Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: Congratulations on being named a captain.
A: Thank you, I appreciate it. It's definitely an honor when your teammates vote you to be one of the leaders on the team. I don't think it stops there. I'm working every day to be a better leader, to be a better player – not just for the offensive line but for the whole team.
Q: It's pretty early in your career for this. Did you expect that you would be named captain?
A: At the end of last season, in some of my exit meetings the biggest thing for me was to take the leadership role. A lot of times, I was focused on myself getting better – going through the struggles. The next thing for me is to be more vocal, lead by example and help the team in any way I can.
Q: How much more outspoken are you now than you were as a rookie? Your nature doesn't seem like a guy who is super loud.
A: Yeah, I'm definitely more of a quiet guy. Rookie year, it was even worse. I speak when I can, not a big ra-ra guy, but when I speak, most of the time people listen. That's the way I approach it.
Q: What's the importance of, and this is (Head Coach) Brian's (Daboll) first team as a head coach, to have this decent-sized group of captains. How important is that do you feel like to him for you to convey what is going on in the locker room?
A: Coach always says that this is a player league. It's ran by us – they give us the plays and technique, but at the end of the day, it's based on what we do on the field. Just being able to communicate between him and the players, making sure that we're all on the same page is a big thing for success.
Q: Does it still seem like an unsettled time? You lost a lot of guys out of your room today and tomorrow there could be more changes. Is it weird?
A: It's definitely one of the toughest days in the NFL. You see guys put blood, sweat and tears into this game and then just the way of the business, sometimes they don't make it which sucks. You build relationships with guys, you try to check on them, but it's the nature of the business, so we just try to roll with what we got and go from there.
Q: How weird or tough has it been for you because the guy playing next to you is not going to be (Guard) Shane Lemieux? In a week, we don't have any idea who it's going to be. How odd has that been? It could be (Offensive Line) Josh (Ezeudu) but he hasn't really practiced. How tough has that been?
A: Personnel-wise, I really don't have much to do with that. All I do is try to help the guy that's next to me. Obviously, I've played a little bit and have a few games under my belt so just try to help that person so we can get on the same page, have great communication and be dominant on the left side.
Q: Where are you at physically entering the season? How much have you had to manage your ankle during camp?
A: Every day. That's something, regardless if it's feeling great or it's feeling a little sore, I'm in the training room just trying to take care of it, rehab and stuff like that.
Q: Can you pinpoint a biggest difference for you going into year three now with where you're at?
A: For me, I would say it's more mental, and then it's just consistency. That's the biggest thing for me. There are a few plays last year that I wish I had back. They're not really physical things, it's more in my mind. I have a bad play, let it go, move on to the next play, and being more consistent with my technique.
Q: How close do you think the offense is to what you guys need to be for the first game?
A: Honestly, I still think we have a long way to go. Like we talked about, we got some guys down. We'll see after the official cuts who is on the roster and what we have. We're working every day to get better to be explosive on the offensive side of the ball.
Q: What is it that you see that needs to be ironed out? You guys are 10 days out.
A: It's just a new system. We got guys coming back off of injuries. Just working on building that comradery because this offense, it's about timing and understanding what you expect a certain guy to do, especially on the offensive line. We play five as one unit, so building that is important.
Q: You weren't out there a lot, but the offensive line in general, no matter who is out there, you haven't allowed a lot of sacks this preseason. Does that mean anything to you or is it just the preseason and you don't think it's a big deal?
A: No, it definitely means something. Every time we are out there, we want to protect the quarterback, whoever is in, and I think the guys did a great job of that. Like you said, I only had a few snaps in preseason, but the guys that were in played really well, played physical in the run game and protected the quarterback well.
Q: Are you confident – when you came here did you know what the offensive line is like? Are you confident that this will be a good to very good offensive line?
A: I definitely got confidence in our guys. We work every day to get better. We have some veterans in the group helping lead us. We're just looking forward to game one.
Q: You said the veterans were looking to lead you, I guess you kind of got to look in the mirror too.
A: Definitely. It sounds weird, kind of flew by fast. Definitely one of the guys to step forward and take the lead a little bit more.
Q: There was some noise early in the preseason about (Tackle) Evan Neal's first game and how he was struggling. How do you see him handling the spotlight he's in here?
A: Like I said before, Evan is very mature for being a rookie the way he approaches every day – he's trying to get better. He's taking care of his body, doing extra cardio or whatever he can to get better. I think he's doing a great job adjusting to that. Obviously, there's struggles when you first come into this league playing the tackle position, it's not easy, but he's doing a great job, and I think he has all the tools to be really good.