Cam Fleming started just six games in his two seasons with the Cowboys, but during his time in Dallas he was part of what was regarded as one of the top offensive lines in the NFL.
“In that offense, the offensive linemen are a little bit more revered,” Fleming said in a conference call on Thursday. “Some of the best players on the Dallas Cowboys were on the O-line, so you feel a little bit more of the weight on your back as an offensive lineman.”
This offseason, Fleming has signed with the Giants. He joins two other men who were part of that offensive line culture, former head coach Jason Garrett who is now the Giants’ offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Marc Colombo who will hold the same title in New York. Their positions with the Giants were “a pretty big factor” in Fleming’s signing with the Giants, he said.
“Hopefully we bring that [philosophy] here and we can carry a whole bunch of weight for the Giants as well,” Fleming said.
Clearly, there will be a Cowboys flavor to the way the Giants are trying to rebuild what has been one of their shakiest positions the last few seasons. But Fleming was adamant that the Giants aren’t trying to simply duplicate Dallas.
“I don’t think that’s something we would want to do even if we could,” Fleming said. “We definitely want to form our own identity with the Giants and build a culture that brings success. But we don’t want to, for lack of a better word, copy what they are doing in Dallas. I mean, there are definitely elements you can pick out from every team in the league, but you have to build your own identity as Giants.”
That makes sense since the Giants don’t have the personnel on their offensive line that the Cowboys have had in recent years. There are still some holes in the group now, more than two weeks after the start of free agency, that will need to be addressed in the draft or with veteran signings at a later point. The addition of Fleming, who can play right or left tackle, is ideally one that provides depth and experience for the Giants, not a starter at either of those positions.
But while following the Cowboys step-for-step isn’t their plan, the Giants are certainly embracing a lot of the culture that helped make the very good players in Dallas even better. That starts with Colombo.
“I really like playing for him because he really loves what he does,” Fleming said. “He comes in with so much energy and so much juice every single day, week after week the whole season. I don’t think there is ever a lull from him. I really appreciated his passion and electricity every day.
“Also, he’s a damn good coach.”
The Giants are going to find out if they have the players to match that attitude and aptitude.
Pat on the back
Besides playing for the Cowboys, Fleming was also a four-year player for the Patriots during Joe Judge’s tenure there as a special teams coach.
“Back then I didn’t even think about all that stuff,” Fleming said when asked if he foresaw Judge as an NFL head coach. “But I’m glad to see he is with the Giants now and I’m glad to see that he is our head coach. I know him, probably not as well as some of the special teamers in New England did, but we interacted. He’s a really good dude, brings a lot of intensity, and I’m excited to have him.”