Giants beat reporter offers insight on Seahawks’ Mike Solari, D.J. Fluker

Mar 22, 2018, 10:11 AM | Updated: 10:19 am
The Seahawks signed ex-Giants OL D.J. Fluker to a one-year deal this week. (AP)

D.J. Fluker’s arrival to Seattle will be a reunion of sorts for the 27-year-old ex-Giants guard. Fluker will join a unit headed by Mike Solari, who is in his first year with Seattle after coaching the same position group for the Giants in 2017.

“He’s a bit understated,” WFAN’s Paul Dottino said of Solari during an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Groz and Tom Wednesday. “Mike’s much more of a laid back kind of a guy. He’s going to be very calm (and) very methodical, but he has a world of experience and a wealth of knowledge to give you.

“Now, you’ve got to be a little bit more of a self-motivator to follow what it is that he’s going to tell you and to believe that he’s going to give you the right instruction to make you a better player. The Giants’ offense line in the last couple of years, they have not necessarily had very good self-motivators. (D.J.) Fluker was one. And that’s why it’s no surprise to me that Solari was very eager to pluck him off the Giants’ roster.”

Get to know the newest Seahawk: OL D.J. Fluker

Fluker’s one-year deal with the Giants last season had its ups and downs, though that was primarily due to injuries to his shoulder and toe (the latter of which ended his season prematurely in late November). When he was in the lineup, he was a vital part of the Giants’ improvements in the ground game; the offense saw 25 fewer rushing yards per game, on average, when Fluker was out.

‘That’s not a statistical anomoly’

Dottino argues Fluker could be better used with a team that leans more heavily toward the run – something then-Giants head coach Ben McAdoo strayed from.

“With the Giants, during the one year he was here, (Fluker) was a terrific run blocker in the power rushing attack,” Dottino said. “Where he had his trouble, and it should be no surprise when you look at the size and girth of this guy, is when speed rushers try to slice through gaps or if speed rushers stunted on him. He had trouble because of a lack of athleticism and sometimes recognition of picking up those pass rushers. But in terms of the run game, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find somebody who is going to do a better job between the tackles of just pushing the pile and basically flattening people.

“And the Giants, unfortunately for them, they ran an offense last year where they wanted to throw the ball too much and it’s one of the reasons the coaching staff is gone and the record is what it was. They didn’t commit to the rushing game as much as they should have. When Fluker was in the starting lineup, they averaged about 20 yards per game more rushing the football than when he was not in the lineup. And those are just the pure numbers, and I would tell you he was the primary reason for that. That’s not a statistical anomaly.”

‘It really bothered him the people thought he was a bust’

The 6-feet-5, 339-pound Fluker was selected 11th overall out of Alabama by the Chargers in 2013. The Chargers ultimately released Fluker in 2017.

“(Fluker) has got a great attitude. He’s full of energy. He really wants to improve, understands that when he makes a mistake it can’t happen again,” Dottino said. “I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that he really felt like he was going to experience a renassaince and a ressusatiation of his career. He’s a man with a lot of pride, and really it bothered him that people thought he was a bust after his years with San Diego.”

Seattle signed Fluker to a one-year deal earlier this week.

Hear Dottino’s entire interview with Bob, Groz and Tom here.

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