Giants punish Andrew Thomas for violation of team policy

Giants struggling rookie Andrew Thomas wasn’t benched for his performance.

At least not the first time.

Rookie third-round pick Matt Peart started over the coveted first-rounder Thomas at left tackle and was on the field for two of the offense’s three scoring drives Sunday in the Giants’ 20-19 win against the Washington Football Team.

“This was not performance-based at all,” coach Joe Judge said. “I’m not going to go too far into detail. Andrew violated a team policy. There was nothing disobedient, disrespectful or malicious about what he did, but he made a mistake and there are consequences for mistakes. We have to make sure we handle that the right way.”

Thomas issued a statement through the Giants public relations staff after the game: “I was late for our meeting [Saturday] night. Coach Judge always talks about actions have consequences, and I take responsibility for my actions and the consequences. It won’t happen again.”

Judge is a stickler for accountability and has been compared to former Giants coach Tom Coughlin, whose team meetings started five minutes early so being on time meant being late.

Thomas entered the game early in the second quarter but was removed for Peart in the third after he missed a block on a third-and-1 that caused running back Devonta Freeman to take a loss and forced a punt. That decision certainly seemed performance-based for Thomas, who allowed the most pass pressures (28) of any lineman in the NFL through the first five games.

“I thought Andrew did a really good job of accepting it, staying ready, performing when he got in the game,” Judge said. “I’m proud of how Andrew responded; very mature about it.”

Peart made his debut at right tackle two weeks ago when he spelled right tackle Cam Fleming for a series. At the time, Judge said the plan is to rotate Peart in to gain experience, and he made it clear that Thomas’ draft pedigree and $32 million contract will not prevent him from heading to the bench — no matter the optics attached.

Peart played 26 snaps to Thomas’ 22, according to Pro Football Focus.

“We always preach being ready to play, and Matt’s number was called and he was ready to go early and right away,” Judge said. “Both guys fought and played well when they were in the game.”

Quarterback Daniel Jones was left without his trusted blind-side protection — he was sacked just once — and put in a position as a first-time co-captain to address his teammate’s mistake.

“I think that’s something he will learn from,” Jones said. “As teammates, we support him. He’s a mature guy who can step up. I have all the confidence in the world in him.”

Judge did not specify whether the rotation will continue or if Thomas will regain his starting position Thursday against the Eagles.

“Matt is a guy who has a great approach to the game and to his work,” Jones said. “He certainly has a lot of talent, too. He played big for us today.”

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