With 2017 Training Camp having come to a close for the NY Giants last week, let’s review what took place and where the Giants are before their 2nd preseason game.
Never have so many fans and media scrutinized the play of only one player like that of Ereck Flowers. He is the (less nimble?) elephant in the room. Even I am guilty of going as far to say— if Flowers is even mediocre, the Giants can go as far as they can imagine in 2017. Jordan Raanan of ESPN:
“To verify Flowers’ struggles, I showed a handful of the lowlights to several ex-NFL offensive linemen and some independent offensive line coaches. They all agreed it was brutal. One said: “Worst I’ve seen, period.””
There have been good stories coming from camp. Add them up and they all seem to pale in comparison to Flowers’ lack of improvement. We are victim to the same public relations campaign that was handed to us this offseason. The mainstream media was supplied a narrative from the Giants Front Office:
1) Flowers (and Hart) is young. His future can be bright.
2) We have patience.
3) We believe Flowers will be much better this coming season.
4) Flowers has been a workout warrior with a faster step.
5) (From Flowers himself), who has taken boxing lessons to give quicker hands/speed.
6) There is nothing in Free Agency that interests us in the Tackle position.
7) The 2017 NFL Draft is thin on Tackles, so we are not interested (in investing anything significant).
This plan places undue risk on the shoulders of Flowers to deliver. There is no competition for his job. And there is no credible backup for Flowers if he gets injured. Frankly, that assumes Flowers is credible in the first place. Raanan’s report would indicate otherwise. Reese’s strategy is flawed because it exposes the Offense to excess risk. If Flowers makes incremental progress and Eli somehow remains alive until his 37th Birthday, Reese will claim a victory for having threaded the needle at Tackle. It is a reckless path, REGARDLESS OF OUTCOME. The game of football requires depth. And Flowers has no right to this job. He is owed competition. He has none. The Giants will win and it will lose with Flowers. Even if Reese is correct that Flowers can play well enough to get the job done (which all Giants fans truly hope for), this path was unnecessary. Our draft analyst drew up a list of notable Free Agents for the OL before March. Shaun O’Hara voiced his dismay at why the Giants did not get a credible Tackle early in the Draft. Reese had his opportunities and chose his path. We have Flowers and a narrative.
In the first preseason game, Flowers was okay. There were no abominable moments like the lapses in camp that were shown to those reviewers. Monday night we get more data in Preseason Game 2 vs the Cleveland Browns. We will keep monitoring Flowers. His play will be scrutinized because so much is riding on how he plays.
Perkins is not the problem.
— Andy Furman (@UltimateNYG) August 19, 2017
Changing gears, much has been discussed about Paul Perkins. The media turned one negative comment by McAdoo from the first preseason contest vs the Steelers into evidence that Perkins’ job was in question. It is nonsense. For starters (no pun intended), Perkins was okay on that play. Second, there is no contest. Third, any questions about the running back has much more to do with the awful and putrid run blocking than that of ANY of the running backs. The RBs are fine. It is the OL that is the problem. (This is also why getting better OL help via a Guard who can road grade will help Flowers do his job.) The Offensive Line has no surge. The OL has not been able to run block effectively for many years. Perkins is fine. He deserves better in front of him.
After the Steelers game, it was clear that Landon Collins is on track for another All Pro season. His presence gives hope that the Defense can be dominant this year. That is their goal. We see one Achilles heel in their path to attaining that objective. That is lack of depth at Cornerback. After DRC, Jenkins and Apple, there is scant evidence of anyone behind them that can step in and offer credible defense.
The last 3 preseason games are casting calls. The Giants will evaluate their talent at OL and CB and look at the waiver wire for assistance.