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Matt Peart Embracing Chance to Prove He's Starter Material

Giants second-year tackle Matt Peart is taking advantage of a second chance to show he belongs in the starting offensive line's lineup.

Giants offensive tackle Matt Peart remembers cringing when he saw the play of himself on film and the little yellow flag that accompanied it.

"I was just really hard on myself," the second-year offensive lineman said Thursday. "Like, 'Come on, I just cost my guys a first down.' It’s just one of those things where it’s like you have to be keyed into the call and just understand that we can’t have that happen."

Oh, and for the record, Peart vowed that type of mistake would never happen again.

"Yeah, I got on the sideline, made the corrections and I promise you that will never happen to me ever again," he said. "But yeah, that was completely on me."

Peart's willingness to take accountability, combined with his commitment to improving his craft, are big reasons why the coaching staff has trusted him to protect the quarterback's blindside while starting left tackle Andrew Thomas is on injured reserve with foot and ankle injuries.

Rather than move Nate Solder, who has played left tackle most of his NFL career, from right tackle to left tackle--they tried it earlier in the year with poor results--the Giants are hoping to swim with Peart holding down the fort.

So far, so good, according to Peart, who in 142 pass-blocking snaps, 115 of which have come at left tackle, he's allowed just six pressures (two sacks), pitching a pass-blocking shutout in last week's win against the Panthers.

"I think Matt’s a guy who’s improving all the time and he was someone who we obviously challenged last week," head coach Joe Judge said earlier this week. 

"He had a large responsibility on his plate, came in and he really stepped up to it. There’s things he has to improve on as a player, like we all do, like every player and every coach does, but one thing I see with him is a consistent work ethic to keep on getting better and he’s very, very coachable." 

"I feel like I’ve (done) what I needed to do, come out here on the practice field and working every single day," Peart said. "Just working the technique and the skills that I need on the field at practice and showing up on game day and doing it."

Peart, whom many projected would win the starting right tackle job in training camp only to lose it to Solder, parlayed any disappointment into improving his game so that he'd be ready if another opportunity came up.

"Just overall being a better student of the game. Just working with (Offensive Line) Coach (Rob) Sale and (Assistant Offensive Line) Coach (Ben) Wilk (Wilkerson), even Coach (Pat) Flats (Flaherty), and some of vets, like (Center) Billy (Price), Nate (Solder). Just understanding how they see the game and incorporating it into how I approach the game as well, and especially game planning," he said when asked where he's made the most significant improvement in his game.

"I feel like I’ve made huge strides in that regard. Bigger, faster, stronger. Even more than that, just working on my overall technique."

With a right-handed quarterback behind him, Peart understands that there's a little bit more of a heavier onus on the left tackle to keep that blindside clear. Thomas, before his injury, had been able to accomplish that, thereby enabling quarterback Daniel Jones to have a comfort level in the pocket he didn't consistently have in his first two seasons.

Peart wants to make sure Jones has that comfort level while he's in charge of Jones' blindside protection.

"Just take it a play at a time, playing within myself," he said of his approach to the position. "Just understanding when he calls a play knowing what my responsibility is to do in that specific moment, run or pass.

"Just having the mentality of you’ve got to compete, beat your one-on-one matchup. You’re playing the blindside, so you have to keep the quarterback clean."

Again, the approach has worked so far, though Peart pointed out it's more than just the left tackle who needs to make sure the quarterback is comfortable in the pocket.

" I’m just one of five. Having that relationship with the quarterback and understand that we keep the width of the pocket as tackles and keep the depth with the front three, and just making sure he’s able to step up in the pocket when he needs to."

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