In a surprise move before last Sunday’s game against the Washington Football Team, Matt Peart started his first career game at left tackle. Oddly enough, New York Giants head coach Joe Judge made the decision to start Peart over rookie Andrew Thomas minutes before kickoff.
Some thought this was a benching for Andrew Thomas since, in the first five weeks, he allowed 28 pressures. However, Thomas did not get to a meeting on time and Judge benched the rookie tackle in the first quarter. Thomas came back in the second quarter and the fourth quarter.
Besides the point of the benching, that was also an evaluation period for the Giants to look at their third-round pick. With many impressed, the opinion is changing among Giants fans and possibly the coaching staff.
The point is in a 1-5 season, it is evaluation time. The Giants are clearly not competing for this year’s Lombardi Trophy. Therefore, to see what the Giants have in him, Matt Peart should get the nod at left tackle on Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles with Thomas on the opposite side. Here is why:
Matt Peart Ready to Go For New York Giants
A Look Into The Future
Most outsiders and inside critics knew that this year, despite the free agency signings the team made, the Giants were not destined to compete. They drafted Andrew Thomas for the long-term at the left tackle position, replacing incumbent veteran Nate Solder.
However, Thomas is currently enduring struggles of his own. Through the first six games of his career, he allowed 31 pressures. For a 4th overall pick, the left tackle spotlight in New York is very bright. While many critics are judging him, his struggles were to be expected.
Thomas arrived late to a meeting sometime last week and the disciplinary action was his benching in the first quarter. Matt Peart started at left tackle.
Surprisingly, in his first start, Peart fared well against pass-rusher Montez Sweat. Peart received an 89.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, while only allowing one of the offensive line’s ten pressures.
In the 22 snaps, Thomas played better than any of his starts this season. He received a 72.2 overall grade from PFF, however, he gave up 3 pressures.
Both played snaps at the left tackle spot. With Peart faring well against a dangerous Washington front-seven and Cameron Fleming struggling still at right tackle, maybe it is time for a change.
If this season is for evaluation beyond this year, what is the point of leaving an aging veteran at right tackle? There is no hurt to putting Andrew Thomas on the right side and there are only positives to that option. Thomas could get better in a dimmer spotlight and gain self-confidence, while not worrying about protecting Daniel Jones‘ blindside. He would be working alongside an established veteran guard, Kevin Zeitler.
Will Hernandez, Thomas’ linemate, started out this season shaky, possibly affecting Thomas’ growth. Hernandez is making strides, but putting Thomas next to a veteran will stunt his growth further towards his 4th overall expectations.
If Peart fared well against Washington, he should be able to handle Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat on primetime.
The Pressure Could Mount
Some of the best and worst products of the NFL struggled in their first year, much like rookie Andrew Thomas is right now. In the snaps Matt Peart played, he has done fairly well. That does not mean that he will not endure struggles though.
In Brian Baldinger‘s film breakdown of Matt Peart, Baldinger listed some issues with Peart’s footwork. Though he got the best of Washington defenders, that does not mean the Eagles’ pass-rushers will not take advantage.
Peart played mostly right tackle at UConn and in training camp. If Peart eventually struggles at his new position, he could affect the way the Giants evaluate their second-year quarterback, Daniel Jones. Jones turned over the ball at an alarming ten times over the first six games already.
In order to properly evaluate Jones and see if he is the franchise quarterback, the blindside tackle will have to play their best, and if that happens to be Peart, the bar will rise coming off of last week.
The Right Move
For the short-term or long-term, Andrew Thomas moving to the right side is the right move the Giants need to make come Thursday. Matt Peart held his own against Washington’s leader in pressures. Moving Thomas to the right side, will stunt his growth and boost his confidence, compared to the first six games he played.
Even if Peart does not work on the blindside, Thomas’s experience on the right will improve his play and help his transition back to his original position. In that case, the Giants have some time in a lost season to work on Matt Peart’s weaknesses. No matter the circumstances, both rookies present better play right now than what Cameron Fleming brings to the table.
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