Thursday, December 2, 2021

Left tackle rehab could be crucial for second half for Andrew Thomas Giants

The most important player in the Giants’ offense was walking the practice field in uniform on Wednesday morning, his first action since October 17.

“If I can play, I think I can definitely help the team a lot,” left tackle Andrew Thomas said afterward.

The problem is that Thomas hasn’t played. He has missed 4½ of the Giants’ last five matches due to injuries to his left ankle and right leg. He is also not expected to play Monday night in Tampa.

And the Giants (3-6) have little chance of change in the second half if Thomas doesn’t come back after recovering.

Wednesday’s return to practice was a step in the right direction. The Giants named him for a return from injured reserve, opening a three-week window for Thomas to be added to the active roster.

But it was only a small step, a quick rehearsal. Coach Joe Judge said Thomas would “at least start practice with us” on the field, implying low hopes for an immediate return.

The success of The Giants’ Offense hinged on the presence of a left tackle in its second year.

“He played really well for us before he got injured,” quarterback Daniel Jones said on Wednesday. “He’s a great player and he’s working hard to come back.”

Thomas, 22, is critically important as he allows offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to call in.

Left tackle Matt Pert and right tackle Nate Solder have worked hard. But without Thomas, the Giants have had to plan creatively around the quarterback’s inability to defend consistently.

They have moved Jones’ pockets with rollouts (especially against Carolina), gone heavy, and added formations such as unconventional call and college options, wildcat, pistol, and wishbone.

“It’s like a sweet-sour kind of feeling,” Thomas said recently of not being able to protect Jones’ blindness. “I’m excited to see my teammates play him. He’s worked hard and is playing well. Plus, I want to help my teammates win.”

The judge’s team has won two of the last three anyway. Even so, it’s impossible to stay on edge with a small margin of error when relying on a conservative, low-scoring approach.

Jones said of the Giants’ patient offensive approach, “It has a lot to do with the defense you’re playing with and how they’re playing you and what you’re doing well as an offense.” “Understanding this and putting it into your decision making and what you’re trying to do with the ball on certain plays is a big part of playing the game and playing the position.”

Thomas has been out for so long because he tried to play through a left ankle injury, or the Giants medical staff inadvertently let him play through it, depending on your interpretation.

Thomas, The Giants’ No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, had surgery on his left ankle last January and sustained the injury again late in a week-long win over New Orleans.

He lost a Week 5 in Dallas, but when he started in Week 6 against the Rams, Thomas’ inability to defend himself on his sore ankle resulted in a right leg injury in the second quarter.

Thomas Rams was stopping Safety Taylor Rapp in a running game when he began to hob with his left foot in the air. At the same time, a pile of players on the interior rolled over Thomas’s right foot, which was supporting his weight. He went down in a pile and hasn’t played since.

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Thomas said on Wednesday that he does not regret trying to play on his sore left ankle.

“Not necessarily,” he said. “My mindset is that if I can play I will try to get out there. If I’m hurting my team, then we decide to kick me out: the coach and a little myself. But I try my best to play whenever I get a chance.”

He also agreed that sometimes coaches or coaches are needed to capture players eager to keep an eye on the big picture.

“Of course as a player you want to play for your teammates,” he said. “The offseason is long and you only get a few opportunities. So when you get the opportunity you want to take it, and sometimes it takes a coach or trainer who says ‘maybe it takes you another week,’ or take your time and make sure it’s completely Be okay

Thomas said he’s spent the past month in the training room doing rehabilitation, conditioning, and self-scouting on his early-season games. He remained in New Jersey during goodbye week, continuing rehab at the facility.

With two bad legs, he keeps up his cardio by running in the pool and on the Alter-G, a gravity-defying treadmill that “basically lowers your weight so you don’t run at your full body weight capacity.” ” he said.

“Both [injuries] Making great progress,” he said. “Last week I’ve definitely made some progress on the field. I ran around a bit [Tuesday] With the coaches.”

Thomas said he could see on film that his dual teams in the run game needed some improvement, but also that “I fixed a lot of things with my set and my hands” in pass safety.

“This year I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress,” Thomas said. “I was playing at a very good level. I felt like I was getting better every week. I’m going to try to keep it up when I get out there.

The Giants’ Week 4 victory in New Orleans was the best example of what Thomas could do for this offense. Jones was not sacked and was struck only six times. He confidently knocked down the ball and smacked the ball down, scoring 27 points in the overtime win.

Thomas kept a disastrous presidential finale against the Patriots in his rear view mirror. He said he was constantly guiding him “where I want him” by setting him at the optimum angle to pick up his block.

So it’s safe to say that no one was more disappointed by Thomas’ extended absence than he was.

“It feels good to be back on the field with the guys,” he said on Wednesday.

Hopefully soon practice becomes a game and the Giants can open this offense.

“There are other people to accomplish this without me,” Thomas said. “But the goal is for me to be out there and do my best to help the team.”

Roster shuffle: The Giants signed LB Benardrick McKinney from their practice squad to the active roster and added travelman free agent running back 27-year-old Jonathan Williams to their practice squad.

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