The Detroit Lions signed Trey Flowers with the goal of changing the game for their defense in the 2019 season, and that’s just what they could be set to do while also changing the game a bit in the NFC North division. Recently, Dan Parr of NFL.com put together a piece picking out some of the biggest storylines of the division this offseason, and named some of his top additions and subtractions.
As it relates to the Lions, Flowers was named the best move within the division and Parr thinks his addition will prove to reap immediate rewards for the Lions, who need someone just like him for their defense. Here’s what he wrote:
“There’s a case to be made for four-time Pro Bowl selectee Anthony Barr, since he nearly did depart for a Jets team offering greener pastures, but we’ll go with a true newbie to the NFC North who’s more deserving of the nod here anyway. He doesn’t arrive with sexy numbers (21 sacks in four NFL seasons), but make no mistake: Flowers was a big fish to reel in and fills a huge need off the edge. The 25-year-old DE’s a palate cleanser after a year of Ezekiel Ansah playing on the franchise tag left a bad taste in the mouths of Lions fans. Flowers knows his role in the defense, having blossomed under Patricia during their three years together with the Patriots, and he was the third-highest-graded edge rusher in the league last season, per Pro Football Focus. Expectations will be high for a player who just received $56 million in guarantees, and the fact that Bill Belichick was willing to let him walk might make some folks suspicious, but he’ll be well worth the investment if he can play at the level he’s displayed over the past couple seasons.”
Flowers, 25, was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Arkansas. He essentially redshirted his rookie season, but has quickly evolved into one of the more impactful pass rushers for the Patriots. With Flowers, the Patriots should be able to stabilize that pass rush as the defensive end was able to total 6.5 sacks, 28 quarterback hits and 24 pressures last season. He’s also led the team in sacks both in 2016 and 2017, while proving he can also come up in the clutch as evidence of his two and a half sacks in Super Bowl LI against the Falcons.
Speaking in a clip from the Lions, Flowers explains that he had been to Detroit before, and not merely for away games when he was playing with the New England Patriots through the last few years.
“It’s a pretty nice city from what I’ve heard,” Flowers says in a video to DetroitLions.com reporter Tori Petry with a smile. “Actually, I’ve been here a few times. My grandmother used to live up here, so I came to visit her a few times. My mom’s got a lot of family here, so I’m excited to really be a resident here and see what it’s about.”
It wasn’t merely blood family which drove Flowers to consider Detroit, but the family atmosphere in the Detroit locker room, too. Matt Patricia is running the show in Detroit now as the head coach, and that’s a guy Flowers has a great deal of respect for. In the end, it made the choice of weighing Detroit’s offer with his agent a lot easier this past week when the different opportunities presented themselves across the league.
“I knew Matty P was here, he’s a guy who brought me into New England and developed me there, so that’s when I kind of got the idea that it might be cool to be a Detroit Lion,” he said.
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Specifically, it’s clear that Flowers has a ton of respect for Patricia not just as a coach but as a man. As he said, there is so much more than meets the eye about the Lions’ boss.
“He’s a player’s coach. He’s a coach that’s going to get a lot out of you. He’s going to get the highest potential. He demands high standards of excellence,” Flowers said. “Being in that building with him with the Patriots, just seeing how week in and week out he comes into the meeting rooms and just understanding that, you might have had a good play, but he needs you to have a great play. Then he’ll talk to you about your personal life, get around to asking things about your family. He’s an all around good guy and great coach.”
That combination makes Flowers a dangerous addition to the Lions, and in the thoughts of many, the most dangerous addition to a fairly loaded NFC North division as well.