The Giants offensive line has been shuffled throughout the offseason and it appears that the injury bug has bitten the unit at the start of another season. Already the Giants have seen injuries to their first round draft pick Ereck Flowers as well as their starting center Weston Richburg. While the injuries seem to be mild, the offensive line may develop chemistry issues as a consequence of repeated injury-based absences. Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty spoke with the Giants Beat about the state of the offensive line.
The 16-year tenured NFL offensive line coach has dealt with similar injury problems with his units in the past, and returning for his 12th season with the Giants, Flaherty is holding his high regarding the injuries.
“The one thing that I always want to stay focused on as a coach is do the best job with what we have to work with and what I can control,” noted Flaherty. “That’s the players out there practicing at the moment.”
The mindset to work the tools that are left in the toolbox makes Flaherty a very resourceful coach. That being said, it’s hard to maintain or grow a unified chemistry if half of the starting offensive line is missing portions of training camp. Flaherty took the time to explain how he has combatted some of his players missing on-the-field time.
“You try to do it with the things that those guys can do, whether it’s walkthroughs, in the meetings, trying to keep that continuity,” admitted Flaherty. “You’re not getting 100 percent, as you mentioned, you just get the best of what you can do, whether it’s sitting in a chair and talking about things and letting them call things out in the meeting rooms. We try to keep that exercise going each and every day.”
Making sure that the whole line is involved regardless of their active or inactive status provokes a strong initiative for the players to learn and be on top of the playbook even if they aren’t using it firsthand. This coaching implementation is specifically important to the development of rookie left tackle Ereck Flowers, who needs all the time he can get to prepare for anchoring the line on week one.
“It is nothing that you take lightly with a young player,” Flaherty stated about Flowers missing time. “The only guys that you would actually kind of, as a coach, breathe okay with is a guy that is a veteran, a guy that has played year after year after year. A young player needs every snap that he gets.”
While obviously the repetitions in practice are essential to any rookie’s development in an organization, Flaherty is taking the extra initiative to keep Flowers and his other sidelined players involved with practice in a productive manner. Lastly, Flaherty summed up his thoughts on the injuries to the offensive line in a very logical way.
“I’m just hoping that the guys get back sooner than later but when you get them back you don’t want that [injuries] reoccurring.”