Michael Thomas
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

Safety and special teams ace Michael Thomas sits down with ESNY to talk New York Giants camp, his young teammates, and Thursday’s game.

Jason Leach

The New York Giants will play their third preseason game Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. This game will have more intensity to it since Week 3 of the preseason is the game when starters play at least the first half.

Earlier this week, I caught up with Pro Bowler Michael Thomas, who is entering his second year with Big Blue, to pick his brain about camp, the secondary, and Thursday’s game.

“Everybody typically sees the third preseason game as the dress rehearsal,” said Thomas. “Your starters are probably going to play more on offense, defense, and special teams. So guys understand all training camp and the first two preseason games you’ve been trying to do everything you can to make the team, and to put great things on tape, not just for your team but 31 other teams. But the third preseason game there’s a little more juice to it”

Being that Thomas plays safety and special teams, he’ll see plenty of action on Thursday night.

The revamped secondary is one of the main reasons there is optimism around the Giants this season. The additions of Jabrill Peppers, Antoine Bethea, and the three rookie cornerbacks (DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, Corey Ballentine) have the unit poised for a big season.

When a team goes through significant changes to a unit, it can take a while for everyone to get on the same page. But that hasn’t been the case for the Giants secondary, according to Thomas.

“It’s been great, very minimal when it comes to any type of communication errors or missed assignments and things like that,” Thomas emphasized. “Communication has been actually been a strong point for our secondary up to this point, and I love it especially with so many young guys we have. We’ve just been meshing well together everybody has been working well and communicating which has been a huge emphasis throughout camp.”

Thomas spoke about how the young players are eager to learn and discussed their willingness to keep the conversation going after practice ends.

“This is a great group we have we meet a lot on our own, and if they have any questions they’re texting me, we’re meeting in the hotel we’re staying at through training camp,” Thomas admitted. “We’re meeting on our own in the hotel room, having extra meetings on our own, and having a meeting after the workday. All of the young guys have not been shy about reaching out to the older guys for help, and as an older player you love that because I want you to ask questions because if I have to be out of the field with you I expect you to know your stuff.”

Lastly, Thomas told fans what to expect from the Giants defense in 2019 as they enter their second season with defensive coordinator James Bettcher.

“Same attacking style defense. It’s great that most of us are in our second year with him. We’re trying to take that next step within the defense and try to dictate where the ball is going to go. So it’s going be exciting.”

Last season, Thomas registered 59 tackles, two interceptions, and a sack. He is poised for an even bigger season this year as the Giants will unveil more wrinkles in Bettcher’s scheme.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.