The Sad Tale of Ereck Flowers

Ean Greenberg

Fresh off of another disappointing 6-10 2014 season, the Giants were looking to rebuild. After two straight losing seasons and missing the playoffs for the fourth year in a row, changes were inevitable. While many were calling for Tom Coughlin to be fired, the real issue that needed to be addressed was the abysmal offensive line. An offensive line of Will Beatty, John Jerry, Weston Richburg, J.D. Walton, and Justin Pugh wasn’t going to cut it and the Giants were going to have to look for replacements in the upcoming draft. There was one man who they believed could solve their issues: Brandon Scherff. The 6 foot 6, 315 pound offensive guard out of Iowa was a stud in college and many believed his skill set could translate to the next level. He was the man the Giants had their eyes set on, and with the ninth overall pick in the draft, the Giants liked their chances of getting him. To the dislike of Giants fans everywhere, Scherff was taken off the board with the 5th pick in the draft by the Giants division rival, the Washington Redskins. This left the Giants flustered, as the man they had set their eyes on was suddenly taken away from them. Many fans wondered who the Giants would go after since the draft did not contain a deep group of offensive linemen. Todd Gurley? Melvin Gordon? Nope. What would happen next would end up being worse than anyone could have imagined:

“With the ninth pick in the 2015 NFL draft, the New York Giants Select: Ereck Flowers, tackle, Miami.”

Giants fans around the world immediately questioned this pick. Not only had they never heard of Ereck Flowers, yet the reviews from NFL analysts made them feel uneasy. Flowers was deemed by almost everyone as a second round talent, maybe even third round. Even as Giants fans hounded general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin with questions, the two men stood firm, saying that Flowers was the next highest rated player on their draft board.

The 2015 season did not go well for Flowers. Even with such a huge frame, perfect for any offensive lineman, Flowers was just too slow to keep up with the speed of the NFL. After being thrust onto the scene after Will Beatty’s injury Flowers started 15 of the 16 games that year, yet was a liability protecting the aging Eli Manning’s blind side. His poor play did not go unnoticed. He was given the lowest Pro Football Focus grade out of all of the first round picks many fans were already calling for the first year man to be benched or even cut. However, the Giants believed that an offseason of work and having a year of experience under his belt could help unlock so much potential.

After a full NFL offseason, many Giants fans looked for a huge rebound from Ereck Flowers in his second season. The reports were filing in that Flowers was finally learning how to use his properly and would take a huge step forward this season. His 2016 campaign got off to a great start as Flowers was rated the 12th best offensive tackle and the 7th best left tackle by Pro Football Focus. It was finally seeming as if Jerry Reese’s questionable draft choices were paying off. Sadly, this did not last for long. After two strong games to start the season, Flowers’ play fell off mightly as he became the NFL’s most penalized offensive lineman with 12 penalties, including 8 holding penalties. As Flowers and the rest of the offensive line began to struggle, so did the Giants’ offense which was unable to score over 20 points in their final 5 games of the season. Flowers , yet again, was highly criticized and this time Giants fans were impatient. There were not willing to waste Eli Manning’s days because of an incompetent offensive line. Going into the offseason Giants fans expected many changes to that unit.

D.J. Fluker, Chad Wheeler, and Adam Bisnowatty. These are the three names the Giants brought in this offseason to fix the offensive line. This led Giants fans to one big conclusion: Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart, the other Giants offensive lineman who is struggling, must have improved their play so much that the franchise prefers them over anyone else on the free agent market or in the draft. With another offseason, it meant another chance for Giants coaches to rave about the improved physical shape and play of Ereck Flowers. The coaches explained how Flowers had worked out this offseason and was in the best shape of his life, which would lead to the breakout year we had been waiting for. Two years of NFL experience under his belt and learning from his mistakes would finally make Ereck Flowers the big, scary offensive lineman that Giants fans had dreamed of for so many years. Now, lets fast forward to now. The Giants are 0-2 and officially in desperation mode. The Giants lost on the road to Dallas 19-3 and at home to Detroit 24-10, in which the offense looked lifeless in both games. Many can point to the poor coaching of head coach Ben Mcadoo or the absence of Odell Beckham Jr (for the most part), yet what needs to be blamed is Ereck Flowers and the Giants offensive line. Not only has the line not lived up to the higher expectations set this year, yet they are even worse than last year. Ereck Flowers can not block someone to save his life, meaning Eli Manning is constantly under duress. Sure Manning hasn’t played well or thrown the ball well, but the reason for that is because this offensive line, led by Ereck Flowers, is incapable of doing their job. Manning takes a quick three step job where he is either met by a defensive lineman or flushed out of the pocket. With Manning aging we can’t afford to waste his precious days. The only way to make the most of these days is to get rid of Ereck Flowers. Not only is he bad but he is a liability. Every player who comes across his path either gets by with ease or his dragged down to the ground only to have a penalty called on Flowers for holding. Right the Giants season is in jeopardy and the only way to save it is to make some changes at the offensive line and it begins with Flowers. We’ve had two years of listening about how he is improving and how “this is the year”. No. It’s over. It is time to give up on Ereck Flowers because it is time we realize that he is not fit to play offensive tackle in the NFL. Until changes are made, it will be a long season for both Giants fans and Eli Manning. We can’t waste a season filled with so much hope, so it is time we say goodbye to Ereck Flowers.

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