T Andrew Thomas
September 25, 2020
Q: Can you just talk a little bit about some of the injuries on the other side. Not having to face Bosa and those guys. Does that change anything for you and just your thoughts about that?
A: Not necessarily, they are very talented on their defensive line. They put a lot of faith in their front seven, all those guys are talented. They brought in some guys recently that will be up there to play for Sunday. We just have to be prepared for a very talented defensive line across the board.
Q: Each week you have been making progress. Where in your mind do you feel you have made the biggest jump from week of training camp to where you are now?
A: The biggest thing I have been working on is just my hands in pass pro. Being more consistent with them with my strength and my punch, that’s something that I’m still working on. I made improvements but I’m still trying to get better every day.
Q: Coach (Judge) has talked about your play a little bit. He’s lauded how hard you’ve played and you’ve gotten better. What have you really learned at this point through two games about handling NFL pass rushers?
A: You have to be very specific in your technique every play. You can’t get lulled to sleep. You can’t revert to old habits. You have to make sure you have the same technique. The biggest thing for me is having different types of sets, different types of approaches to guys. If you do the same thing over and over, they will adjust to it. Being able to switch up your technique.
Q: I’m just curious, what has it been like to go against guys like Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt and Khalil Mack. Has any of them surprised you? Is this kind of what you expected?
A: I knew all those guys are very talented. That’s the beauty of the NFL, it’s every week, you’re going against the best. Especially playing left tackle., some of the best pass rushers in the world, so I have to be prepared every week. It was a great start going against some guys like that. Some of those guys are the cream of the crop in the NFL so it’s a good start for me.
Q: You’ve gone against some pretty good guys in the SEC obviously but has the power and the speed, any of that surprised you at all?
A: I wouldn’t say necessarily the power and speed, but it’s how refined they are in their moves. They understand what they’re doing. They take advantage of things you might do. In college you might overset, they may not take it or you might be too long with your outside hand punch. In the NFL they take advantage of everything you do that might not be correct.
Q: I don’t know if you felt this way but late in the third quarter when you had really been seeing a steady diet of Robert Quinn last week, all of the sudden Khalil Mack pops up on that side. They thought they were going to take advantage of you by not showing you him until late in the third. What was your reaction? Did you realize, okay Mack’s on my side. How much of a challenge is it to kind of recover late in the game and think back to all you probably studied in the week that now all of the sudden you hadn’t seen for two plus quarters?
A: In film study we knew that Khalil would move around. I didn’t know when, but I knew at some point he would come to my side obviously. We studied him thoroughly. When he came over to my side, I did my best to do my technique and the things I was coached.
Q: How do you develop the skill within a game to know a guy hit me with this move in the first quarter on the first or second series. Then to have that recollection later in the game to know okay he’s coming back with the same move, this is what I didn’t do two quarters earlier.
A: The first thing is to make sure you’re firm in your technique. If you come on the sideline you know you overset, or you know you did something wrong then you can understand what I need to do first. Then you can react to what type of move he’s giving you based on what you did. Understanding what your technique, what your approach is and reacting to that.
Q: I know its pretty master of the obvious but when you correct that within a game and you know you made the play that you didn’t make earlier. How rewarding is that to the work that you’re putting in?
A: It’s definitely working. You want to do that every play but the reality of it is it’s the NFL. There are going to be times that you slip up. When you get it right, it’s definitely a good feeling.
Q: From your experience as a lineman at all levels. Does the pass protection come before the running game? It seems against the Bears, the pass protection firmed up but the running game still lacking?
A: I wouldn’t say we give more emphasis to either one. I think we want to be very dominant in both. Obviously, we have to get better in protecting the quarterback and definitely running the ball (and) opening up holes. We put emphasis on both.
Q: The first game you guys were unable to move the Steelers. Are you seeing you’re moving people now?
A: In practice we’re working on our technique, that’s the biggest thing we have been working on. I think we have the mentality to be physical and move guys off the ball. We’ve been working on our technique making sure we’re refining our technique to make sure we move guys off the ball, we get off to our linebackers, things of that nature.
Q: You’ve gone against Lorenzo Carter all of training camp and back to your Georgia days. Is he playing right now at the highest level you’ve seen him play and why?
A: I remember our first actually full padded practice up here going against Lorenzo and it just felt different from Georgia. Obviously, he’s been in the NFL. He’s adjusted to the speed and become a better pass rusher and makes me better every day.
Q: There’s another left tackle in the state who’s in his second game, playing in his third game. Have you and Mekhi Becton built any kind of relationship? Have you guys stayed in touch at all in terms of bouncing things off, similar experiences off each other as you go through this thing together 20 miles away from each other?
A: No, I haven’t talked to him much. Hoping for the best, hope he continues to play well.