Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: After the first couple of years that you've had here with the Giants, you have an opportunity here to make the playoffs. How much would it mean to you personally to get that done?
A: It definitely means a lot. I've never played in the playoffs as long as I've been in the league. It's definitely something you look forward to.
Q: You played in a lot of big college games. How do they compare to the NFL? Is there any lesson that you can take from that to bring to these games going forward?
A: I think it's different. At Georgia, we played some teams that you have a week off playing smaller schools and stuff like that. In the NFL, it's different. Every week, you're going against the best in the world. There's no time off and each game counts for winning.
Q: How about towards the end of the season? Those games get very important. I would think there is a little parallel there, or no?
A: I would say the atmosphere would be similar but I've never been to a playoff game, so I don't know what the playoffs are like.
Q: When did you become a believer? When did this feel possible to you? The last two years, you knew by midseason it wasn't a playoff team. Was it after the Week 1 win, was it before the season even started with the feeling, was it when you went 6-1? When did you know there was something different about these Giants?
A: I would say early into the offseason. Just the way that we gelled, the energy that (head) Coach (Brian) Daboll brought in early. It was just a different feel around the building. Obviously, the first game – it was a great win and I think that just sparked the season from there on.
Q: The last two years, anybody with an outside opinion beat up the Giants offensive line as, 'Not good enough.' Now, that's what people do to the Giants wide receiver room. Like, 'Who are these guys?' 'Not high draft picks,' 'Underproductive,' yet they came out and gave you a big game last week. What have you seen from (wide receiver) Richie James, Darius, (wide receiver) Isaiah Hodgins? These guys that maybe have faced a lot of adversity in their careers and they're kind of your go-to weapons on offense.
A: I would say they're all resilient. They've had their opportunities and they've made the most of them. Regardless of what people say about them or what they may think, when the game is on, they're ready to play, they're playing tough, physical, and making plays for us. We reap the benefits of that.
Q: What have you seen as far as the growth of this offense from Week 1 to now? I know there's been some twists and turns and new faces. Where have you seen the biggest growth overall in this offense?
A: The biggest growth? I would probably say how we started to gel later towards the season. I think earlier in the year, we were really good at running the ball then there was a stretch that we were throwing the ball. I think over the last few games, we've been able to do both really well, and that's what you need to win.
Q: How hard was it to gel with the injuries and different people coming in and out of the lineup?
A: It's not easy. The last few games, we rotated the left guard in different series and that's something that's not easy to overcome. We have a good group of guys, everyone trusts in each other and we go out there and try to make plays.
Q: We've seen Brian Daboll on the sideline get very emotional and hot. You've obviously seen that too. Has that been directed at you personally on the field for something that you've done at any point?
A: It has. I think it was the Chicago game. I had a mental error, went the wrong way. It could have been a big play and he was on me. That's what you want from your leader, to hold you accountable. I'm supposed to be a good player, a captain. When I have a mental lapse like that, obviously he's upset about it.
Q: What does 'on me' mean? How does that manifest itself?
A: Just vibrant, yelling. Whatever it is, just trying to get his point across any way he can.
Q: At that second, you said that's what you want in your coaches, right? At that second, I'm sure you're not thinking, 'Boy, this is terrific. I'm glad he's yelling at me.' Is there a process that you have to go through where you get mad at him, then you get mad at yourself and then you correct the error? How does that work in your head?
A: I have pride for myself, so I'm already frustrated before he even says anything. I try to have a high level of expectations for myself regardless of what coaches may say. By the time he came over there, I already knew what I needed to do and fixed it the next few drives.
Q: Some coaches kind of keep that level up a lot. He seems to do it, get it out of his system, maybe go on to the next person. How would you describe him as far as his level of temperament overall?
A: I would say he has energy whether we're doing good or doing bad. If there's something that he needs to fix, he's going to be (inaudible) by that and let you know. If we make a good play, he's going to have the same energy and uplift us. I think he's an emotional coach and that's just how he is, but we appreciate it.
Q: I know you've told me before that running the ball is harder than passing the ball and that's why a lot of teams pass the ball. My question is, do you think you showed something to the NFL and to opponents with the way you guys passed the ball against the Vikings? Did that even catch you by surprise, the ability to do that?
A: I think that starts with our coaching staff. That's the beauty of our play calling, whatever is working that day is what we're going to do. If we're running the ball well, we're going to run the ball and if we're passing it well, we're going to pass it. I think that started with DJ, he did a great job, (and) the receivers getting open. The offensive line, we've got to be better in pass protection because I think we left some plays out there, just pressure in his face for DJ. But I think he did a great job.