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Giants’ RT Evan Neal knows ‘failure’s a part of life’

Struggling rookie offensive lineman faces big challenge vs. Eagles

Carolina Panthers v New York Giants
Evan Neal
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

New York Giants rookie right tackle Evan Neal has not had an easy rookie season.

There have been a couple of regrettable games. Those include a three-sack, five pressures allowed Week 3 game vs. the Dallas Cowboys; allowing a sack and seven total pressures Week 16 vs. the Minnesota Vikings; allowing a sack and eight total pressures last week in the Wild-Card Round playoff game against the Vikings.

Neal (1.4) has the lowest Pro Football Focus grade of 58 qualifying tackles who have played at least 600 snaps. His pass-blocking grade of 42.1 is also a league-low among qualifiers and his 94.1 pass-blocking efficiency score is 57th among those 58 qualifiers.

Neal has also dealt with a sprained MCL that cost him four midseason games just when he appeared to be showing improvement. In 105 pass-blocking snaps over four games before his injury, Neal allowed only one sack and six total pressures.

The No. 7 overall pick in the draft is philosophical about the season he has had.

“I feel like it was a learning year for me,” Neal said. “I had some ups. I had some downs. I had to battle through some adversity, getting hurt, battling back, coming back. So, I feel like it was a growing year for me – a learning year. And I feel like I handled myself the best way I know how.”

Neal understands this his season has not been what he — or the Giants — hoped it would be.

“Failure’s a part of life,” Neal said. “I feel like failure’s something you learn from, and that’s kind of how I’ve been approaching it. The good things I do out there, I try to capitalize on them and do more of them. The bad things, I try to clean them up the best way I can.”

Neal will face a huge challenge against the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night. In Week 14 against the Eagles, Neal allowed a sack and eight total pressures, finishing with a 35.7 overall grade. In Week 18, he allowed two pressures and had a poor 28.2 grade while playing the first half.

The 6-foot-7, 350-pound rookie isn’t shying away from that challenge.

“I’m here to go out there and compete and give everything I have; empty everything I have in the tank,” he said. “And at the end of the game, whatever the outcome is, I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I gave it my all.”

In the end, that’s really all anyone can ask.