Giants can't afford LT Andrew Thomas to play like he did in final preseason game

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Andrew Thomas during training camp
Andrew Thomas during training camp

Let me first start this off by saying it's preseason football and the starters played just a single half against another opponent during that span.

What happened on Sunday night in East Rutherford for the Giants wasn't the prettiest. Head coach Joe Judge was looking for efficiency from his team, and while it was there on defense most snaps, the same couldn't be said for the offense. There was a three-and-out to start the game, a pick in the end zone from the one-yard line and more that just didn't look good.

But again, it's preseason and all that matters is stuff like that doesn't happen in two weeks when the Denver Broncos come to town for Week 1.

But what is very concerning that can be pulled from this game to criticize with good measure is the play of Andrew Thomas, the 2020 No. 4 overall pick who New York desperately needs to take a leap forward after a tumultuous rookie campaign. He's the left tackle drafted to protect Daniel Jones for the rest of his career.

And he did anything but that in his one half of work.

From the jump, Thomas was passive. In that three-and-out, Patriots defensive end Josh Uche -- a second-round pick in last year's draft who had just one sack in nine games last season -- got around the edge of Thomas with literal ease and took down Jones for the first sack of the night.

On the next possession, though the sack wasn't given to him, Uche did the same thing again on Jones performing a three-step drop. Two Patriots fell on him, however, and the sack went to the interior lineman.

Overall, per Pro Football Focus, Thomas allowed three total pressures (sack, hit, and hurry) while posting a 53.4 overall grade and a 45.0 pass block grade. He also committed a holding penalty that likely would've led to a sack off Jones' blindside.

"Started off a little slow," he told reporters after the game. "Some things I gotta improve on: My hand placement, staying wide on my set, and keeping the depth of the pocket.”

Now, of course, the entire Giants O-line wasn't perfect Sunday night and that's even more cause for concern considering the team was uber confident they would figure out their chemistry after their 2020 season.

But Thomas is going to have the biggest spotlight out of all the linemen on him this season because of what occurred in 2020 to go on top of the fact that others in his draft class like Mekhi Becton, Tristan Wirfs, and Jedrick Wills all performed consistently for their respective teams when on the field.

Thomas, though, believes he's made some improvements from last year.

"I think I made improvements, but there’s a lot of things I still need to work on," he said. "Trying to fix those things in camp. Hand placement and just being consistent in my set. Sometimes I do it the right way. Sometimes it might not be to my liking. So just trying to be as consistent as possible.”

Frankly, this is the last thing Giants fans wanted to see from Thomas. Yes, it's a long year and adjustments can be made as he said he'll be watching film to do. He also looked pretty solid in joint practices against the Cleveland Browns last week, bringing some optimism to all that watched.

But Thomas just looked overwhelmed by Uche, so imagine what Von Miller or Bradley Chubb will look like Week 1...

Simply put, the Giants can't afford Thomas to play like he did in the first half on Sunday. It's just not acceptable if they wish to elevate this offense and win games. And it's not like he'll have more reps against other teams to change things. He's jumping right into the fire with the rest of the team on Sept. 12.

So we'll see if Sunday was a fluke, but going based off last year's performance, this looked pretty familiar and doesn't bode well for New York if it isn't cleaned up.