Before Wednesday, coaches Ben McAdoo, Mike Sullivan and Mike Solari had all lauded the offseason work of left tackle Ereck Flowers. Teammates and offensive line cohorts Justin Pugh and Bobby Hart had also stood up for the beleaguered 2015 first-round pick.
Flowers, though had yet to speak to the media. He finally did so after the conclusion of mandatory mini-camp on Wednesday afternoon. He acknowledged that he had lost weight, though he wouldn’t say how much. He did, however, say that “this might have been the smartest I've worked in the offseason, just from diet to specific things I targeted in the weight room."
Heavily criticized during his first two seasons, Flowers said he has paid little mind to that chatter. “Can’t really look at that,” he said. “Just gotta keep going.”
Flowers kept going this offseason by staying in New Jersey and training with Bobby Hart while using a program designed by Giants strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman.
McAdoo again praised Flowers on Wednesday, as he has each time he has been asked about him.
“We have seen Ereck make progress and we just need to continue with that progress,” McAdoo said. “Lighter on his feet, playing with better bend, but we have to see it when the pads come on and that is the next step in the process.”
We have covered this ground before, but it bares repeating that the Giants are all-in on Flowers at left tackle for the 2017 season — whether the fan base is thrilled about that or not.
They bypassed signing any number of over-priced veteran free agents. They also did not draft competition for him, adding only Adam Bisnowaty in the sixth round. Bisnowaty has worked exclusively at right tackle. With a “sore” Flowers resting some the past two days it has been undrafted free agent Chad Wheeler filling in at left tackle. That, really, tells you just how much the Giants have riding on whether or not the 23-year-old Flowers improves on his first two seasons.
“I don’t think there’s any player that doesn’t look back and see what he could have done better,” Flowers said of his first two years. “You’ve got to be critical of yourself. You’ve got to look at it and try to improve. I see different things in my technique I want to improve on and I’ve been improving on it.”
Flowers said his first two season have not shaken his confidence.
“What’s the point of being out there if you don’t believe in yourself,” he said.
The Giants have made it abundantly clear that they still believe in Flowers. Now, it’s up to him to reward that faith. There is a lot riding on whether or not he can.