The Giants’ offensive line can’t block the criticism, either.
After Sunday’s 19-3 loss to the Cowboys, it appears as if the Giants’ biggest weakness from last season is still the main concern after Week 1, and that is not lost on some members of the offensive line.
“I mean it is in our face,” left guard Justin Pugh said on Wednesday. “Every time I turn around, somebody is asking us what is wrong with the O-line.”
“It’s New York,” right tackle Bobby Hart added. “There’s going to be a lot of criticism if things don’t go right. It’s the lay of the land.”
Even when asked about any positives, Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers did not see a point in talking about it.
“Does it matter?” he asked. “We didn’t get what we wanted, go out there and do what we want.”
Flowers has received the brunt of the criticism of the offensive line.
The Giants’ first-round draft pick in 2015 has failed to live up to expectations and things did not appear all that much better Sunday night in Dallas.
Down 16-0 in the third quarter, the Giants had a 2nd-and-4 from the Dallas 4-yard line and were poised for a touchdown, but Cowboys defensive end Charles Tapper blew right by left tackle Flowers for a nine-yard sack.
The Giants settled for a field goal—their only points of the game.
“Everything needs to be improved,” Flowers said. “Try and fix the negatives.”
One of those negatives for Flowers appears to be his footwork.
During the broadcast, NBC color commentator Cris Collinsworth pointed out that Flowers appears to be cheating on pass protection by starting with his left foot back really far, but it’s costing him in run blocking.
“One of the things that it does is it locks him up when he wants to make a play in the running game,” Collinsworth said. “When he has to move to his right, he just can’t move that right foot first.”
“For Ereck Flowers, he has to survive the passing game and worry about the run game secondarily. Because he has to protect Eli.”
The Giants never established a running game, rushing just 12 times for 35 yards, but that could also be attributed to playing from behind the entire game.
Flowers was not the only culprit.
Hart and John Jerry continued to struggle with blocking stunts—a problem evident in preseason—as Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence pushed right through Jerry on the third play of the game for a sack and forced the Giants to punt.
Hart also injured his right ankle early in the game and had it heavily taped in the locker room on Wednesday but believes he will be ready for Monday night’s game against the Lions.
When asked if his injury affected the way he played, he replied, “It’s my ankle, bro. You try blocking on it.”
“You’re trying to stop people from pushing you and you plant on your ankle but it is what it is,” he added. “Part of the game. You deal with it.”
As the Giants try to shift their attention to Monday night, Flowers said there is a sense of urgency among the O-line after watching the film from Sunday’s loss.
“There’s more urgency to go out there and do what we got to do,” he said.
Whether or not the Giants can do that, Flowers remained confident:
“I know we can.”