T Andrew Thomas
July 31, 2021
Q: As you sit back and assess your season last year, your rookie year, how did you feel you did in terms of managing the expectations as a high draft pick? How much do you think you’ve grown already just from last year?
A: I think last year I learned a lot being a rookie, playing in the NFL the first time. I had a lot of experiences that I think will help my game. As a progression through the season, I definitely think I got better as the season went along and I’m happy for the things that I learned.
Q: Did you follow any of your college colleagues in terms of how their seasons went? We were talking to (Head Coach) Joe Judge a little but earlier today and he said part of the growth process for young guys like yourself who were drafted that high is managing the outside expectations, which obviously they’re so many of when you’re drafted that high. How did you feel like you did with that?
A: Yeah, definitely. You have to run your own race. You can’t really focus on what everyone else is doing. That takes away from your process and figuring out what you have to do to be a better player.
Q: When you heard (Tackle) Nate (Solder) was coming back this year, did you sit there and say, or did you have to go to Joe and say, ‘Am I still the starting left tackle?’ How did you approach that?
A: No, that was never a question. I was actually excited to have Nate back. I had talked to him a little bit in the 2020 season, but obviously he couldn’t play. So, actually being able to meet him in OTAs, really good guy. He looks out for the young guys, so I think he’s an asset to our offensive line.
Q: What’s it been like blocking (Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) again? I’m sure that felt like you’re back at practice at Georgia, right?
A: Yeah, it felt like Georgia again, going at it every day. I’m excited to have him here, definitely want to work and get better with him next to me.
Q: As you went into the offseason, was there anything in particular that you thought, ‘I really need to get better at this?’
A: I would say, not specific to football technique, getting stronger in the weight room, that was a big thing for me in the offseason. And then on the field, it’s working consistently on my sets and my hands.
Q: Where do you see the biggest gains between early last year and where you are now?
A: I would say to start off, just with my set. Just being more confident in my set, understanding my landmarks, where I have to get to, understanding who I’m going against, and understanding the different protects. Knowing where I have to be, and I put myself at a position.
Q: What’s different about your set now than it was last year?
A: Just understanding the landmarks, like how many kicks I take, depending on whether he’s a five-technique or a nine-technique, if it’s a quick protection, the type of set I used, stuff like that.
Q: Are there any veteran left tackles, or any tackles at all not just left tackles, that you kind of looked to and maybe kind of modeled your game after as you entered the NFL, and just picking stuff up from their techniques and their strengths that might be similar to yours’?
A: I watch a few different guys. I like watching (49ers Offensive Tackle) Trent Williams. I love watching (Ravens Offensive Tackle) Ronnie Stanley. Those are two of the guys I watch a lot and definitely pick up some things from them.