Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: Since you just played them so recently, what are your takeaways? And now that you're getting into film this week from the last Commanders game and lessons you might have learned – (what are your) takeaways?
A: In the first game on the offensive side of the ball, especially the offensive line, we left a lot of plays on the field, errors, missed assignments, things like that. Obviously, they're a very talented front seven, but we've got to eliminate the errors to give ourselves a chance to win.
Q: It wasn't too long ago that you were a rookie and going through your ups and downs. You obviously overcame them. What do you see from rookie (tackle) Evan Neal, who you are obviously close with, plays on the other side of the line, (he) did not have his best game yesterday. Do you see him and kind of see a little bit of yourself in him?
A: I think Evan's doing a good job with handling (and) dealing with some of the difficulties. I would just say it's not just him; the offensive line, we feel like we can play better. We can be able to run the ball better, protect better. So, we're all trying to lift each other up. Obviously, it's his rookie year, but we're trying to lean on each other to be better to make a push for the playoffs.
Q: Do you see any similarities in some of the things maybe he's struggling with and some of the things you struggled with like, 'this is what rookies have to go through,' kind of thing?
A: Definitely. You're a rookie; you're going against the best pass rushers that want to do their best to exploit you. If you do something on film, they're going to do the same thing the next week. That doesn't just go for him; that goes for all of us across the board.
Q: In the first five snaps, you guys gave up two sacks. I think you gave up one. Evan gave up one. Obviously, it got better. Is that a difficult way to start, and is that something that kind of maybe you're worried about setting a tone for the game?
A: There's definitely adversity. As an offensive line, you don't ever want something like that to happen, but we have to do a better job of responding when adversity happens. We're going to play against good fronts. They're talented, they get paid, too. If they make a play, we have to do a good job of flushing it and being better the next play.
Q: (Washington Commanders defensive end) Chase Young, it sounds like after he didn't play in the first go-around against the Giants, it sounds like they're targeting him for this game. How do you approach the addition of him to that front?
A: Like I said, it's already a talented front. Adding him just makes it better. He's an explosive rusher. He plays hard. So, really do a good job. I don't really know how they're going to use him as far as snap counts and stuff like that. Just watch film from last year and his rookie year to prepare for that.
Q: You're obviously so young in your career, but it's been a long time since the Giants organization played in games with these kinds of stakes and these kinds of opportunities, but also consequences. Is that something that permeates the locker room at all? Or do you guys ever mention that kind of stuff to each other?
A: We do. Coach (Brian) Daboll always says, 'What we do in December is what people remember.' These games mean the most, and we're blessed to have our opportunity to compete, have an opportunity to play in the playoffs. We're looking forward to the challenge – we've just got to do a good job of executing.
Q: You've obviously played in a lot of big games in your college career, and then now you're getting this one. I would say that this is the biggest you've played in your pro career until this point. You're a pretty cerebral guy, even-keeled, kind of just attack the week. Is there any time this week, do you think, that you'll kind of embrace the emotions of everything? Or am I just misreading that, and you are a guy that likes to lean into the emotions of the moment and really fire yourself up in terms of playing that?
A: Sometimes I feel like you can get so caught up in the moment and just trying to prepare and prepare and be the best player you can. But like you said, not experiencing something like this for the first two years of my career and having an opportunity, I'm definitely grateful and looking forward to it. But at the same time, I'm focused and I'm motivated on doing everything I can to help the team win.
Q: Is there an appreciation within the team aspect of it that there are guys who are going to be emotional this week? There are other guys who are going to play the role that have to make sure nobody gets too hot. Is that an important component of this week for this team, especially for the captains to kind of know what buttons to push as far as what guys need to get ready?
A: Yeah, I think so. You don't want to go out and do something drastic that you haven't been doing all season. But you also want to be focused on every minute detail, making sure that we're doing our best to put ourselves in a great situation. Just focusing on that and having high energy is, I think, the way to do that.
Q: How much do you guys in the locker room basically see this as a playoff game given what the environment is going to be, what the stakes are and the fact that the entire football world is kind of going to be watching?
A: We know what's on the line. You already know the mentality that comes with that. Washington is a great team. Our division is great this year. We know what this game means, and we're doing our best to prepare for that.
Q: You've been in a lot of big games before at Georgia, obviously, but you haven't been in a lot of playoff game, playoff-type atmosphere – especially on the road – at the professional level. What do you expect from that?
A: I know the environment is going to be crazy. I know Washington is going to bring it. They want to be in the playoffs just as bad as we do. It's going to come down to who wants it more and who executes better. That's what we're focused on and trying to do that on Sunday.
Q: Do you feel like you guys can make the playoffs if you don't win the game, or do you almost feel like this is the game you have to have if you really want to be in the playoffs?
A: I'm not really looking past Washington right now. That's really my main focus. Any game we play, we want to win. Obviously, this one means a lot more. We're focused on getting this one and we'll worry about the rest of the season after this game.
Q: And even though it was a tie, that last game, did you feel like you guys gave one away, that it was right there within your grasp, up seven, it seemed like there were so many plays where it could've been over. At the end of the day, did it almost feel like a loss?
A: It's frustrating when you put yourself in a position to be up on a team and pull out a win against a divisional opponent. You want to be able to do that and we didn't do enough to get that done. We're just going back through film, watching that just to see what we can clean up, what we can do better to get the win on Sunday.