INDIANAPOLIS - Whatever the Giants plan to do to fix their offensive line hinges on what they plan to do with Ereck Flowers. The Giants need to decide if he's a left tackle or a right tackle, or maybe even a guard.
And on Wednesday, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo wasn't ready to say.
"I'm saying, right now it's March 1st," McAdoo said. "So he's an offensive lineman for the New York Giants."
Presumably the Giants will have something more specific in mind for the 22-year-old Flowers by the time the free agent market opens on March 9, because by then they'll need to know whether they're looking for a right or left tackle or both. Flowers, of course, is the incumbent left tackle, but he's coming off a terrible season.
And at the end of last season, Giants GM Jerry Reese -- who is refusing to speak to the media at the combine -- said the Giants will evaluate what position Flowers is best suited to play.
McAdoo would not go that far. Instead, he professed his "confidence" in Flowers and pointed out how young the 6-6, 329-pounder still is.
"I have a ton of confidence in Ereck," McAdoo said. "He's a guy that he's all in, he's working at it. You could make a case (based on his age) that he could be here right now preparing to go out there and run in the combine. He's a young player that has a lot of room to grow and we expect him to grow. I have confidence that he's going to grow.
"Where he ends up is where he ends up. Right now he's playing left tackle like he's always played for us, and we'll go from there."
Where he ends up is a crucial point, though. Last year, the Giants had difficulty attracting free agent tackles in part because they refused to move Flowers from his left tackle spot -- the position many of the free agents preferred to play. If they're open to moving him, it would increase their free agent options. It could also free them to grab another left tackle prospect in the draft.
And clearly the Giants have to do something to help out their beleaguered offensive line which struggled throughout much of last season. The Giants' offense dropped to 25th in the league in large part because quarterback Eli Manning was under constant pressure.
McAdoo agreed that the offensive line needs to play better, but he disagreed that the solution should be a change of personnel because he doesn't think the problem is solely about the line.
"I think that's an easy blame," McAdoo said. "I think that's an easy one-liner you can throw out there and think you have all the answers. I don't necessarily agree with that. The offensive line, they need to play better. I agree with that. I think Eli needs to do a better job of playing with fast feet, and I think he needs to sit on that back foot in the pocket.
"We're seeing a lot of man coverage, so the receivers, it's going to take a little time for them to get open. So everything may not be rhythmical. He's got to play with fast feet, he's got to sit on his back foot and be ready to hitch into a throw. Things aren't always clean in this league, but you watch film of the end zones throughout the league and you're seeing a lot of dirty pockets."