In a twist few saw coming, rookie OT Ereck Flowers has been the mainstay of a Giants’ offensive line decimated by injuries. Charged with protecting Eli’s blindside after Will Beatty went down, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2015 Draft has missed only one game while showing steady week-to-week progress. That’s not to say everything is perfect, his pass protection can be haphazard at times but given his first-year status, it is excusable. A couple of weeks ago, Pat Flaherty, the Giants’ O-line coach, had assessed Flowers, praising him for his attitude, play strength and desire but felt his handwork and footwork could improve.
“It’s a combination and, really, most of it becomes one thing on top of the other, it happens when he’s very technique-conscious in the beginning of the game and then something happens that gets him out of whack because he’s playing against good players that have been playing a long time. Then I have to settle him and we talk on the sideline and we settle down a little bit and then it’s gone almost series by series from that standpoint.”
Flowers’ baptism by fire will continue this week as he goes up against the New York Jets’ Muhammad Wilkerson. Wilkerson has so far amassed 8 sacks this year and will be waiting to capitalize on as many one-on-one opportunities as he can and further the rook’s growing pains. Big Blue ranks near the top of the league in terms of sacks allowed at 18 and will be hoping Flowers can contain Wilkerson as much as possible. Given that the former Miami Hurricane has already faced some of the league’s best and passed with decent results, this latest test will be one Flowers will be savoring and expected to learn from.