EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ereck Flowers’ change of position has not altered his motivation to succeed.
Flowers, the 2015 first-round draft choice who was moved from left to right tackle this offseason, said today in his first public comments since the switch was made that he does not harbor a particular motivation to prove anything to the Giants.
Asked specifically about his contract, Flowers provided a broader response he could well repeat throughout the season.
“At the end of the day, they have to do what is best for the organization,” Flowers said. “I don’t have any personal feelings about it and, for me, I want to prove myself. Every time I hit the field, I want to get better every year and mainly I want to do it for myself. It’s not to prove to anybody else, I want to prove to myself that I can play at a certain level.”
Asked moments later if he has a “higher motivation” this season, Flowers said, “I always wanted to prove to myself, but would you say it is higher? I don’t think of it as higher. I’m not trying to over pressure myself, I just want to go out there and play the best I can play.”
Flowers started at left tackle all but two games in his first three seasons – the third game of his rookie season with an ankle injury, and the 2017 finale, both home games vs. Washington. When the Giants signed former New England Patriot Nate Solder to play left tackle, coach Pat Shurmur called Flowers to tell him he would get a chance to compete at right tackle. Flowers missed the early portion of the team’s offseason conditioning program, but has worked hard as the first-team right tackle since his arrival.
The biggest change between left and right tackle, he said, is “kick set. You are pushing off of your left instead of your right now. With any position change, it is just getting used to it, muscle memory and trying to get that muscle memory in it.
“I am feeling great, I am having fun every day and I am just looking to continue this. It is an adjustment, but it’s going well. I’m just chopping wood every day and trying to get better.”
His teammates and coaches have noticed.
“I see him improving and I see a guy that enjoys training and he has fit in well with the new players on the offensive line, and he obviously has a relationship with the guys from a year ago,” Shurmur said. “I know he’s a tough guy and he’s out there doing what we ask him to do and he’s improving.”
“What I’ve seen is a guy that has embraced his role, who’s really taken heart to improving,” Solder said. “He’s been a great teammate to me and I’m real thankful for having him on the team.”
Flowers and Solder often work together by themselves after practice.
“I’ve been asking him tons of questions,” Solder said. “I just pick his brain, try to get to know how he does what he does and we’ve had very good interactions.”
“It has been cool,” Flowers said. “We’ve been going every day and watching film, talking about what we see and just trying to go out there and perform.”
The two tackles will anchor a line that has been completely revamped and will help lead the Giants’ anticipated offensive resurgence. The line includes three newcomers and new starters at every position. In addition to Flowers and Solder, the current first-teamers are center Jon Halapio – who started six games last year at right guard - and guards Patrick Omameh and Will Hernandez, the team’s second-round draft choice.
“I think they brought in some great guys – Nate, Pat, Will,” Flowers said. “I think it’s going great. I think that everybody is clicking and just trying to keep this going throughout the season.”
In 2017, the Giants used 10 different offensive line combinations, their highest single-season total since the 1970 merger. They finished 21st in the NFL in offensive yards and 31st in scoring. The Giants believe they will be much more productive this year, and Flowers is determined to be part of the solution.
“I think every player has a pressure to perform at a certain level,” he said. “I think that’s the only kind of pressure you would see, but in the end I just want to go out there and leave what I have out there on the field. I just want to play the best that I can play.”