The New York Giants signing left tackle Nate Solder in free agency put the former Ereck Flowers in a very peculiar position. Flowers lost his job overnight, which hurt him to his core, causing him to skip out on voluntary workouts when he was expected to attend.
“Of course,” Flowers said when asked if it was difficult to receive the news, “but I love playing football, so it’s whatever now.”
Head coach Pat Shurmur called Flowers immediately after signing Solder to confirm that the former would compete at the right tackle spot. The move subsequently forced Flowers to hire an agent to calm the storm and regulate the weeks ahead.
According to NJ.com, Flowers stated in regard to his new role:
“I have to prove myself every time I hit the field and get better every year,” Flowers said after Wednesday’s practice in his first interview of the offseason. “Mainly, I just want to do it for myself. It’s not for anybody else. I want to prove to myself I can play at a certain level.”
During the NFL draft, GM Dave Gettleman tested the waters on a potential trade – there was no suitor, which ultimately forced the Giants to move him to the right side to give him a second chance at life. Weeks later, Big Blue declined his fifth-year option and have now put the young tackle in a do-or-die situation. Despite the business related actions, Flowers remains steady and firm. He knows his place on the team and what his future will look like if he continues to struggle as a professional.
“At the end of the day, they’ve got to do what’s best for their organization,” Flowers said somberly. “I don’t have any personal feelings about it. Any player can get traded. I didn’t get traded. I’m still here. I haven’t even thought about it.”
As a human being, we know Flowers thought about it and acted upon it. He made his own business arrangements, which attests to his hiring of an agent and new-found commitment to the game. This final season of his contract is a glorified one-year “prove it deal,” which allows him to write his own script. The Giants were generous enough to allow him to reach for success one last time as a right tackle, and he now understands the significance of this season. Everybody wants to see him succeed, and he will push to do so.
“I’m feeling great, having fun every day and looking to continue this,” Flowers said. “It’s an adjustment, but it’s going well, just chopping wood every day trying to get better.”
Flowers has been seen practicing after hours with Solder, refining his technique and developing alongside a quality teammate. Solder’s greatest attribute is arguably his leadership and his ability to confide in his teammates. He’s the best possible mentor and friend for Flowers to have at this point in his career, and if his agent is any good, he will tell him to spend as much time around the Giants’ new LT.
“I’ve still got to go out there and do my job,” Flowers said. “It’s great, but I have to focus on doing what I have to do.”
It’s encouraging to see his change of mindset, but in the end, Flowers hasn’t proven anything just yet. He’s still the lackluster tackles we’ve grown used to – ultimately, it can only get better from here.