Eli Apple and Ereck Flowers Taking Advantage of Clean Slate with New York Giants

Eli Apple

The New York Giants are coming off one of their worst seasons in recent memory. Nothing went right from injuries to locker room chemistry. General manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo were ousted before the end of the season and new GM Dave Gettleman and new head coach Pat Shurmur have worked hard to restore the locker room and bring back Giants’ football to its former glory. With OTAs under way things are starting to round into shape with the Giants and the best word to describe it is encouraging.

Eli Apple and Ereck Flowers are two of Reese’s first round picks that have failed to live up to expectations. They were also involved in some of the locker room discord. Both were given a clean slate by the new regime. Earlier, it appeared that Flowers would shoot himself in the foot and stay away from the Giants after the team signed Nate Solder to play left tackle. However, Flowers has appeared at OTAs as he tries to learn to play right tackle while holding off Chad Wheeler and other contenders for the right tackle job. Apple has also shown up and has owned his behavior and poor play from last season. He knows he has a clean slate and so far he is showing flashes of first-round talent in camp.

The Giants needed to get this offseason off on the right foot. With a new system being implemented on both offense and defense it was important for all players to get and get to work. There is a different outlook now among the players and the defeatism that crept into the culture last year is gone. This is a team looking for revenge and they have the weapons to make a good run if the chips fall their way.

Shurmur and Gettleman deserve a lot of credit for not making examples of certain players. They surveyed their team and decided the talent was worth the risk. So far, both players are taking advantage and putting in the work and earning praise from the media and teammates.

It was crucial for this team to come together and find common ground heading into the new season. These OTAs were essential to building this team. The Giants need Flowers and Apple this season. They need them to take a step forward. Both will play crucial roles for this team and the first steps have been taken. Both players are moving in the right direction and hopefully the Giants are too.

Ereck Flowers Is His Own Worst Enemy

Ereck Flowers

Ereck Flowers was always going to be a project when the New York Giants drafted him ninth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. You can argue whether or not the Giants should have drafted him until you are blue in the face but the fact remains he had talent and his lack of development is one of the reasons Jerry Reese was fired last season. However, Flowers can still bring that talent to the surface. The only problem is he is his own worst enemy.

With Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese being fired last season it was evident that Flowers’ days as a Giant might be numbered. The writing started to appear on the wall when Nate Solder was made the richest left tackle in NFL history. The Giants had to do something to improve the offensive line this offseason and Solder was the first step. Adding Solder meant that Flowers would be moving to right tackle, or at least be able to compete for a job there.

Right tackle is not a new position for Flowers. He played there at the University of Miami as a true freshman, making four starts. He moved to left tackle in 2013 and the rest is history. However, Flowers’ profile might have always been better suited to right tackle despite his starting at left tackle during the 2013 and 2014 seasons at Miami. He always had the strength but he lacked the finesse that is required at left tackle, where so often the tackle is left on an island to protect the blind side of the quarterback. At right tackle, Flowers would have been able to use his mauling style to greater effect, especially if he was getting help from the tight end.

Flowers could have used this season as a fresh start. He could have shown up to voluntary camp and put the work in in front of a new coach. He could have learned tricks of the trade from new offensive line coach Hal Hunter. He could have endeared himself to the new coaching staff and gotten a head start at winning the right tackle job.

The problem is he didn’t. Flowers stayed and worked out in Miami, one of the very few Giants who didn’t participate in the camp. He put a target on himself with the new general manager and the new coaching staff.

Regardless of what Flowers did this offseason there was no way they were picking up his fifth year option which would have paid him $12.25 million next season. However, he could have reinvented himself and rebuilt his image. Instead, he has hired Drew Rosenhaus to be his agent and seems like he has already checked out of being a Giant this season.

It wouldn’t have been crazy for Flowers to win the right tackle job and potentially get a new contract with the Giants. A stretch perhaps but not totally out of the question. Money is money and the Giants need offensive linemen. If he showed progress this season he might have been able to get paid and stay a Giant. Or at least rebuild the image he has created for himself and hit the free agent market completely fresh.

Those things didn’t happen. Flowers has shot himself in the foot once again and has created an image of himself where he is selfish and not a team-first guy. Combine that with his subpar play and you have a really negative image of a player who really should be looking for his first really large paycheck. Instead, Flowers might be lucky to find a job where he can compete to start. It isn’t too late to change.