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Technique remains buzzword with Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When the New York Giants selected offensive lineman Ereck Flowers with the ninth overall pick of the 2015 draft, it opened some eyes. Opinions about the Miami product were all over the map.

It wasn't that the talent wasn't there. Flowers had the size, feet and athleticism to develop into a quality left tackle. It was his technique that scared some teams.

Not the Giants.

"You read that stuff. The guy is 20 [years old]," Giants vice president Marc Ross said after Flowers was drafted. "They all have technique flaws. Nobody is ready-made to play in the NFL. Even fourth- or fifth-year seniors. They all can improve.

"He is just learning to play, but even with technique flaws, the guy was a productive and dominant player at times."

Fast forward one year later. After an up-and-down rookie season, not much has changed. Technique remains the concern with Flowers, who allowed a league-high 75 pressures last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

The players, his head coach and his new offensive line coach are still harping on that area of his game.

"Ereck Flowers is a young man who is learning to trust his technique," head coach Ben McAdoo said.

Flowers' hand placement wasn't where the Giants wanted it to be last season. He was too often caught off balance and leaning forward. It consistently put him in compromising positions.

Flowers, who is 6-foot-6 and 329 pounds, spent most of his rookie season getting by on athleticism and length. It wasn't ideal.

"Yeah, I would say that happened sometimes," said Flowers, who is focusing on punching more often and effectively. "I did that more so last year, so this year I am really trying to work on my technique and going in with my coach and watching film. I am trying to focus on that this year."

There it is again. That buzzword, technique.

Because of flawed technique, Flowers' hands and feet didn't work in unison last season. They were on two completely separate pages.

Part of it could be attributed to an ankle problem that plagued him most of the season. It took almost three months after the season for Flowers to feel 100 percent.

But it would be naïve to think that was the only problem, especially considering the pre-draft criticism.

"I don't use [the ankle] as an excuse," Flowers said.

Flowers' technique flaws existed before his rookie season, and they still exist now. It's something the Giants are working hard every day to fix.

"He's got a lot of ability, a lot of potential. The key thing we have to do with Ereck is develop the consistency," offensive line coach Mike Solari said. "It's exciting to work with someone like Ereck. ... It's just a matter of continuing to coach him and keep having him ascend. The hardest thing in training camp is to be able to develop those habits and make them so that you can put them to work in a game environment.

"We're working at it every day. Every day, we've got to be able to transfer that to the preseason, to the regular season, and he's working."

The Giants put a lot of trust into Flowers that the flaws will be corrected. They looked at several offensive tackles in free agency, but they refused to guarantee any of the veterans the opportunity to play left tackle because of Flowers. He's their left tackle of the future and now, regardless of any current deficiencies.

In Year 2, they're banking on that technique significantly improving. Otherwise, the offensive line could be a problem.