New York Giants Twitter was set ablaze three minutes ahead of Week 6’s kickoff when ESPN’s Jordan Raanan alerted Big Blue faithful that their No. 4 overall draft pick, Andrew Thomas, would not be in the team’s starting lineup vs. Washington.
Fans were left puzzled, searching far and wide for answers that didn’t appear to yet exist. The broadcast crew sounded just as shocked when Thomas wasn’t spotted on the Giants’ first offensive possession, all this while hot takes filled the internet deeming Thomas a bust a mere five games into his pro career.
Things got even weirder at the start of the second quarter, as Thomas overtook Matt Peart at left tackle, seemingly pointing to a one-quarter suspension for disciplinary reasons. However, come mid-third quarter Thomas was sent back to the bench, as New York continued to play musical chairs with the position responsible for protecting Daniel Jones’ blindside.
Judge on Thomas Benching: ‘There’s Consequences for Mistakes’
Giants fans were finally given some answers postgame, as Thomas confirmed his benching was due to disciplinary matters and not his recent poor play.
“I was late for our meeting last night,” Thomas said. “Coach Judge always talks about actions have consequences, and I take responsibility for my actions and the consequences. It won’t happen again.”
Head coach Joe Judge piggybacked on Thomas’ comments, making it clear that Thomas’ benching was strictly due to violating team policy.
“I want to make clear, this wasn’t performance based at all,” Judge told reporters. “I’m not going to go too far into detail, but what I will say is Andrew violated team policy. There was nothing disobedient, disrespectful or malicious in what he did, but he made a mistake and there’s consequences for mistakes. We’ve got to make sure that we go ahead and we handle that the right way. That being said, I thought that Andrew did a really good job of accepting it, staying ready, performing when he got in the game.”
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Peart Vastly Outplayed Thomas
Judge later touched on Peart’s impressive play, giving credit to the third-round pick for his ability to handle being tossed into the fire, while also quick to reiterate his backing of Thomas’ character.
“I’m glad Matt was ready and I’m proud of how Andrew responded to it, he was very mature about it, came in early and competed well. Again, I’ll emphasize it’s important that everyone understands he didn’t do anything disrespectful, anything malicious or disobedient, but he made a mistake and mistakes have consequences.”
In terms of on-field play, Peart’s overall Pro Football Focus grade of 90.6 was the most amongst any Giants player who logged at least 25 snaps this past Sunday, a mark highlighted by a dominant 93.4 run-blocking grade. Thomas, meanwhile, checked in with an overall grade of 72.6 and a run-blocking grade of 79.5.
The fact of the matter is, this is less of a competition and more of a wake-up call for Thomas. While by no means perfect, Peart showed well and has always been believed to have the traits to be a future starter.
With that said, the Giants have invested too much in Thomas to give up this quickly. The hope since this past April’s NFL Draft has always been that Thomas and Peart prove to be a dominant bookend duo at tackle for years to come in the NFC East. That still remains the goal in New York, no matter which side these two youngsters eventually man.
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