Is it not a word spoken around the Giants when referring to their offensive line. Not for nearly a decade, that is. When it comes to describing that unit with the Giants the past several years, several colorful words come to mind. “Revered’’ does not. That is how Cam Fleming, the newest Giants offensive tackle, …
Is it not a word spoken around the Giants when referring to their offensive line. Not for nearly a decade, that is. When it comes to describing that unit with the Giants the past several years, several colorful words come to mind. “Revered’’ does not.
That is how Cam Fleming, the newest Giants offensive tackle, referred to his old team, the Cowboys, in how they viewed that particular position group.
“It’s hard to say what they teach that makes it so good,’’ Fleming said Thursday on a conference call. “I think one of their best attributes is just teaching that mentality. In those offenses the offensive line is a little bit more revered. Some of the best players on the Dallas Cowboys are on the offensive line. You feel a little bit more of the weight on your back as an offensive lineman. Hopefully we bring that here and we can carry a whole bunch of weight for the Giants as well.’’
If Fleming can bring a hint of that to the Giants, they will be better for it.
Considering how long (one year) and how much ($4 million) Fleming got from the Giants, there are no illusions he is moving into a starting role. The available openings are at center (Fleming is not a center) and at right tackle, a spot Fleming has extensive experience filling. Ideally, the Giants envision Fleming, 27, as a swing tackle, capable of filling in for a series or a half or a few gamess at either left or right tackle.
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Unless a better option (think upcoming draft) comes along at right tackle, Fleming could get the job. The prospects currently on the roster are not strong, unless you want to consider Nick Gates, who made his first NFL start last season against the Jets. Gates started 25 consecutive games at Nebraska at left tackle, and the previous coaching regime believed he had potential.
With the Cowboys, Fleming played for Jason Garrett as the head coach and Marc Colombo as the offensive line coach. Garrett was hired by Joe Judge as the Giants’ offensive coordinator, and Judge and Garrett brought in Colombo to direct the offensive line.
“It played a pretty big factor when I was deciding to come here,’’ said Fleming, who spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Patriots. “Two people that you worked with … worked closely with for two years, and they get another job and they want you to come with them, it says they have some kind of confidence about your play and your attitude and all that stuff.’’
In Dallas, Fleming was surrounded by talent — Tryon Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick and La’El Collins formed the guts of one of, if not the best offensive line in the league. It would be nice to think the Giants can recreate some of that, but Fleming realizes that is not the goal.
“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 as the Giants and build a culture that brings success, but we don’t want to, for lack of a better word, like copy what they’re doing in Dallas. There’s definitely elements you could pick out from every team in the league but you definitely got to build your own identity.’’