PHOENIX — If John Mara has his way — and he usually does when it comes to the Giants — there will be a familiar name starting at left tackle for the Giants this season.
“I’m not giving up on Ereck Flowers yet,” Mara, the team’s co-owner, said Sunday at the NFL’s annual meetings in Arizona. “I know that seems to be the popular sentiment around, but this is a young kid who’s been in our weight room every day in the offseason. He wants to be good. He wants to be a top left tackle in this game. There’s a spot for him on our team. Hopefully it will continue to be at left tackle, but I’m not giving up on him yet and I don’t think anyone on our staff is.”
Flowers certainly had his share of struggles last year, his second protecting Eli Manning’s blind side. That is something the Giants addressed publicly — general manager Jerry Reese wondered aloud at the end of the season about Flowers’ future at the most important position on the offensive line — and something that apparently has not sat well with Flowers.
“I think he’s a very prideful guy,” Mara said. “I think he was probably stung by some of the criticism, and I think that will serve to motivate him next year. He’s a good kid, he really is. He wants to be a top player in this league, and I think when you have a guy that’s going to work as hard as he does and is as big and strong as he is, I think you have a chance.”
And, apparently, you get at least one more chance to prove it.
“I know he believes that he can play better, and we believe he can play better too,” Mara said. “And we believe he will.”