Saquon Barkley isn’t the only expected boost the New York Giants offense will be receiving on Monday night. Hours before kickoff, the team announced that they have activated left tackle Andrew Thomas (ankle) from injured reserve. According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the former No. 4 overall pick will start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Second-year pro Matt Peart, who has started each of the past three games in Thomas’ absence, is expected to revert back to a reserve role. Per The Athletic’s Dan Duggan, the Giants are expected to roll with veteran Nate Solder opposite of Thomas at the right tackle position.
In other news, the Giants added an additional four players to their game-day roster alongside Thomas. Linebacker Trent Harris was signed from the team’s practice squad, while defensive back Steven Parker and tight end Chris Myarick were elevated from the practice squad. Wide receiver/return specialist Pharoh Cooper got the call up from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement for starting safety Logan Ryan, who will miss the game following a positive test.
Thomas Looking to Dominate — Again
That’s right, one of the most maligned selections from the 2020 Draft class was in the midst of a breakout season before injuries began to take a toll. Prior to missing the Giants’ Week 5 loss against Dallas, Thomas topped all second-year offensive linemen with a 79.0 pass-blocking grade, per Pro Football Focus. Over his 293 offensive snaps, Thomas has surrendered zero sacks while allowing seven pressures and committing two penalties.
“That’s the focus that any time I’m on the field, I’m dominating, I’m doing everything I can,” Thomas told reporters on November 20th. “That just comes with watching film, understanding my technique, and making sure I don’t lose anything on the field with the reps I’ve gotten this week. Just making sure I get my technique back.”
Thomas’ return couldn’t have come at a more welcoming time for the Giants and quarterback Daniel Jones, as they’ll face off with one of football’s most vaunted pass-rushing duos on Monday night in Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul.
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Thomas Eager to Protect for Jones
Even the biggest of Daniel Jones retractors can admit, if the young man has a relatively clean pocket, the Duke product can sling it. He proved it early on this season, averaging 296 yards passing and throwing four touchdowns to just one pick with Thomas in the lineup. However, since Thomas has been missing from the lineup, Jones’ production has taken a sizeable dip. Over his last four games, Jones has averaged less than 195 passing yards and tossed the same amount of interceptions (four) as he has touchdowns.
“We know that if we protect DJ, he’s going to make plays. We have talented receivers, good backs. If we give him time, he’s going to make special things happen, so that’s the goal.”
If Jones has time to scan the field, the Buccaneers defense has proven susceptible in the passing game, allowing 254.2 yards per game through the air — eighth-most in the NFL.
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