Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: Obviously, you've had a really good year in pass protection this season. How do you feel your run game has been? Do you feel you have to improve in that or are you good with it?
A: I think there's always room for improvement regardless of if it's run or pass. There are things that I want to work in both aspects.
Q: I know you don't make excuses, but has your ankle kind of limited you in this run-blocking game getting to that second level or is your ankle good with it?
A: I wouldn't say that. It's the NFL, everyone's playing banged up this late in the season. I've just got to find a way to be better with it.
Q: What do you remember about the second game of your career last year when you went to Chicago and faced (Bears Linebacker Robert) Quinn and (Bears Linebacker) Khalil Mack?
A: Yeah, I remember that game. First off, up front – very stout up front in the run game. Obviously, the pass rushers. Khalil is obviously not playing, but my first time seeing some of the best rushers in the league and introducing me to what it's going to be like week-in and week-out.
Q: What's it like going back there now? You're obviously a much more mature, seasoned player.
A: I'm just looking to continue to play as good as I can for my team and come out with a win.
Q: Did you feel like you were swimming a little bit in that first game last year?
A: I wouldn't say swimming. Obviously, that was only my second game playing as a rookie, but definitely learned a lot from it, obviously, and I'm going to continue to get better.
Q: There's always this thought the last couple games of a season when you're not in the playoffs, they're meaningless games, they don't matter. For you who has to line up every play and block someone every single play for 60-70 plays, how much does it matter? Can having some success in these last two weeks help you and the team for next year? Is there anything to that?
A: I think it's three parts to that. First, you're playing with the team. I'm out there and I'm going to do my best to help my brother out. We all work hard to do that. Then, there's myself. I've got pride. I'm going to step on the field, I'm going to play well. And lastly, you're always being evaluated by the coaches, so you want to put the best out that you can.
Q: In your short career, you've had a lot of people in your ear as far as offensive line coaches and assistants and things like that. Has that maybe lack of continuity been difficult for you? Do you think it's important to get one good, solid voice in your ear really helping here?
A: I wouldn't say that. I think having so many guys and for me personally I just try to be a sponge and take different pieces from each. Not try to do everything each coach is saying, but just taking what works for me and then trying to use that in a game.
Q: Have you ever had so many different voices in your career, like in college? There's usually one guy. Is this kind of unusual to have a lot of different guys there on the offensive line?
A: I'm used to having a head guy and assistant guy, but never this many. It's definitely something I think can help me and I think we've seen that this season.
Q: Is there anything that you kind of think about this season and you look back – it seems like almost everyone on the line has gotten hurt in some way, shape or form. Even this week, (Tackle) Matt (Peart) goes down with the injury, (Offensive Lineman) Korey (Cunningham) gets COVID, (Tackle) Nate (Solder) is coming back, (Center) Billy (Price) has got a personal issue. Has it just been crazy?
A: It's tough, definitely. With the offensive line, you want to have continuity playing each week, but with the injuries that we had and then obviously with COVID you've just have to try to be flexible, preach a next man up mentality and try to do the best that we can.
Q: With all these injuries, is it possible to really be a solid offensive line?
A: It's possible. I mean, a lot of other teams are dealing with injuries and COVID and playing good ball. We just have to make sure we're doing our technique and playing together.
Q: You've obviously made gains and strides this year. I'm sure Matt Peart was hoping to do the same. It hasn't really worked out for him and now he has the knee injury. What did you say to him as someone who came in together with him and was sort of on the same trajectory entering this year?
A: Matt is a great player, great teammate, has all the physical and mental tools to play this game for a long time. I'm sorry for him, hurt his ACL. That's not ideal, but he's going to work hard, and I think he's going to be a good player in this league.
Q: You've known (Offensive Lineman) Isaiah (Wilson) from Georgia, as well. What have you seen from him? Have you seen anything different or anything change from him?
A: I think Isaiah is definitely learning the playbook. It took him a little bit to try to catch on. I've been helping him, and he's been working with the assistant offensive line coaches, as well. Excited to see him get an opportunity.