The New York Giants recently acquired offensive tackle Cam Fleming on a one-year deal. Luckily, he has familiarity with numerous coaches.
Bolstering the offensive line was a must for the New York Giants this offseason, but the big question was whether to do it in the NFL draft or free agency. And while general manager Dave Gettleman can still select a young, talented kid out of college later this month, he certainly took a step towards improvement with the signing of offensive tackle Cam Fleming.
The veteran has been in the league for six years and will likely compete for the starting right tackle role if the team doesn’t draft someone in the earlier rounds.
Just like some of the Giants’ other acquisitions, Fleming took part in a conference call with the media this past week. Within the conversation, he addressed his familiarity with the coaching staff. The 27-year-old spent his first four seasons in New England with head coach Joe Judge and additionally worked with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and offensive line coach Marc Colombo during a pair of campaigns in Dallas.
“I think [the familiarity] played a pretty big factor when I was deciding to come here,” Fleming said on the call, per Alex Smith of SNY. “I think that when you see two people that you worked closely with for two years [Garrett and Colombo] and they get another job and they want you to come with them, it says they have some kind of confidence about your play, your attitude, and all that stuff.”
“I really like playing for [Colombo] because he really does love what he does,” he added. “He comes in with so much energy, so much juice every single day, week after week throughout the whole season. I don’t think there is ever a lull in it for him. I really appreciate his passion and electricity every day. He’s just a damn good coach. He helped me a lot with my technique in Dallas and I look forward to continuing working with him.”
The potential right tackle competition
As was stated before, Fleming could find himself competing to be the team’s primary right tackle in training camp. His opponent would be Nick Gates, the promising third-year man who the Giants signed as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska in 2018.
It’d be difficult to find a Giants fan who truly thinks either is the answer for the future though. Gates and Fleming are simply stopgap options, at least until the organization finds the true solution at right tackle.
Gates started three games for the Giants last year, taking part in the opening snaps against the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17. Strong chemistry is always the most significant quality of a dominant and consistent offensive line. Gates certainly has a leg up in those regards. He’s already spent plenty of time with this group of offensive linemen. Fleming hasn’t, with the exception of his four years in New England with left tackle Nate Solder.
But Fleming’s familiarity with Garrett and Colombo’s offensive style could give him the ultimate edge. He knows what the two are looking for in regards to his position and the overall gameplan. Therefore, expect him to pick up on the playbook a little quicker than Gates or any of the other options.
Fleming is additionally just more experienced. Three career starts for Gates doesn’t compare to Cam’s resume, which includes starting in Super Bowl 52 with the Pats.
All in all, it’s a potential battle that many fans will focus their attention towards. But if the Giants draft for need later this month and select someone like Tristan Wirfs from Iowa, then the competition will be non-existent. In that case, both Fleming and Gates would work as reserves in what’s been a struggling group of “hog mollies.”