Pat Flaherty has been coaching New York Giants' offensive linemen for 11 years, has 15 years of NFL coaching experience and more than 30 total years in coaching. He is as puzzled as anyone else by what he has seen from the Giants line so far this season.
"I see some real good things out of the offensive line, and then I see some things that are head-scratchers," Flaherty said on Tuesday. "We have to eliminate the head-scratchers. We have to be able to be more consistent."
Those head-scratchers were summarized in our mid-season offensive 'Kudos & Wet Willies.' Here they are again:
Head-scratchers like Will Beatty playing as well as any left tackle in the league through the first six weeks, then having an awful game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Head-scratchers like Justin Pugh surrendering four sacks vs. the Philadelphia Eagles in the worst game of the 2013 first-round pick's career.
Head scratchers like surrendering three sacks total during a three-game winning streak, then giving up eight in a loss to the Eagles.
Head-scratchers like the 17 penalties the offensive line has committed in seven games, many of those coming at critical times.
Head-scratchers like the recent inability to run block effectively.
"It has a lot to do with the physical breakdowns, the penalties, the concentration, the focus and being on the same page," Flaherty said. "We are well into the season with this group that we have to eliminate [those mistakes]. We don't have to cut them down, we have to eliminate them."
How can the Giants do that?
"I have to do a better job in getting our guys to understand the concepts. We should be at this point of the year," Flaherty said. "I have to do a better job coaching. I have to demand more from them in practice.
"There is a sense of urgency that we have to be better. It is correctable. We have some mental errors in the run game. We have had some physical breakdowns. We have had some technique breakdowns. We have to eliminate those. The one thing that keeps us on track and we must eliminate is the penalties. We must eliminate the penalties because that is putting us behind the eight-ball and it gives the defense the upper hand. We have to stay on schedule."
Flaherty said he doesn't know when Geoff Schwartz, on short-term IR with a dislocated toe, will be able to play. Schwartz is scheduled to try to begin practicing next week.
"You want to play the best five. You do," Flaherty said. "When someone is coming off an injury, do you count on them? In a sense you do, but you have to continue to move forward with what you have until that person is healthy again."
More From Flaherty
On the play of rookie Weston Richburg:
"He is learning every day. It really is a play by play with a young player, particularly a rookie. He has the proper demeanor that we look for in a New York Giant offensive lineman. I expect him to get better each and every day."
On how Justin Pugh has responded to his rough game against the Philadelphia Eagles:
"He has responded better in practice and I was looking for that response before the Philadelphia game. We weren't getting it out of him or a few of those guys. Sometimes, unfortunately, you need a wake-up call. I don't expect another game like that out of Justin, nor do I anyone else."