He is one of, if not the best player on the team and is one of, if not the most indispensable player the Giants have on their roster.
So, what happens if that player, left tackle Andrew Thomas, is not available to play Sunday in Arizona, as the Giants in Week 2 already face a look-in-the-mirror crossroads after getting trounced 40-0 by the Cowboys in the opener?
Thomas is dealing with a strained hamstring, a soft-tissue injury that does not go away in a mere few days.
“It’s been feeling better since I first hurt it,” Thomas said Wednesday after practice — a practice in which he did not participate.
“They haven’t ruled me out or anything. They said it was nothing alarming, which was a good sign. Well see how it does the next few days.”
Thomas got hurt pursuing the ball on what became a touchdown return of a blocked field-goal attempt early in the noncompetitive rout.
He was able to remain in the game and play 53 of the 70 snaps on offense.
“That was just fighting through it, the adrenaline from the game,” Thomas said. “You definitely feel it, playing on a hamstring trying to anchor, trying to get off the ball, it’s not easy. Try not to make excuses, just try to get healthy.”
Daniel Jones was sacked seven times by the Cowboys.
Up next, the Cardinals’ defensive front is not considered to be in a class of the Dallas pass rush but did have six sacks in a 20-16 season-opening loss to the Commanders.
The depth at offensive tackle is not exactly teeming with proven or experienced options.
First in line could be Matt Peart, a 2020 third-round draft pick.
Josh Ezeudu, selected in the second round last year, has been taking snaps at left tackle the past two weeks or so.
That would seem to be a bit of a reach, though, considering Ezeudu was unable to beat out Ben Bredeson or Mike Glowinski for a starting job at guard.
“I feel comfortable wherever I’m at,” said Ezeudu, who started games at left tackle in college at North Carolina. “If they tell me [Thomas] can’t go and they tell me I’m in, then I’m ready to help the team. Yes, it’s left tackle but at the end of the day it’s still a spot on the line. I don’t see it as something bigger than what it is.”
The only other tackle on the roster is Marcus McKethan, a 2022 fifth-round pick who spent his entire rookie year on injured reserve with a torn ACL.
Coach Brian Daboll said Thomas is “making progress” and listed him as “day-to-day.”
Daboll never reveals much of anything about the deployment of personnel.
He did shoot down any notion that Evan Neal, the starting (and struggling) right tackle, would switch over to the left side — one of the spots he played in college at Alabama.
“We consider a lot of stuff, that’s probably not one of ’em,” Daboll said.
As far as Ezeudu moving outside to tackle, Daboll said, “He did good. He’s been practicing there for a while. He’s certainly an option in that spot, too.”
There was nothing close to a glowing endorsement of Peart, who had his problems at times in the preseason games.
Peart started five games in 2021 before tearing his ACL late that season. He played in nine games, with no starts, in 2022.
“Kind of like everybody,” Daboll said, when asked to assess Peart’s body of work this summer. “I think he’s improved in some areas. Knows what to do, did some good things and other than that we’ll keep on working with him.”
Peart was not ready to count out Thomas.
“You see a guy like AT, he works every single day and for something like that, I know he’s gonna attack his rehab hard and bounce back from it tenfold, because who he is and that’s the player he is,” Peart told The Post.
And what if Peart has to play in place of Thomas?
“I have the utmost confidence in myself and it’s not just about me, it’s me going out there and playing for my brothers,” he said.
Thomas prior to the season signed a five-year contract extension worth $117.5 million. The Giants have no one who can do what he does on the field.
“Yeah it’s frustrating but it’s part of the NFL,” Thomas said. “You deal with injuries, every team has them. It’s just about having the mindset just to keep pushing forward and do everything I can on my part to be able to play.”
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