Is New York Giants right tackle Evan Neal primed for a breakout season after disappointing as a rookie? Head coach Brian Daboll certainly hopes so.
Neal struggled in his adjustment to the NFL and that was compounded by multiple injuries. But offensive line coach Bobby Johnson expects a turnaround in 2023 due in part to both health and a stance change.
“There were some things from a technical standpoint last year — I felt like his stance was ‘bunched up’ last year. I said, ‘Hey, you’re a big man. You’re wasting a lot of motion getting in and out of your stance. Let’s find a stance that’s a little more comfortable for you,’” Johnson told the Everything New York Giants Podcast.
“Last year we were trying to dress it but there were so many other bigger picture things that we need to attack… he was functional but we can make it better.”
Johnson isn’t the only one who expects Neal to turn things around.
Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report recently compiled a list of players who are primed for breakout seasons after disappointing rookie campaigns and Neal made the cut for Big Blue.
With Andrew Thomas set as Daniel Jones’ blindside protector, the Giants have no intention of moving Neal. Two consecutive years on the right side should help him clean up his technique and become more consistent
The Giants’ offensive line should also be more settled overall. The entire offense will be in its second season under head coach/play-caller Brian Daboll. Mark Glowinski returns to play alongside Neal at right guard for a second straight season, while second-round rookie John Michael Schmitz should be an upgrade at center.
Neal’s increased comfort level should help him develop into an elite right tackle.
Neal’s development and improvement will be critical for the Giants in 2023. If he can have an Andrew Thomas-like turnaround and help lock down the edge, quarterback Daniel Jones and the team’s offense should make significant strides.