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Bobby Hart, Ereck Flowers Working To Reward Giants’ Faith

Young tackles worked together this offseason in effort to improve

Washington Redskins v New York Giants
Bobby Hart (left) and Ereck Flowers (right) celebrate a touchdown last season with Orleans Darkwa.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

If this were poker, you might say that the New York Giants had looked at their hand, decided “we can win with this,” and pushed all their chips to the middle of the table. The Giants have, for all intents and purposes gone all in on Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart, young offensive tackles whose play in 2016 left much to be desired.

Entering 2017, neither player appears to be facing a real challenge. The Giants did not draft or sign anyone to compete with or push Flowers at left tackle. They signed D.J. Fluker as a free agent, but he has thus far played only guard during OTAs. They drafted Adam Bisnowaty, but he is playing with the backups and seems likely to stay there for the time being. Despite the team’s promises they would experiment on the line, Hart has taken every first-team rep in the two OTAs media has had access to.

It certainly looks as though the Giants are set on giving both third-year players another opportunity.

To their credit, both appear to be serious about trying to get better.

Hart was a seventh-round pick in 2015. Flowers was the first-round pick. The two are friends, both from Florida. They lockered side-by-side last year and, while media has yet to be allowed in the locker room this time around, most likely will again.

Hart, the more media-friendly of the two, spoke to a throng of reporters after Friday’s OTA. He confirmed previous reports that the duo spent most of their offseason in New Jersey training at the Giants’ facility.

“We just wanted to stay up here. Cuts out a lot of confusion going back and forth,” Hart said. “You’re just here, your mind is clear, you can just go work on the things you need to work on.”

The two followed a program designed by strength coach Aaron Wellman.

“Coach Wellman implemented a program for both of us,” Hart said. “We just followed it, just believed in him. Hopefully we’ll see it pay off.”

Hart said he felt that he and Flowers had improved mentally as well as physically.

“The most important thing I just felt mentally both of us grew and got better,” Hart said.

Head coach Ben McAdoo made it clear Friday that he noticed the offseason work Flowers and Hart put in.

“They really jumped in with both feet in the weight room working hard and working together competing in the weight room. That is where it starts and not just lifting weights, it is the functional mobility, those types of things where they can work on their flexibility, work on their mobility and really grow in that regard,” McAdoo said. “They did everything that we asked them to do at this point. They are growing technique-wise. It will be exciting to see them with pads on.”

Hart won’t be 23 until August. Flowers just turned 23 in April.

Hart entered the league in 2015 as a player who needed to work on his strength and conditioning. He spent much of last offseason doing that, and earned 13 starts at right tackle.

That work continued for him this offseason. Listed at 6-foot-5, 334 pounds, Hart’s upper body is noticeably different than it was two years ago.

“I definitely got stronger. I lost fat and gained muscle,” said Hart, who didn’t reveal whether or not he had gained or lost any actual weight. “Moving around you can tell. You’re able to move faster, lower. You can just feel the strength.”

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said earlier in the spring that Flowers was “a lot leaner” this season. The big left tackle did not speak to media on Friday, no surprise since it is something he has never enjoyed doing. Hart was asked if Flowers looked leaner and said “yeah.” He was then asked if Flowers actually was leaner and said “yes.”

Hart started 13 games last season after Marshall Newhouse suffered an injury. He missed the final game of the regular season with an injury of his own, and was then benched for the playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.

Hart said that “of course” it hurt not to play when healthy against Green Bay, but also admitted that he knows his play wasn’t always good enough last year when Pro Football Focus graded him 67th out of 76 qualifying tackles.

“It wasn’t to my standards the way I would want it to be. I know there’s definitely a lot of things I have to improve on going into next season,” Hart said. “It’s a building block, it’s experience and I feel like that’s the best teacher. You go out there and you experience things and you just try not to make the same mistake twice.

“I see the film just like you guys see the game. You’re just not proud of the things that you made mistakes on. You know that to get where you want to go and to be the person you want to be in this league you can’t make those mistakes.”

Final Thoughts

Perhaps the best thing to take from Friday’s conversation with Hart is how obvious it is that he — and Flowers, though we didn’t speak to him — are trying to get better. It is impressive to see the growth in Hart from two seasons ago. Will the offseason work he and Flowers did and the maturation they seem to be going through translate into better results on the field?

“In your game you can improve on many things every day. I just try to improve on something,” Hart said. “You just want to get better. Coach [Mike] Solari does a great job just going out there getting better every day. We stick to that and we continue to trust in him and trust the things that he’s implementing.”

The Giants have shown their hand with their young tackles, banking on the hope that their growth will help the Giants improve offensively.

Will they be right? We won’t know until the games begin, but the signs we see thus far are encouraging.