They talk almost as if Giants first-round pick Ereck Flowers just learned to play offensive line. His technique is raw and flawed, the critics say. It's the easy, common and maybe even obvious assessment about Battleship Flowers.
MMQB's Greg Bedard brought the criticism to the surface again this week (almost a month after the 2015 NFL Draft) when he quoted a veteran NFL offensive line coach describing Flowers as having "some of the worst technique I've ever seen in a player drafted that high." Flowers was the ninth-overall selection by the Giants.
The anonymous offensive line coach's criticism is one the Giants likely brush off with a scoff.
"You read that [his weakness is his technique]. The guy is 20. They all have technique flaws," vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross said with a wide smile after the selection. "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."
The rare moments when Flowers did have struggles is what has come to the surface pre- and post-draft. There was the one play matched against Nebraska's Randy Gregory. There were a few bad snaps against Virginia's Eli Harold.
Considering Flowers is believed to have not allowed a single sack last season (and his father claims there were none over the past two years), it's clearly nitpicking. Here's a player who was a first-round pick, no matter who you asked, and eventually settled in the Top 10. Does he have flaws? No doubt. But some of the worst technique ever? Sounds like hyperbole.
So what are these alleged technique flaws that everybody speaks of?
"Like a lot of offensive linemen in college, in college you can get away with clutching and grabbing," former Giants lineman and current FOX analyst David Diehl said. "In the pros, you have to be a puncher from Day 1. The biggest thing you have to do, whether you are at left tackle or right tackle, is re-direct the defensive end's rush.
"That is one thing he definitely has to work on is timing his hands and feet together so he is punching and he gets his hands inside the framework. Outside of those two things, he's a more athletic Kareem McKenzie."
The inefficiency with his movement leads to sloppy technique. It leaves Flowers overexposed and sapped of his power.
This makes him susceptible to both speed and power pass rushers. At the University of Miami, Flowers was able to compensate with his natural strength and athleticism.
On a play against Virginia, he held off a defender with one bent arm. That's won't work against the size and speed of NFL defensive linemen. Flowers will need to clean it all up to be successful at a difficult position.
"Instead of kicking and getting to a spot, exploding and getting engaged, upper body in sync with the lower body, being able to punch and make a stand, a lot of times he's all over the place in moving sections," said Duke Manyweather, a performance consultant with emphasis on offensive line. Manyweather works with the Giants' Geoff Schwartz and Weston Richburg in the offseason.
"That leads to [Flowers] not being in top position with his feet and effectively use his hands. That is one of the big issues."
Former Giants lineman Chris Snee, who analyzed three games of Flowers for line coach Pat Flaherty, can relate. He struggled with some of the same issues Flowers has entering the NFL.
"The hand placement issue I was talking about with Flowers was similar to what I had [coming out of B.C.]," Snee said. "I'd either have one hand inside and the other outside and wouldn't really trust my punch."
These are all issues that must be addressed. The Giants desperately need Flowers to play (and play well) with starting left tackle Will Beatty likely out until November.
There are three months to work on these flaws. It's far from a lost cause. Flowers was the ninth pick for a reason, and seems to have the right mindset and work ethic.
"[Flowers] said one of the best things he could have possibly said to me that already struck me the right way and gave me a good impression of him," Diehl said recently. "We're sitting there talking about coming [to the Giants] and everything. Before I walked away he said, 'I know you're around a lot. [The team] said you were.
Do you mind if at any time if I have any questions about technique or footwork or different types of stuff if I can ask you?'"
Sounds like someone willing to fix what many consider badly flawed technique.