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Film study: What does OT Cameron Fleming bring to the Giants?

Let’s look at the veteran who could start at right tackle this season

Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Cameron Fleming rejoined his former head coach with the New York Football Giants this offseason by signing a 1 year, $3.5 million contract. The 27-year-old former New England Patriot, and Dallas Cowboy, played 258 total offensive snaps for the latter team in 2019, mostly as the left tackle.

Fleming’s familiarity with the offense and experience in the league add some intrigue. He’s only started in 26 of 75 career games, but head coach Joe Judge has stated a high level of confidence in Fleming, a player that he helped coach in New England.

“I have a lot of confidence in Cam, I don’t care what his history’s been because I’ve been there through part of his history and we’ve won a lot of big games together,” Judge said.

This prompted me to dive into his 2019 film and provide some context into what he may bring to this offense if he ends up being the starter opposite of Gates.

One of the things I really like about Fleming is his ability to wash bigger defensive linemen down the line of scrimmage on play-side runs. He was especially effective with this when the lineman was in a 4-technique or less position.

(Fleming is No. 75)

Run blocking

Fleming does a good job firing off the ball against Dean Lowry (94). He’s able to get lower than the 4-technique, get his hands inside while he positions his body in an advantageous manner for Ezekiel Elliot on the split-zone play. His initial technique is solid but Lowry is able to create some space on Fleming. What I love most from the former Stanford Cardinal is his ability to readjust and drive Lowry out of the B-Gap, allowing Elliot to cut off his backside to a crease.

We see Fleming again washing a lineman down the line of scrimmage on a power/gap play to his side. It’s a backside tackle/guard pull to the play-side where Fleming is tasked to block down hard on the 4i-technique Quinnen Williams (95). Fleming gets his inside hand into the sternum of the rookie and is able to split the rookie’s stance with outside arm control of the side of Williams’ body and a knee through the crotch area as Fleming drives his legs. This gives Fleming the control he needs on this specific run play and Williams is rendered ineffective. This opens a huge hole for Elliot at the second level.

Fleming executes the same play int he red zone, against the Jets once again (an obvious play in their game plan). This time, it’s against a player who is in more of a true 4-technique alignment (yet still with a very slight shade). Fleming is patient and waits for the defensive lineman to commit himself; once he does, he gains leverage and explodes him down into the B-Gap, opening a wide rushing lane off his backside. The end result...a touchdown.

The tackle can also do this proficiently when sealing a player away from the ballcarrier outside. He’s a solid run blocker, who is strong at the point of attack, and does a good job positioning himself well. Above we see Fleming attack a wide rusher and subtly force him to go up the arc, which allows Fleming to just position himself in between the rusher and the B-Gap, which is where Elliot was headed on the zone read. Fleming does a good job staying low and also does well positioning himself throughout the rep to not allow the EDGE rusher to get to the ballcarrier.

Second-level blocking

Fleming is 6-foot-5, 323 pounds with 34-inch arms. He’s a hulking individual, who didn’t necessarily test all that well athletically at the combine years ago, but he can still have success climbing and locating at the second level.

Initially, he seems to be on the backside of the play...but’s a reverse! Fleming is tasked to block the apex defender Coty Sensabaugh (37), who is a cornerback. Fleming climbs to the second level, waits for the play to develop, and then puts himself between Sensabaugh and the sideline, around the hashmark. Fleming is able to flow laterally while engaged with the corner and drive him vertically while not allowing him to disengage to flow towards the play.

This play doesn’t show as much positioning prowess, but it does show an ability to time a block well and fight through the rep, which resulted in the linebacker on the deck. Fleming allows the end man on the line of scrimmage to crash unblocked, so the capping player from the opposite side of the formation can meet him. Since Fleming was uncovered on the play, he gets to easily climb, locate, and finish the block on Blake Cashman (53).

Pass protection: Pros

Fleming can be a bit inconsistent with his technique which can leave him vulnerable, but I do love how he readjusts after being initially beaten on a rep.

He gets out of his stance quickly to disallow Za’Darius Smith’s (55) angle from being a dangerous one up the arc. However, Smith makes initial contact on Fleming and is able to get underneath his inside arm, forcing the tackle to be raised and vulnerable. Then Smith gains the half-man relationship and gets outside of Fleming, but the tackle doesn’t give up and he’s able to readjust, sink his hips, and drive Smith up the arc, not allowing the talented pass rusher to corner.

Similar situation above against a wide rushing Jordan Jenkins (48). Fleming gets out of his stance quickly to meet Jenkins, but the defender’s power is a lot for Fleming, which forces the tackle’s punch to be ineffective and meaningless. Jenkins puts Fleming on ice skates, but the tackle doesn’t give up. Fleming takes his outside arm, repositions it under Jenkins’ outside arm which halts the pass rusher as Fleming hits his back outside foot. Once that foot plants in the ground, he repositions his hips and shoulders to be framed well on Jenkins while not surrendering any more space to the pass rusher. This is a good readjustment by Fleming.

