ARLINGTON, Tex. — The Giants expected Andrew Thomas to be a game-time decision Sunday – and even that wasn’t really enough time to settle on a close call.
The second-year left tackle was declared active about 90 minutes before kickoff against the Cowboys, but did not start. Instead, the Giants turned to Nate Solder at left tackle and Matt Peart at right tackle.
A reduced Thomas is a significant blow for the Giants, even more so than losing receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slatyon, and linebacker Jabrill Peppers for the game.
It’s unclear whether Thomas will be rotated in throughout the game as a way to limit snaps, or if he is only available in case of emergency. The Giants, who broke out offensively last week with 27 points, elevated veteran tackle Korey Cunningham from the practice squad to serve as a swing tackle in case of injury.
Thomas is in the middle of a Pro Bowl-caliber season, having only allowed one quarterback hit and no sacks on 185 pass-blocking snaps. A deeper-dive into the tape shows that Thomas has been stifling pass-rushers while mostly left on an island, as the Giants have been using tight ends and running backs to double-team or chip-block on the right side with Solder.
Without Thomas, Solder moves back to the left side, where he played most of his career. He allowed 20 total sacks as the Giants left tackle in 2018 and 2019, before opting out of last season and returning to find Thomas in his job.
The Giants gave Peart every opportunity to win the starting job opposite Thomas, but Solder unseated Peart to become the starter at the end of training camp. Peart, who is making his second career start in as many seasons, played 19 offensive snaps in Week 1 but has not played in any of the last three games.
The Giants’ offense exploded for eight 20-yard plays last week as quarterback Daniel Jones and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett showed a newfound aggressiveness easily traced back to confidence in Thomas protecting the blind side.
“It has a huge impact on me, on everyone,” Jones said this past week. “He’s played great. No secret. I think when you turn on the tape, he’s shut down pass rushers. Whoever he’s gone up against, he’s played really well. It’s the ultimate team game, and that’s an important position.”
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