It’s no secret that New York Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers is not having a good season. In the Giants’ 24-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the former first-round draft pick out of the University of Miami sunk to even deeper depths of futility.
In the first quarter, with the Giants facing third-and-14 from their own 5-yard line, the Steelers rushed four out of their nickel package against the Giants’ customary three wide receiver, one tight end, one running back set.
Flowers, 22, was the victim of a stutter step by none other than Steelers linebacker James Harrison (who will turn 39 on May 4). Harrison made a move to the outside before cutting back inside.
Flowers grabbed Harrison’s helmet and subsequently flagged for holding in the end zone. The Steelers were awarded a safety and never looked back.
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According to Pro Football Focus, Flowers had the third worst performance of Week 13. He allowed eight pressures of quarterback Eli Manning, most of those by the ageless wonder Harrison.
In addition to the holding penalty that spotted the Steelers two points, Flowers was also flagged for a false start in the fourth quarter. He has 12 penalties this season, ranked third in the NFL. The Washington Redskins’ Josh Norman leads the league with 15.
Former offensive lineman Shaun O’Hara was named to three Pro Bowls and helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLII. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a second team All-Pro selection in his seven seasons with the Giants.
Now an analyst for the NFL Network, O’Hara has been very critical of Flowers.
O’Hara appeared on the MSG Network’s New York Giants Postgame Live after the Week 4 loss to the Green Bay Packers. “Ereck Flowers is what you call a coach killer in this business. You can’t beat yourself because of poor technique…it finally showed up and cost them a game tonight.”
After the Steelers loss, O’Hara tweeted, “Just watched the NYGvsPIT film. Can’t un-see that. Flowers even worse than I thought.”
Flowers did, however, get support from head coach Ben McAdoo.
“Ereck, we have a lot of confidence in Ereck,” McAdoo said. “He needs to get better with his hand placement and fundamentals.
The 8-4 Giants are in the middle of a playoff push. Flowers hasn’t mastered his hand placement and fundamentals after nearly two full seasons. When the off-field issues (including shoving ESPN reporter Jordan Ranaan in the locker room after the Packers loss) are factored in, it might be time for the Giants to think of another option at left tackle.
The most obvious option is Will Beatty. Beatty was the starting left tackle when Flowers was drafted ninth overall in 2015. He missed the entire 2015 season with injury, forcing the Giants to start Flowers.
Beatty was released in the offseason. He re-signed with the Giants before the final preseason game but hasn’t played a snap this season.