is that like it or not, this team remains in the infancy of an overdue rebuild, and given what the organization has invested in Thomas along with his immense potential, giving up now could destroy his confidence and his upside.
“Growing pains happen,” Manyweather said. “It would be a huge blow if they benched him because of this. We give up on guys way too soon in the NFL.”
To give up on Thomas now could be disastrous in the short and long-term for the Giants.
Matt Lombardo is the site expert for GMenHQ, and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday for FanSided. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattLombardoNFL.