As we journey forward into the 2018 season, there seem to be few complications for the New York Giants after two of their biggest voids were filled with LT Nate Solder and first-round pick Saquon Barkley.
Now, locking up the New England Patriots star left tackle for five-years should put a smile on the face of most Giants fans, but there still remains an issue on the right side of the line. There’s no doubt that as long as Solder is healthy he will be the starter at left tackle this season, but now Ereck Flowers known to be one of the biggest busts for the Giants, will have to go up against UDFA Chad Wheeler for the starting position at right tackle.
Being that the Giants did not pick up Flowers’ fifth year option on his rookie contract, clearly depicts the lack of trust they have in Flowers on the left side.
Even though this may seem as if it’s the end of the road for Flowers in a blue uniform, a dim chance has presented itself. Chad Wheeler, with 11 games of experience, enters his second season against a three-year vet in Flowers.
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We can assume the days of Eli Manning taking big hits are a thing of the past, meaning at 37-years old, Manning is going to need top tier protection. GM Dave Gettleman made stacking the offensive line a priority during the offseason — we know that when Eli has a solid defense and a bit of time, he can achieve great things.
Now there has been a lot of discussion about everyone else besides Wheeler, but he can be the X factor that the Giants need now more than ever if they are to make a Super Bowl run these next few years.
How did Wheeler perform in 2017?
In week 10 of the 2017 season, Wheeler was asked to lineup against four-time Pro Bowler, Justin Houston. On that rare day, the Giants allowed zero sacks and one QB hit in 68-plus minutes (overtime play). The Giants’ running game also picked up 110 yards on the ground. The rookie lineman played an essential role in leading the Giants to one of their three wins.
The pressure is on for both Wheeler and Flowers, but Wheeler may have the advantage due to his prior experience and development at right tackle.
Reinforcements have arrived:
The addition of Saquon Barkley provides something the Giants’ offense hasn’t had since Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs… A RUNNING GAME!
One that will take the load off of not only Eli but the offensive line as well. The focus will at first be turned to Nate Solder giving Flowers and Wheeler some time to really develop and understand their role on this Giants’ offense. If the Giants can find a way to make it happen on the O-line at both left and right tackle, then we’re looking at one of the most well rounded teams in the NFL.
Flowers may have only played left tackle for the Giants, but he spent most of his time in college as a right tackle. Hopefully, that experience that he had playing in college can be resurrected, and restore stability to the offensive line that brought Eli manning and the Giants two Super Bowl victories. Leaving us with a memory of how Chad Wheeler gave Flowers the motivation to play up to his potential.