On Sunday, the 0-5 Giants will welcome the 1-4 Washington Football Team to MetLife Stadium, and even though both teams have struggled, Sunday’s contest could go along way in the NFC East standings.
One of the key position battles will take place in the trenches, as Chase Young and Andrew Thomas – the second and fourth overall picks from the 2020 draft, respectively – matchup for the first time as NFL players.
Thomas was asked on Friday about facing Young for the first time as pros, and while Young presents quite the individual challenge, Thomas knows the entire Washington defensive front will be tough.
“Obviously, very talented guy, but not just him. Their whole front, I think, is like five first round draft picks,” Thomas said. “It’s going to be a good matchup for our tackles and our inside guys. It’s going to be a good game.”
Thomas has been thrust into a starting left tackle spot for Week 1. While he could have potentially earned that spot in Training Camp anyway, it became a necessity once Nate Solder opted out due to COVID concerns.
His play has been up and down, but he’s seeing things on film that show him he’s heading in the right direction.
“I think I see progression, but there are definitely things that I definitely need to get better at,” Thomas said. “Things that I’ve been working on, just focusing on, because it’s every week in the NFL. There are no days off, there are no plays off. I’m just trying to cut down my negative plays as much as possible.
“One (area) is the hand usage. They’re very key on using their hands and their secondary rushes. The biggest thing for me personally is just consistency in my set. At Georgia, if you don’t take a good set, sometimes you can get away with it with athleticism and strength. But at this level, if you don’t take a great set, then they’re going to take advantage of it.”
As a starting left tackle, Thomas has already seen more than his fair share of elite NFL pass rushers lined up opposite of him, from DeMarcus Lawrence, to T.J. Watt, to Kahlil Mack.
It’s been a challenge for Thomas, without a doubt, but facing this gauntlet of pass-rushers so early in his career will help him in the longer, says the Georgia product.
“I think it’s actually been good for me, to see it so early so I can understand how it goes and how it is week in and week out,” Thomas said. “I think that will make me better in the long run.
“I think the biggest thing is focusing on myself. Obviously, you have to understand the pass-rushers, what their moves are, their counters and things like that. But I think the biggest thing for me is just focusing on myself, making sure that my technique is correct because regardless of what they do, if I’m not doing my technique right, then they’re going to be successful. That’s been the biggest focus for me.”
But even through the ups and downs of his early NFL career, Thomas is staying confident, and he’s determined to keep improving his game with each new opportunity that presents itself.
“No, I wouldn’t say that my confidence is shaken,” Thomas said. “I think, like I said, there are things that I definitely need to work on. That comes from practice and repetition, and like we talked about earlier, going up against these very talented pass rushers early I think will actually help 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.”