The difference between Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas’s play from his rookie season to Year 12 has been night and day and with good reason.
Before a foot injury sidelined him last week—he was active against Dallas but did not receive any snaps—Thomas went from being one of the worst offensive tackles in the league to one of the best.
Last year, Thomas finished with 57 quarterback pressures allowed, including 19 in his first four games. His 94.2 pass-blocking efficiency rate was dead last out of five offensive tackles chosen in the 2020 draft class that played at least 80 percent of their team’s pass-blocking snaps.
That fact caused many to wonder if the Giants errored in selecting the former Georgia Bulldog with the fourth overall pick of the NFL draft.
This year, Thomas has done a 180-degree turn, his 98.2 pass-blocking efficiency currently second behind that of Tampa Bay’s Tristan Wirfs (99.0) from that same group of rookie offensive tackles drafted in 2020.
What’s been behind Thomas’s transformation?
Balance training, which is something Thomas took part in this off-season following the ankle surgery he had in January this year to address an issue he fought through as a rookie.
In an interview with Insider’s Jackson Thompson, Thomas said balance training has helped him with staying on his feet and adjusting his torque to remain in front of the moves edge rushers deploy to gain the upper hand.
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"When I go back and watch the film from last year to this year, I can just tell the difference is affected by how much I'm not on the ground, last year I was on the ground a lot," Thomas told Thompson.
"I messed up my blocks a few times because my weight was on my outside half. This year it's a lot more smooth moving from outside to inside."
Thomas’s balance training has consisted in part of standing on half of a physioball and then squatting down to perform various tasks.
The improvement in his balance has paid off. According to Pro Football Focus, Thomas has surrendered just six pressures through four games—none of which are sacks—for an impressive 98.2 pass-blocking efficiency rating.
He is also tied for fifth in pass-blocking efficiency among all NFL tackles that have taken at least 50 percent of their team’s pass-blocking snaps.
Thomas is currently dealing with a foot injury he said is not related to his surgically repaired ankle. His status for Sunday's home game against the Rams is currently unknown.
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