Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: We were only out there for the start, what offensive lineman's got the best hands?
A: I'd say it's up for debate, but today (Offensive Lineman) Wes (Martin) had the best catch. He had a one-handed catch on a pat and go that was pretty cool.
Q: (Offensive Lineman) Isaiah (Wilson) had a one-handed one, too.
A: He did too, yeah.
Q: You're probably the only one who's got a catch in the game though, so you've got over them?
A: Exactly. I hold that over their heads a little bit (laughs)
Q: How are you feeling?
A: Pretty good. I had a longer week. We play on Monday night, so coming off the bye I got some time to get some reps in and I'm feeling pretty good.
Q: Anything that in your mind would keep you from playing at this point?
A: Nothing right now in my mind. Just taking it one day at a time, doing what the trainers tell me to and just trusting myself.
Q: How frustrating is it to get hurt? I mean, anytime it's frustrating, but when you're playing at a level that felt like a breakthrough?
A: Obviously, when you're building, you don't want to be off the field. We work a lot in the offseason to be on the field, to play with our teammates, so it's never a fun time to be off the field. But I'm just doing everything I can to get back out there.
Q: How confident are you that when you get back out there, you'll be the – I'll say it – dominant guy that you were the first five weeks?
A: That's the focus that any time I'm on the field, I'm dominating, I'm doing everything I can. 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.
Q: Have you spoken to anybody who's had experience with this in terms of keys to sort of picking up where you left off?
A: Not necessarily, but they've kept me very involved in the process as far as meetings and stuff like that, so I'm always in tune to what's going on. Any calls, any checks, I know what's going on.
Q: What's been the focus for you? Has it been the foot? Has it been the ankle? I know there's each one, right? Have you been working on one more than the other? How's that kind of been?
A: Not really, it's a little bit of both. Just managing both, trying to do what I can. It depends on the day and how they feel, so just doing what I can to make sure I'm ready to play.
Q: How much tougher is that? If you just have one side you can kind of focus on it, but you have both.
A: Yeah, it's not easy, but it puts a lot of emphasis on my technique. Plays that I might not be able to make athletically, if I have the right technique, I'll be in the right position, so that's what I'm trying to do.
Q: That play you got hurt against the Rams, it was just kind of a freak thing, right? You got rolled up on from behind.
A: Yeah, I just got rolled up. It was an inside zone play. It was just football. That's how it works sometimes, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Q: Did you know that it was like probably going to be a multi-week thing when it happened? Did it feel pretty bad?
A: I've gotten rolled up a few times in my career. It's always a scary thing. But once I walked off, I knew I would be okay.
Q: What did you think of the job (Tackle) Matt (Peart) did?
A: Matt did a great job. I commend him and (Tackle) Nate (Solder) being able to switch from left and right like that is not an easy thing to do. So, I commend him definitely for doing that.
Q: Even when you were playing, before you got rolled up on, you were really playing through something. You could tell that even when you walked, you could see it a little bit. How much better are you feeling now than you were at that point when you were just dealing with the one? I guess it was a foot bruise, right?
A: I'm feeling good. Obviously, I got some time off with the bye week and everything being on IR. Just working every day to get back to 100 percent.
Q: When you find yourself with as much time as you had away from the field, I know you got a lot of treatment, but you've always been a guy who's broken down yourself and looked at your technique. Did you get a chance to look at some of the things that had gotten you to that point?
A: Yeah, we did some self-scout. The biggest thing for me just this season in the run game was working on my double teams, getting a better fit, more movement in the run game. In the pass game, just being consistent when using independent hands. Sometimes I've used two hands to just working independent hands first. It stops some of the rushes from some of the guys.
Q: Do you ever play the game of looking back at what you were last year compared to what you put on film the first half of this year?
A: Yeah, before the season started obviously, I went back and watched the film – things that I did well, things that I need to improve on. Obviously, the goal is always to get better, so I think I've been doing that.
Q: Do you recognize the player you were last year versus what you've put on film this year?
A: I do recognize. At the end of the season, I think I started to turn on a little bit better and things started to slow down a little bit, but still a long way to go.
Q: How much are you itching to get out there? They have some talented pass rushers with (Buccaneers Outside Linebacker Shaquil) Barrett and (Buccaneers Outside Linebacker Jason) Pierre-Paul?
A: I'm very excited to get back out there with my teammates. Obviously, it's a great defensive line. A lot of veteran guys, so it's going to be fun.
Q: You played against those guys probably about a year ago. Do you feel like you're a different player now to handle them than you were then?
A: I wouldn't say a different player, but I would say definitely more experienced. I understand the game a lot better with the scheme, my offensive line technique, and things like that, so I'm excited to get back out there.
Q: Do you pay attention to the other first round picks, the tackles from your draft? You're not going up against them, but you're playing one of them this week. Do you pay attention to that at all?
A: Not really. I want all of them to succeed. It's definitely a talented offensive line class, but I try to focus on me to make sure I'm on the field playing.
Q: It doesn't mean anything extra for you when you play against them?
A: Not necessarily, no. I'm just trying to win.
Q: In the Saints game, you had, not everybody, but most of your offense and you had a huge game. You especially were one of the reasons the team was able to throw the ball down the field. Now, (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley) could be back. (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) and KT (Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney) are not on the injury report. Do you feel like this could pick up where the Saints game was and have another explosive game?
A: Not just off the Saints game, I think, even with all those guys out, the offense has been building the last couple weeks. We've definitely been running the ball a lot better, so I'm excited to get us all back out there and see what we can do.
Q: You obviously play division opponents more than once, but this is a team that you faced last year. Do you have to do things differently because those guys, like Barrett and JPP are going to kind of know you and you know them?
A: With their defensive scheme, they do a lot of things that changes each game, so we have to be prepared for things that we've seen this year and obviously when we played them last year. We're just trying to be prepared all the way around.
Q: Can you feel the responsibility of like when you seal off (Quarterback) Daniel's (Jones) backside, and again, it's just the one game, but the Saints game that comes to mind. But when you do a good job at Daniel's backside like the possibilities are almost endless? Can you feel that responsibility?
A: It's not just me, the offensive line as a group, 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.
Q: There's a movie called 'The Blindside' though, there's not a movie called 'Left Guard' (laughs).
A: I agree (laughs), but when you play people like (Rams Defensive Lineman) Aaron Donald, then it doesn't matter.