New York Giants right tackle Evan Neal didn’t mince words when asked about his critics this week after a recent sluggish showing from the offensive line.
“Why does the lion care about the lamb’s opinion?” Nile He told Darryl Slater of NJ Advance Media Wednesday. “The person commenting on my performance, what’s he doing? Flip hot dogs and hamburgers somewhere?”
After an up-and-down rookie campaign, Neal spent the offseason dialing in his situation. But in the midst of New York’s 1-3 start to the season, Neal was under a lot of pressure on his play. The Giants’ No. 7 overall pick in 2022 has allowed 16 pressures, 18 hurries and five hits through four games, according to TruMedia, and is on pace to surpass his totals in each category from last season. After a rough showing in Week 1 against the Cowboys, Neal didn’t post nearly as devastating numbers as his first outing, according to TruMedia, but the linebacker played Monday as part of a line that allowed 11 sacks against the Seattle Seahawks. Quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked a career-high 10 times. The Giants were booed off the field at the end of the first half and Neal reportedly shouted at the fans as he walked off.
“They were booing us, so I said, ‘Booing louder!’” Neal told NJ Advance Media. “Because it also shows that people are in fair weather. A lot of the fans are gig-goers. I mean I get it: they want to see us do well. I respect all of that. But no one wants us to do any better than we do. And how can you say you’re a real fan when we’re out there fighting – and the game wasn’t going well – but the best you can do is boo your local team? So, how much do you really like it? “
Nile He apologized on social media late Wednesday for his comments.
“I am wrong to attack fans who have as much passion and frustration as me. I allowed my frustrations in my playing + my desire to win to get the best of me. I had no right to disparage anyone’s work and I deeply regret the things I said. We work day by day “A day to grow as a team and this was an unnecessary distraction. I apologize.”
Neal was playing on a beleaguered offensive line that was rotating between starters on and off the field due to injury. Starting left tackle Andrew Thomas has not played since Week 1 with a hamstring injury, while kicker Ben Bredeson missed time with a concussion. Then on Sunday, rookie quarterback John Michael Schmitz was out with a shoulder injury. That forced Bredeson to take over at midfield, with Shane Lemieux arriving at left guard. But then Lemieux left the game with a hip injury. Thomas, Schmitz and Lemieux did not practice Wednesday.
The Giants have looked out of sync offensively outside of just the offensive line. With the exception of two quarters in Week 2, the Giants failed to really accomplish anything. They scored just 15 points in the other three games, and Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks brought more problems. Jones threw two interceptions, including one that was returned 97 yards on Sunday. The frustrations of the loss were evident on the broadcast, with ESPN showing coach Brian Daboll throwing a tablet in frustration. Another shot showed Jones walking away from the talking Daboll without appearing to look at the coach.
(Photo: Jon Jones/USA Today)
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