Another ezample of him giving up his chest and being put behind the 8-ball initially through a rep against a good pass rusher in Smith. Fleming absorbs the contact, his chest is controlled by Smith, but then he’s able to grab the outside breastplate of Smith and drive him away from the pocket. Not the best technique, but it gets the job done while showing some impressive play strength in the process.

Speaking of strength, Fleming displays impressive core strength against Smith in the video above. Another wide-angled rush on the jump set, yet Fleming is able to absorb the contact, take the hands to the face, re-sink his hips, re-anchor, and not allow Smith to get around him, nor does he allow himself to be pushed into the quarterback. Yes, Fleming is “tonging” a bit on the play, and his chest was exposed, but he’s able to win the rep and draw the penalty.

Fleming gets caught overpursuing outside a bit against Smith above. Smith explodes at Fleming with a quick stutter move with a club/swim combo to the inside. Fleming is beaten cleanly, but he’s able to flip his hips, readjust, and use his length to force Smith away from Dak Prescott. Again, not perfect execution, and you’d like to see a cleaner approach, but the job is done.

Pass protection: Cons

A tackle can only rely so much on his ability to readjust once their chest becomes dominated by the pass rusher. Fleming usually has much cleaner sets, but his set is real herky-jerky above; once he goes for his second stomp of his outside foot, he hesitates a bit, expecting another inside counter from Smith. But Smith hits Fleming with a straight bull-rush and it doesn’t allow Fleming any room to gain leverage, while also forcing the tackle’s equilibrium to be totally off-balanced. This results in an easy sack for Smith. Fleming gets driven backward, never has his feet totally set, therefor cannot engage his strength and anchor down.

Fleming allows the pass rusher to create space after their initial contact which results in a hit on Dak Prescott. It appears that Fleming may have been going for a snatch & trap of the pass rusher’s outside arm; he goes to hit the arm downward after his punch fails to cleanly land, but the pass rusher starts to move up the arc, as Fleming appears to be moving backward to prepare to fall on top of the pass rusher once he was snatched effectively, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the initial contact gives the pass rusher the space to get around Fleming’s edge and get the hit on Prescott.

1-on-1 vs. Kyler Fackrell

(Fackrell is No. 51)

A little current Giant on Giant action! The Green Bay Packers have a lot of talented pass rushers, but the limited reps that Kyler Fackrell had against Fleming weren’t great for the tackle.

Fackrell goes right for the push-pull combo with the strong bull-rush to get Fleming on skates. He takes his inside arm and grabs the cloth of Fleming’s inside shoulder while violently pulling him to the ground once the tackle was trying to collect himself. Fleming didn’t expect this type of strength from Fackrell and it made Fleming’s base become way too narrow, which also raises the pad-level of Fleming.

Again, Fleming seemingly underestimates Fackrell, only this time it’s for his speed. Fleming gets outside to Fackrell up the arc; the pass rusher bats the outside arm of Fleming downward while using his inside arm to keep Fleming away from his own body. This is a product of Fleming being a bit late to attack and allowing Fackrell to dictate the rep. Fackrell then dips around the edge and Fleming is beat while he attempts to overextend and push Fackrell away from the pocket.

Later in the game, Fleming does a good job readjusting to Fackrell’s speed. Fackrell’s wide and he gets off the line with hand fighting, but Fleming stays with him while keeping his shoulders square and hips aimed at Fackrell. The pass rusher attempts to dip around the edge, but Fleming puts himself into a position to easily guide him away from the pocket. Solid hip mobility and reactionary quickness from Fleming here to not get beat again by Fackrell up the arc. A good blocking readjustment and the end result was a touchdown.

Here’s Fleming not bending to the strength of Fackrell late in the game; Fackrell attempts the long-armed bull-rush with the inside arm, but Fleming anchors down, arches his back, and surrenders little ground. Another nice adjustment from the tackle.

Final thoughts

A team could do worse than Cam Fleming as their starting right tackle. I believe he’s a slight upgrade over Mike Remmers, the starting right tackle last year for the Giants. Fleming’s a solid overall run blocker who does a good job blocking down the line of scrimmage, sealing an edge, and also does a solid job climbing to the second level and locating defenders.

As a pass blocker, Fleming has some inconsistencies that can result in negative plays. He allows pass rushers to control his chest a bit too often, yet he’s pretty good at readjusting himself and winning reps, despite being put into less favorable positions upon contact. If Fleming ends up starting, he should be average. I don’t believe him to be the long-term starter, and I do feel like his inconsistent technique, and bad habits, will result in some negative plays. Nevertheless, he’s still an adequate starting tackle in a league that lacks competency at that position ... especially for $3.5 million a year.