LT Flowers feeling the heat

Sep 19, 2017 - 10:54 PM EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers was supposed to be a much-improved player this season after spending the offseason working out in the team's weight room to reshape his body and improve his stamina.

Yet, through two games this season, Flowers, the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft, continues to struggle with consistency in his technique. He allowed Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah to beat him for three of the five sacks quarterback Eli Manning had to absorb.

Teammate Justin Pugh, who until having to move to right tackle Monday night following the injury to Bobby Hart, lined up next to Flowers, came to the defense of the 23-year-old tackle.

"It hurts me to see one of my teammates, someone I try to help out, to see him get beat up like that," Pugh said. "I didn't play great. Go put my film on. It's five guys. We can help him out. We can do a better job. When it comes to offensive line play it's all five of us, it's not one person. So if you're going to come bash us, don't bash one guy."

Pugh didn't stop there in his rather impassioned defense of his teammate.

"The NFL is tough to play tackle, I can tell you that first hand," said Pugh, who had his share of struggles in his first two seasons when he played right tackle.

"Playing left tackle in the NFL is very, very hard. So everyone wants to come and take shots at Ereck and that's trying to kick someone when they're down. He knows he didn't do what he was supposed to do tonight. He's 23 years old going out there trying to do everything he can."

Head coach Ben McAdoo also came to Flowers' defense, pledging his confidence in Flowers as the team's starting left tackle going forward.

"Ereck is a young player," McAdoo said on Tuesday via conference call with the New York media.

"He did some good things in the ball game yesterday. He gets singled out and that's the way it goes in this league. But again, the breakdowns are spread out. It's not just one player making breakdowns. The breakdowns are spread out and I'm included - throw me in there."

While McAdoo's and Pugh's defense of Flowers is admirable, it's also getting old. Yes, Flowers is 23, but this isn't exactly his first rodeo. That Flowers continues to make the same technique mistakes such as not setting his feet or dropping his head after 34 NFL games is inexcusable.

The problem for the Giants is they are devoid of options. Based on the configuration they went to after Hart's injury, it's clear that Pugh is their "swing tackle." If something should happen to either Pugh or Flowers, the Giants could put D.J. Fluker at tackle, but they have also insisted that guard is Fluker's best position.

That leaves them with inexperienced players such as Chad Wheeler, currently on the 53-man roster, and Adam Bisnowaty, currently on the practice squad. Both of those players are regarded as projects and showed during the preseason that they're nowhere near ready to step into the line of fire.

Thus lies the dilemma for McAdoo and the Giants: They must sink or swim with Flowers as their left tackle unless the front office either finds someone currently on the street or makes a trade.

Considering the play of offensive lines around the league, it's unlikely that teams have a spare left tackle lying around for the Giants to get, which is why the Giants solution likely needs to come from inside the organization.

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