HEADLINE

Giants’ Flowers faces music after opening struggles

The Sports Xchange

September 10, 2018 at 9:49 pm.

At just 24 years old, New York Giants right tackle Ereck Flowers is the second youngest member of the starting offensive line.

Unlike his comrades who stood before the media to face the music after the unit’s up-and-down showing against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, Flowers opted to skip the postgame interview sessions so he could sleep and get his eyes on the tape to determine his role in the Giants’ starting offensive line having allowed 15 pressures against quarterback Eli Manning.

On Monday, Flowers took his turn to try to explain what happened.

“There were a couple of plays were I just need to — let’s just say more consistent,” he said. “I think I did some good things, but I think there’s some things I need to work on. It’s part of the game.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Flowers led the Giants’ offense with seven pressures and was responsible for allowing a sack to defensive end Lerentee McCray.

The fourth-year offensive tackle was also called for a tripping penalty and a holding penalty on the Giants’ opening drive and was also thought to be one of the culprits on the tipped pass that landed in the arms of Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack, who returned it for a Pick 6.

“I actually had the dual, so the linebacker came, and I was supposed to pick him up,” Flowers said. “He came and then he left, so I stepped to get him and then I had to pop back out last minute. See what I’m saying? I had two people inside first.”

So he misread the play?

“No, he came and then he left. You get what I’m saying? He came, so I had to step down, but if I blocked him and didn’t get inside, then I’d be wrong. It was kind of a hard play,” he said.

Hard play or not, it was one of a handful that stuck out like a sore thumb on the first-time right tackle’s performance.

“I mean it was my first full game at right (tackle),” he said. “Probably the best rushers yet that I’ve played at right, so it was a little different, but got to get better and move on. Go on to the next game and continue to work at it and get better at it.”

Coach Pat Shurmur, who said he didn’t contemplate removing Flowers from the game despite his struggles, was also quick to defend Flowers.

“He’s like every player,” Shurmur said. “He had a lot of really good plays and he had a couple that he’d like to have back. He’s going to work to get better.”

Flowers said he was grateful that Shurmur stood up for him but added that he doesn’t let external criticism bother him.

“I don’t really care what a lot of people have to say about this and that. I care about what my coach says and the people next to me and that’s all I really care about,” he said. “If (Shurmur) feels like I’m wrong on that play, then, yes, I’ll take that. But if somebody else who’s not really in the room doesn’t know the play, doesn’t know what we’re doing, it doesn’t matter to me.

“I’m playing for the dudes in my room, dudes on this team that I’ve been working with all season and I don’t have an issue with (external criticism). I don’t lose sleep over it. I lose sleep over what these guys in my room and on this team think about me.”

He’s also not worried about potentially losing his job.

“You can’t think like that,” he said. “You just got to go out there and play as hard as you can play and whatever — leave it in God’s hand, that’s it.”

— LB Olivier Vernon (ankle) remains questionable for Sunday’s game against Dallas. Vernon has not been able to practice since suffering a sprained ankle on Aug. 26 and was inactive in Sunday’s Week 1 opener.
— RB Rayne Gallman (knee) suffered a sprain. Coach Pat Shurmur said Gallman is “questionable” moving forward but didn’t provide much in the way of details regarding how long Gallman might be out, if at all.
— CB Eli Apple, who allowed just one of four pass targets against him to be completed, had one of his best games, according to coach Pat Shurmur. “I thought he played a really solid game,” he said. “He was competitive in coverage, made a couple plays on the ball, and I liked it. It was a good opening game for him.”

— QB Eli Manning, who targeted receiver Odell Beckham Jr. 15 times in Sunday’s game, said the plan all along was to get Beckham the ball as often as possible. “Yeah, we’re going to do that. We want to try to get him the ball,” he said. “They’re a one-high team (safety). We got a lot of one-on-one coverage. I thought he looked good.” According to ESPN’s NFL Matchup Stats, Beckham lined up across from Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey 54 times, 27 in man coverage and 27 in zone. Beckham finished with four receptions (out of six targets) for 54 yards in man coverage and three catches (out of five targets) for 31 yards in zone.