Ereck Flowers is in the best shape of his life! An athlete entering a new season in the best shape of his life is an oft-used cliche. It means the guy was working hard in the offseason to stay (or get) game-ready. In football, this isn’t as common as baseball since guys have training camp and OTA’s before the preseason even begins. The baseball cliche sees guys slim and powerful before Spring Training games even begin. It elicits tremendous excitement out of a fan base and organization. This guy is all-in for our squad.

Flowers is reportedly all-in for the New York Giants in 2017, entering minicamp with a body that “looks a lot leaner.” He was working often at the Giants’ facility throughout the offseason. He’s been in the weight room and shows increased quickness to boot. Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, speaking of both Flowers and Bobby Hart, said,

I’m just very, very pleased that both young men have made that commitment to try to improve their game physically, do the things they need to do for their bodies to mature and grow.

This is all great news for Flowers specifically, heading into a very important season. It also doesn’t mean much of anything until we see him in actual game action.

New York made a huge gamble this spring. It is betting on Flowers. The team essentially stayed out of the bidding wars for free agent offensive tackles. It added some depth pieces but didn’t bring in anyone who will challenge for Flowers’ spot. The same thing then happened in the 2017 NFL Draft and afterward. NY added players capable of playing offensive line but didn’t use any picks on someone who could be a Week 1 starter at left tackle. The Giants are giving the spot to Flowers without competition this season. They are banking on him making strides in his third year.

It’s not a bad gamble that a highly drafted, talented, 23-year-old tackle can get significantly better between years two and three. Of course, NFL games are not often won by teams who gamble without backup plans. New York has no real, plausible alternative if Flowers struggles again in year three.

And he has struggled mightily in his first two seasons in the league. Flowers is prone to lapses in technique and concentration. He commits far too many penalties and easily gets out of place with his hands and feet. These are all things that cannot be fixed through getting in the best shape of his life. A leaner, quicker Flowers can be a better one. But it will take a lot of mental work for him to become a quality left tackle. This is something we won’t know about until long after minicamp ends. It is great to hear that the young man put in work during the offseason, but now the real work begins. The Giants’ offense hinges a great deal on Flowers taking that next step.

Todd Salem is the New York Giants Lead Writer at Pro Football Spot. He is also a Contributing Editor at BuzzChomp, a Staff Writer for NFL Spinzone, and a Featured Columnist at College Sports Madness, among others. Follow him on Twitter @sportspinata