Ereck Flowers was trending on social media Monday night. For an offensive tackle, that’s never a good thing.
The third-year player allowed three sacks and looked listless against the Lions and defensive end Ziggy Ansah, drawing consternation and condemnation from all corners of the sports-watching world. There was even a GoFundMe page set up by a Giants fan to raise money for a replacement.
The Giants, though, have no intention of making a change.
Asked if Flowers will remain at left tackle, coach Ben McAdoo said: “Absolutely.”
“He did some good things in the ballgame,” McAdoo said on Tuesday. “He gets singled out and that’s the way it goes in this league . . . You can’t point all at one guy.”
Teammate Justin Pugh spoke about the unfairness of that attention.
“Everyone wants to come and take shots at Ereck, and that’s trying to kick somebody when they’re down,” Pugh said after the game. “He knows he didn’t do what he was supposed to do tonight. He’s 23 years old going out there and trying to do everything he can.”
Pugh did not defend Flowers’ play. It would be difficult to do that. What he did seem to be doing was deflecting some of the virtual vitriol aimed at Flowers.
“It hurts me to see one of my teammates and someone I, like, try to help out, to see him get beat up like that,” Pugh said. “I didn’t play great. Go put my film on. It’s five guys. We can help him out. We can do a better job. We can run the ball better. When it comes to offensive line plays, it’s all five of us, it’s not one person. So if you are going to come and bash us, don’t bash one guy.”
Pugh has experience being under the microscope. He allowed four sacks in a game against the Eagles three years ago when he was a starting tackle. He’s played mostly guard since that season, though he moved to right tackle on Monday night when starter Bobby Hart left the game early with an ankle injury.
The most important part of Flowers’ improvement right now, Pugh said, is “the mental side of it.”
“They keep beating you down, beating you down,” he said. “You want to go out there and play well, and he will. He’s just got to get his confidence and we have to start playing complementary football . . . He’s a human being, we’re all human beings, and I’m looking forward to picking my brother up.”