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Evan Neal has solid start in Giants’ preseason game vs. Carolina Panthers

Neal played entire first half in preseason debut

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Evan Neal
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants got their first 2023 look at second-year right tackle Evan Neal in game action on Friday night against the Carolina Panthers. The results were encouraging, though imperfect.

Neal played the entire first half of the Giants’ preseason game against the Panthers. He missed last week’s preseason opener against the Detroit Lions with a concussion.

“Felt solid,” Neal said after the game. “Good day to go out there, get my feet back under me, get my feet wet. Felt like it was an overall solid day, still got a lot of things to clean up, but solid.”

The 2022 No. 7 overall pick appeared to have a couple of rough snaps on the Giants’ opening drive of the game, a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive. After that first series, though, Neal appeared to play solidly throughout the first half, at least until the final play.

“I felt extremely comfortable out there,” said Neal, who worked to adjust his stance during the offseason. “Nothing was perfect for sure, but just getting out of my stance, being good with my hands, being a lot more balanced, I feel like I got that done, but I’ve got to watch the film to actually see.

“The film doesn’t lie, but overall coming off the field I felt solid.”

Neal was likely responsible for a sack of Tyrod Taylor by LaBryan Ray on the final play of the first half. It appeared Neal was late to pick up the defensive tackle stunting to the outside, giving Ray a path to the quarterback.

Here is the sack:

“It wasn’t a misread, I just flattened it out more than I should have,” Neal said.

That was not the way Neal wanted to end his night, but his performance otherwise was pretty good. In Neal’s words, it was “solid.”

If the Giants get solid play from Neal throughout the 2023 season, that will be a major step forward.