As Ereck Flowers prepares to take his first vacation from his new job, he's trying to keep the progress going.

"I'm leaving here better [than I arrived],'' he said of wrapping up minicamp this week and taking a six-week break before returning for training camp, "and trying to come back even better than that.''

It shouldn't be too hard because even though the first-round pick has been working with the first team at left tackle throughout OTAs, he really hasn't been able to show the team the best part of his game. Working in helmets and T-shirts has allowed him to focus on technique refinements (much needed, most agree) and become familiar with the playbook. But it has almost nullified the most prominent reason the Giants selected him ninth overall, out of Miami.

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His physicality.

His 6-6, 329-pound frame.

His nastiness and supposed mean streak that has yet to flash.

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The Giants may be pleased with Flowers' progress after being thrown into the real world in light of the pectoral injury suffered by projected left tackle Will Beatty, but they really won't know what they have in Flowers until he puts the pads on and can hit someone.

Flowers said he is looking forward to that showcase moment.

"You can't finish [blocks] right now, you'll get somebody hurt,'' he said. "Right now we're playing fast, keep people up, make sure everybody comes out healthy.''

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That changes -- a little -- in training camp. "You don't want to hurt nobody, but you can play a lot more physical when you have the pads on.''

The Giants will be holding two training camp joint practices in early August with the Bengals. Flowers will be able to hit them as hard as he wants. "Yeah,'' he said, about as excited as his quiet off-the-field personality allows him to get. "Yeah.''

On Thursday, though, for one last day, Flowers' powers will be reined in during the non-contact minicamp.

"You have to come with the right mind-set, you have to be ready to play, with or without pads,'' he said. "We're still going around blocking, we're still [moving]. Either way, you have to be ready to go.''

Flowers appears to be.

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"I think I've gotten a lot better since I've gotten here,'' he said. "Once I found out what I was doing and got the hang of it. Everything is a transition. It's going to be hard at first. But with work and the right mind-set, it's going to come better than it was before. That's life. I'm really looking forward to training camp and this whole journey.''

And a chance to show the Giants the tenacity and brutishness that attracted them. Because so far, they haven't seen his best. Neither has he.

"I still have a huge gap I have to fill before I get to say that I'm at my best,'' he said.

A gap he hopes to close just a bit during the six-week hiatus.

No deal is no big deal.

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Flowers is one of only three unsigned first-round picks in the NFL, but he said he expects to have an agreement inked soon and that he will not be a holdout when training camp starts July 30. "I don't see it getting to that point,'' he said.

Flowers is the only first-round selection representing himself without an agent. He's relying on guidance from his father and on an attorney to look over paperwork.

"We're making progress,'' he said. "I expect us to do good on the contract and come into training camp ready to play.''