After working with Andrew Thomas in the months leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, Paul Alexander is absolutely baffled at how much the Giants rookie tackle is struggling in his start to his career.
Alexander, who has coached some great players in his 28-year career as an NFL offensive line coach, saw exactly why so many thought Thomas would be an immediate contributor in the league when the Giants selected him with the No. 4 pick. Now that Thomas is leading the NFL in quarterback pressures allowed, Alexander is wondering what happened.
“I’m going to be candid here, because I’m really upset for Andrew on this,” Alexander told SNY after watching Thursday’s Giants-Eagles game in Philadelphia. “What I saw [Thursday] night, I see completely different techniques than he used at Georgia. I don’t see his feet getting set. And I see his hands bouncing all over the place, like he’s punching a guy like a machine gun or something.
“When he was at Georgia, he controlled guys with his hands. So I see something completely different than I saw at Georgia. And my question is: Why are you doing different things than you did? I mean, he was the best tackle in the country. And right now it’s like, ‘Oh my God!’”
Watching Thomas struggle in the Giants’ 22-21 loss made Alexander “mad.” Alexander said his mechanics look completely different than what the 21-year-old displayed just months ago. Thomas was the first of the five highly touted offensive linemen to get drafted, but is performing the worst. According to Pro Football Focus, Thomas has allowed 37 pressures and six sacks. The Post’s Ryan Dunleavy noted that the four others — Mekhi Becton (Jets), Tristan Wirfs (Buccaneers), Jedrick Wills (Browns) and Austin Jackson (Dolphins) — had allowed 27 pressures and five sacks combined heading into Sunday’s action.
“You could probably ask him that question and he’ll say ‘Oh, it’s not that different.’ But trust me, it’s different,” Alexander said of Thomas’ technique. “If I were coaching Andrew, I would put on his college tape and watch it and say. ‘Do that.’”
Alexander, whose first NFL gig was with the Jets from 1992 to 1993, spent 24 years as the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line coach. He took on assistant head coaching duties as well in 2003. Alexander was then the Cowboys O-line coach in 2018.
Since 2019, he has been consulting for ProCoach.Network with clients such as Germany’s Potsdam Royals, Penn State and other colleges and high school teams.
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