Offensive Tackle Evan Neal
Q: Has the pace of your progress frustrated you at all? Because I know you got out there, and (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs told us, 'Well you know, he's still not feeling it completely.' How do you feel in terms of the progress you're making?
A: I wouldn't call it frustration. I'm just making sure that whenever I do go out there, I'm 100 percent ready to go. I really don't want to leave a stone unturned and make a premature decision and something bad happen. So, just making sure I'm crossing every 'T' and dotting the 'I's, pretty much.
Q: Have you ever missed this much time before – in college, high school, anything?
A: No, never.
Q: So, what's it been like?
A: It's been tough watching from the sidelines. But it's given me a different perspective, for sure. I'm just focusing on healing up. I'm ready to get back out there.
Q: Is there something you have to do in practice or anything like that to know, 'Okay, I'm good now'? At what point do you know that you're ready to get back out there?
A: You never really know until you take those live reps out there. I can do drills on the side, and I can take pass sets and go on the boards, but that's not blocking an NFL defensive end in a game situation. I really won't know until I get back out there.
Q: What makes their pass rush in general – (Cowboys Linebacker) Micah (Parson) in particular – so hard to handle?
A: They do a lot up front. They're the number one team in the NFL in terms of gains and movement and stuff like that. The move Micah around a lot, and they've just got a good player.
Q: How much does that pass rush make it even more important for you guys to be able to run the ball in this game – when you have a pass rush like that to slow down that pass rush?
A: Running the ball has pretty much been our philosophy all year. It feels like it's equal as an importance because we've been a run-heavy offense all year.
Q: In an ideal situation, it feels this would have been the game for you to play to show, 'Look how far I've come since the last time I played them.' Is there any disappointment that might not happen and that you might not be able to do that?
A: Regardless of whether I play this week or I don't, I'm going to have another opportunity to play against NFL competition. I just want to make sure when I do go out there, I'm ready.
Q: Is it hard for you to test that this week since you guys aren't really going full in practice?
A: Yeah, just doing walkthroughs and stuff like that, it's hard to get a gauge. It's hard to get a live rep in in t-shirts.
Q: How hard is what this offensive line is doing as a whole? It was you, then it was Tyre (Phillips), then it was Matt (Peart). Then at guard, it's been (Ben) Bredeson, then (Shane) Lemieux and then (Joshua) Ezeudu. It just seems like there's no continuity. How hard is what this line is dealing with?
A: It's tough, but that's football. We're not the only line in the league that's dealing with stuff, guys going down and stuff like that. It's the nature of this game, and it's pretty much next man up.
Q: Are you going? Or you aren't sure about Thursday?
A: We're going to see, like Dabs said. Just take it day-to-day and see how I'm feeling come Thursday. I'll just go from there.
Q: Do you feel like you're close though?