Aug/16/15 11:58 PM Filed in: Ereck Flowers
CINCINNATI — Ereck Flowers' first official snap in the NFL threw him right into the fire.
The Giants' rookie left tackle fired out and, with running back Rashad Jennings soon to be right behind him, headed toward the second level. His objective? Pick up Bengals linebacker A.J. Hawk, an established veteran.
Flowers, the Giants' first round pick, did just that, securing the block and pushing Hawk back as Jennings picked up three yards on the first play from scrimmage in the Giants' preseason-opening 23-10 loss at Paul Brown Stadium.
"It was pretty good," Flowers said. "I think I did pretty well, but I'm looking to improve. I felt good, I had fun. Football is football."
The first team offense struggled mightily on Friday night, especially on the offensive line, on the four drives the unit was together on the field. But Flowers, whose development has been hampered a bit recently by a hip flexor injury, put in a solid individual effort, picking up his assignments with consistency to cap what was a good week for the No. 9-overall pick between a pair of joint practices and the game.
Flowers said there was nothing about the game that surprised him, since "we had been practicing against them all week, so it was about the same."
There were a handful of times when a Bengal defender would get some pressure against Flowers on a pass rush, and Flowers did draw a facemask penalty to wipe out a nice gain when he lost his balance while blocking Bengals defensive end Will Clarke. But on the whole, Flowers did well, moving his feet and maintaining leverage
Flowers saw a variety of Bengal defenders - Wallace Gilberry, Clarke and Hawk, among others - and was consistent throughout both in the run game and in the passing attack. When the starting line then stayed in the game for a fifth series, Flowers helped the unit assert itself against the Bengals' reserves, leading to an 8-play touchdown drive.
The learning curve for a rookie left tackle is a steep one, but Flowers continues to give the Giants optimism so far during training camp that he can step into the crucial role admirably.
"We need to keep improving," Flowers said, "and getting better."