These days, when someone asks about the New York Giants offensive tackles, the question usually focused on both Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart.
Flowers and Hart. The names roll off the tongue, sounding like an easy listening rock group and not a pair of bruising football offensive tackles.
But head coach Ben McAdoo thinks it’s time that people stop lumping the two together when talking about their progress.
“Bobby and Ereck, they’re not twins, are they?” he asked. “Every time we talk about one, it seems we talk about the other. They’re two different people.”
Maybe so, but the names of both when combined not only roll off the tongue, both youngsters are from the same draft class and both have the glare of the spotlight firmly on them after two shaky seasons a piece as pros.
Toss in the fact that both teammates have their lockers next to one another and both chose to remain in East Rutherford during the offseason to reshape their bodies and improve their skills, and , well yeah, naturally people are going to group the two together.
So how have the tackle twins looked?
Hart appears to be further ahead in his development. His technique, while not perfect, shows greater attention to detail in years past. He’s also doing a nice job of establishing a base and has somehow managed to keep Jason Pierre-Paul’s name off people’s lips when talking about plays being made.
“I feel better, I feel stronger so it’s definitely paying off,” Hart said.
Asked where he’s made the biggest strides, he said, “Just little stuff like hand placement—there’s just so many things you can point out on each play. That’s something that comes with growth. You just see things that don’t work so you not going to make the same mistake you made last year.”
In the run game, Hart’s increased strength is showing up in his drive blocking. He’s been doing a better job sealing defensive ends and he’s also done a nice job of pushing guys out of the hole.
McAdoo has liked what he’s seen so far from the former Florida State offensive lineman.
“Bobby had a nice day today; he’s bending well,” said McAdoo. “He’s making progress in his technique and he had a couple runs today where he stretched the front side well, which was good to see.”
Flowers? Besides being noticeably slimmer—he wouldn’t disclose what his weight is, thought he Giants have him listed at 325 pounds—his hand speed is definitely much faster and improved, something that defensive end Olivier Vernon, who regularly goes against Flowers I practice, made note of the other day, and something McAdoo acknowledged as well.
“Ereck’s getting better with his punch in pass protection.”
Where Flowers has struggled at times is in setting his base. He will often bend at the waist and not sink his hips down toward the ground, the result being lost leverage.
Then there are times when Flowers resorts to his old bag of tricks which have included grabbing opponents by the neck or by a fistful of jersey, as he did a couple times against Vernon in Saturday’s practice.
Despite the hiccups shown by Flowers, McAdoo said the key is to be patient and not expect change overnight.
“I think development takes time, and right now we’re developing a lot of players,” he said. “But for a guy like Ereck, third down’s a big period for him. That’s where he needs a lot of work in pass protection and one-on-one versus defensive ends, and he took a step today to get better on our third down period and he did a nice job.”
Flowers, who is a man of few words with the media, opined that he’s making progress and that the coaches have told him as much.
“I see myself improving every day out here at camp,” he said. “First I started off a little bit and now I see me getting a lot better every day.”
That’s all the Giants can ask for.