He was beaten by Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell on the game’s first play from scrimmage. He stuck out his left leg on the play and called for a trip. Flowers was also called for a hold on Campbell at the 1-yard line two plays later. These penalties wiped out Giants completions. He also allowed a sack of Eli Manning by Lerentee McCray.
Flowers, who has always been a man of few words, summed up his performance succinctly.
“Got to get better,” he said.
The Giants have been waiting for Flowers to get better since the day he was drafted.
Flowers is a 2015 first-round pick. His fellow O-lineman from his rookie season (Will Beatty, Marshall Newhouse, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Geoff Schwartz) are no longer with the team. The fact that Flowers is still on the roster is a mystery to some, especially when the regime that drafted him is no longer with the team.
Not only is Flowers still a Giant, but it was determined a position change might do him some good. After three seasons as one of the NFL’s worst left tackles, he was moved to the right tackle position. Flowers was the starter from the moment the position change was announced. He was never in any real danger of coming off the bench.
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Unfortunately, Flowers’ deficiencies were apparent in Sunday’s game. It wasn’t entirely his fault for the offensive line’s woes. Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh were thoroughly outplayed against Jacksonville but the blame will always be shifted in Flowers’ direction because of his tumultuous history.
Flowers got into a confrontation with an ESPN reporter after a Giants loss to the Green Bay Packers in 2016. He refused to play in last season’s regular season finale despite not being hurt. He also got into an altercation with former Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty, who is now an offensive line coach with the Jaguars.
In spite of Flowers’ mistakes, head coach Pat Shurmur said he wasn’t going to pull him out the game. Besides Flowers and Solder, the only other tackle on the Giants’ roster is Chad Wheeler. Wheeler, an undrafted free agent, has had an up-and-down tenure with the Giants and spent most of training camp working with the second-team offense.
Shurmur did not rule out making changes for Sunday night’s road opener against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys defense, though not nearly as formidable as Jacksonville’s, does have Pro Bowl defensive end Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence’s 14.5 sacks tied Campbell for second in the league.
“We’ll see,” Shurmur said. “Right now, what we’re doing is trying to get every player better. I’ll probably say it for the 10th time now, he had a lot of plays that were really good.”
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.