The Giants have been insistent that Ereck Flowers is not only their left tackle of the future, he’s their left tackle of the present as well. That commitment kept many veteran free agent offensive linemen from signing with the Blue this past offseason. The Giants have made their bed and now they must lie in it.
Flowers, the club’s first round selection out of Miami in the 2015 NFL Draft (9th overall) is in his second season with the Giants and won’t be 23 until next April. That’s both the good part and the bad. The fact that he’s so young and has a whole career ahead of him is great. The downside is, he’s still very green and is experiencing growing pains that have hurt the team.
On Sunday in Pittsburgh, Flowers was schooled and exposed by Steelers’ veteran linemen and linebackers adding to the Giants’ frustration on offense.
“About the only positive that can be said for Flowers’ performance in the loss to the Steelers was that he didn’t surrender a sack. He did, however, cough up eight total pressures, most of them to a 38-year old pass-rusher in James Harrison. Flowers was also flagged twice, once for holding and once for a false start penalty in the fourth quarter, as he tried to steal any kind of advantage he could get against the rush. Flowers also had some positive grades in the run game, but his pass-blocking was so poor it wasn’t enough to save him.”
The holding call resulted in a safety since it occurred in the end zone, and yes, it was while he was int he process of trying to keep Harrison off QB Eli Manning. As bad as Flowers was, Harrison was just as good.
“What Harrison is doing at his age is scarcely believable,” writes Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus. “Aided by going up against Giants LT Ereck Flowers – who has reverted to something close to his rookie levels after an encouraging start to his sophomore season – Harrison notched a sack, hit and five hurries from only 17 pass-rushing snaps. He generated some kind of pressure on a ridiculous 41.2 percent of his pass-rushing snaps in the game — at 38 years of age. He played a key role in Pittsburgh’s win.”
It’s a bit too late this season to start shuffling the offensive line around this season. The Giants don’t have a lot of flexibility at the moment, especially with Justin Pugh out and no viable options at tackle on the roster.
On Sunday, the Giants had Flowers at left tackle and Bobby Hart at right tackle, one of the NFL’s lowest-rated tackle duos. Marshall Newhouse, who was the team’s right tackle last season and began this season there, played in place of Pugh at left guard. Will Beatty dressed but did not see any snaps on the offensive line.