Miami Dolphins training camp preview: Ereck Flowers
Ereck Flowers looks to continue his great comeback story with the Dolphins
Former Washington guard Ereck Flowers was the first player the Miami Dolphins signed after the 2020 free agency cycle opened up. Flowers was previously a tackle for the New York Giants before signing with Washington and converting to guard. In 2019, he had a resurgent season at guard, which ultimately landed him with a new contract in Miami.
The contract, on the surface, looks like a reach for Flowers. Miami inked him to a three year, $30 Million deal. However, it is remarkably team friendly for the Dolphins. Flowers’ salary for 2020 comes in ranked 28th among guards. After the second year, Miami can cut flowers and save $10 Million with only three million in dead cap. Also, the entire time while the Dolphins are paying Flowers, their quarterback will be on a rookie contract. It was speculated that the Dolphins were heavily interested in Patriots’ guard Joe Thuney, but he was franchise-tagged right before the deadline.
The Dolphins made a concerted effort to improve the offensive line in the second year of this rebuild. With Chan Gailey coming in as offensive coordinator, the Dolphins want to be powerful in the run game. Flowers is an absolute mauler as a run blocker and uses his power to be more than adequate as a pass blocker.
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Going into training camp, Flowers may be the best offensive lineman on the Dolphins’ roster. In the power run game, with Jordan Howard as the likely back in these situations, Flowers may the go-to lineman for Miami to run behind. He would be an absolute battering ram as a pulling guard. The Dolphins want to be a tough football team. The common theme of the Stephen Ross era of Miami Dolphins football is an absolute lack of physicality.
Dating back to the beginning of the Joe Philbin regime, Miami has struggled against physical football teams. They were just bullied by teams like the Baltimore Ravens for years. That is what Brian Flores is trying to end. Flores and general manager Chris Grier has put an emphasis on being tougher and more physical. Players like Ereck Flowers will contribute to this culture change.
Perhaps the most important role for Flowers is what he provides for rookie tackle Austin Jackson. Jackson has had two consecutive truncated off-seasons and is about as raw as they come. Last year, rookie guard Michael Deiter struggled tremendously. That can be attributed to who he was playing with. Deiter was in between Julién Davenport and Daniel Kilgore last season, leaving him no margin for error.
In training camp, Jackson is going to need to depend on the man next to him. If Flowers can be a strong anchor next to Jackson, it can help him come along slowly in a controlled environment, as opposed to being in absolute chaos like Deiter. Flowers can take Jackson under his wing, and use his failures at left tackle to help and mentor Jackson along the way.