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Ereck Flowers Report: Ups, Downs Against New York Jets

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Let’s review how the much-maligned left tackle played Saturday night

Wild Card Round - New York Giants v Green Bay Packers Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

On a night when there were struggles across the New York Giants’ offensive line, left tackle Ereck Flowers was mostly OK. Depending on your sliding scale for Flowers, that can either mean he was great, fine, or terrible. He played on four drives, late into the second quarter, and wasn’t involved in a sack until his final play of the night. Again it appeared the Giants were helping Flowers around the edge on a few plays by aligning him slightly outside with some noticeable space between him and the guard. They also did this a few times last week.

The game didn’t start out great for the left tackle, though. On the Giants’ first offensive play, Flowers was beaten inside off the line by Leonard Williams (62). Flowers only made contact with Williams’s shoulder and the defender was able to get into the backfield to slow down Paul Perkins. Williams didn’t make the tackle, but the move Perkins had to make to get around him led to the eventual tackle on the play.

On the first third down, Flowers was lined up against Sheldon Richardson (91). Flowers got his arms extended, but Richardson was able to get his arms extended inside to get leverage. Eli Manning was able to get the ball out before any real pressure occurred, but at no point was Flowers in control of this rep. Richardson pushed him back, got him off balance, and threw him to the side as Manning got the pass off.

There were a few plays like this during the game with Flowers getting knocked back, but not really giving up pressure because the pass was out quickly enough. The thing about these plays is they’re also not new for Flowers, this is the status quo.

Former Giants offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz put it well on Twitter when sharing last week’s version of this article: “If the standard is don’t get Eli killed, then he played ok. Otherwise, same concerns as usual.” Flowers is going to have reps like this, but in the big picture they could be passable as long as Manning can get the ball off. For as bad as the offensive line was last season, the Giants ranked sixth in pressure rate allowed on offense per Football Outsiders. That’s sixth-best. A lot of that is by design with an offense that gets the ball out quickly. At its best, like the third down pass to Evan Engram, big plays can still be had.

After that drive, though, Flowers was mostly fine. Overall, the Giants struggled some with run blocking, but little of that had to do with Flowers. And on the three drives Manning played, he was not sacked.

Flowers came out for one more drive after Eli was out of the game and Josh Johnson was at quarterback. The first four plays were fine, but then Flowers was beaten for a sack on third down.

The Jets run a stunt that starts with Sheldon Richardson aligned on the opposite side of center Weston Richburg. At the snap, Frank Beltre (57) rushed into Flowers to push him inside as Richardson looped around to the edge. Left guard Justin Pugh noticed RIchardson on the stunt and with no one to block, he turned to Beltre. However, Flowers stayed engaged and the two offensive linemen collided. By the time Flowers noticed Richardson, it was too late and he whiffed on the block before the defender took Johnson down.

Now there’s a lot going on here. Sure, Johnson held the ball a little long which made the sack possible, but the real problem was on the line. Pugh did his job and picked up his assignment, but it’s unclear if there was a lack of communication between him and Flowers on the stunt. This was also a pretty slow developing stunt -- one thing Richardson is not known for is his speed. The other part was Flowers was getting pushed back by the original edge rusher, which didn’t allow him to disengage when needed. There’s shares of fault to go around here, but it’s not unfair to say Flowers gets the biggest slice of it.

This was his last play and while it wasn’t a great way to end the night, it capped a mostly fine night for the Giants’ left tackle.