|Team||New England Patriots|
|Height/Weight||6'2", 265 LBs|
|2015||New England Patriots||0||0||0|
|2016||New England Patriots||45||7||0|
Despite seeing little action during his rookie season, Flowers has developed into a phenomenal pass-rusher for the New England Patriots. His role at DE is centered around rushing the QB, something he is adept at. He is yet another talented player who has come out of nowhere to become an unsung star for the Patriots. Before diving into analysis of his play, we will explore his career path and journey to the NFL.
Flowers attended Columbia High School in Huntsville, AL, and was one of their best players every year. During his junior and senior years, Flowers was named to the Alabama all-state team, no small feat in such a football-crazy state. His stats are very well hidden, and are difficult to find online. During his final two years of high school, Flowers earned all-state recognition from the Alabama Sports Writers Association. He received offers from Arkansas, Alabama-Birmingham, Georgia Tech, and South Alabama. After much deliberation, he chose the SEC school and accepted Arkansas’s offer.
During his freshman season (2011), Flowers appeared in all 13 of the team’s contest, and started three games for the Razorbacks. In his career debut against Missouri State, Flowers totaled 5 tackles. Against Texas A&M, Flowers had a season-high 5 tackles. In his first career start against Ole Miss, he totaled 3 tackles, a sack, and a pass breakup in. A week later, against Vanderbilt, Flowers recorded his second career pass breakup. Then, against South Carolina, Flowers equaled his career-high in tackles, with 5. He finished the year with 28 tackles, a sack, and two pass breakups. Subsequently, he was named to the SEC all-freshman team. Although he saw limited action his freshman year, many expected Flowers to take on a bigger role entering his second season. In his second season, Flowers indeed acquired a bigger role defensively, starting all 12 games. In the opener against Jacksonville State, Flowers recorded 4 tackles and a QB hurry. More than a month later, against Auburn, Flowers earned the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week award after posting a career-high 3.5 sacks, the second-highest single-game total in SEC history at the time. Against Kentucky, Flowers recorded 5 tackles, once again tying his career high (until that point) in the category. Versus Mississippi State, he totaled 6 tackles, a sack, and 3 QB hurries. The next week, against Louisiana State, Flowers posted a career-high 10 tackles, as well as 0.5 sacks and a pass breakup. He finished the season with 50 tackles, 6 sacks, and 3 pass breakups. Expectations were high for Flowers entering his third year, and many expected him to be one of the best defensive linemen in the SEC. In 2013, Flowers started 12 games, but missed a contest against Samford due to injury. Against Louisiana, Flowers earned the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week award after recording 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble. Against Southern Mississippi, he recorded his first career interception. Then, against Rutgers, he tallied 4 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup. Versus Florida, Flowers finished with a season-high 7 tackles, as well as a sack. A month later, against Ole Miss, he totaled 6 tackles, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup. In the final contest of the season against Louisiana State, he tallied 5 tackles and a sack. Flowers finished the season with 44 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, an interception, and 2 pass breakups. As a result, he was named to the All-SEC second-team roster. Rather than enter the 2014 NFL Draft (which featured names such as fellow SEC defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Dee Ford), Flowers elected to return to Arkansas for his senior season. In his final season, many expected Flowers to shine in the Arkansas defense. In the season opener against Auburn, Flowers tallied 9 tackles. Then, against Northern Illinois, Flowers earned the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week award after finishing the game with 9 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. Versus Alabama, Flowers totaled 8 tackles, a sack, and batted pass. Against #1 Mississippi State, Flowers recorded 7 tackles. Then, against Ole Miss, Flowers totaled 6 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery in a 30-0 win. Versus Missouri, he recorded 8 tackles, a sack, and 2 pass breakups. He finished his final season in college with 68 tackles, and 6 sacks. Following his dominant season, Flowers was named to the all-SEC second-team roster. After the magical season, Flowers chose to enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
At the Combine, Flowers was a top performer in both the vertical (36.5”) and broad (10’1”) jumps. He was projected as a third-round pick, and considered to be a value selection by many. The New England Patriots drafted Flowers in the fourth round, with the #101 overall pick. In the preseason against the Green Bay Packers, he sacked QB Aaron Rodgers, but was forced to exit the game with a shoulder injury shortly after. He was only active for one game during the regular season, and did not contribute anything meaningful.
Many wrote off Flowers’s rookie season as lost to injury, and were salivating over his potential as a pass rusher. In Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, he recorded his first career tackle. In Week 3 against the Houston Texans, Flowers totaled 3 tackles and a pass deflection. He had a stretch of games where he was invisible, until a Week 8 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. In the game, Flowers recorded the first 2 sacks of his NFL career, and added 3 tackles. Following a bye week, Flowers sacked Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson twice, bringing his season total to 4. The next week, against the San Francisco 49ers, Flowers recorded what is listed on the statsheet as a “stuff.” In Week 14 against the Baltimore Ravens, he sacked QB Joe Flacco once. The next week, against the Denver Broncos, Flowers added 2 sacks, bringing his season total to 7. He finished the regular season with 23 tackles, 7 sacks, and a pass deflection. New England held the #1 seed in the AFC, and held a first-round bye. In the Divisional Round against the Houston Texans, Flowers recorded 7 tackles. Then, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, the Pittsburgh Steelers stood in the Patriots; path. Against the Steelers, Flowers finished with 3 total tackles. In Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons, Flowers tallied 6 tackles and 2.5 sacks, including a crucial sack on QB Matt Ryan that knocked the Falcons nearly out of field goal range. The Patriots came back from a 28-3 deficit to win in overtime, 34-28, and Flowers earned a Super Bowl ring in just his second season.
This section will detail Flowers’s playstyle, and explain why he is such a valuable asset to the Patriots defense:
I- Pass Rush Ability
Flowers is adept at rushing the QB, and shines on passing downs. This play against the Atlanta Falcons is a good example of Flowers’s ability to rush the QB. On this play, the Falcons have 2 receivers to the right and 1 to the left, with QB Matt Ryan in the shotgun, The Falcons also a show a split backfield, with RB Devonta Freeman to the right and TE Austin Hooper to the left. The Patriots show a 5-man rush, with their CBs in press coverage. Ryan takes the snap, and drops back to throw. While the rest of the line holds up, Falcons C Alex Mack (a very good center) is beaten by Flowers, who squeezes through the “a” gap. Mack makes a last-ditch effort to slow Flowers, but he rushes by and slings Ryan to the ground as he is falling. This play demonstrates his pass rush ability because it depicts him overpowering an interior offensive lineman to reach the QB.
Another play that shows Flowers’s pass rush ability is this one against the Baltimore Ravens. On this play, the Ravens have a bunch set on the right side of the formation, with another WR alone at the bottom. QB Joe Flacco stands in the shotgun, with FB Kyle Juszczyk to his right. The Patriots have 5 men on the line, and their CBs play off the line, giving 6 yards of separation to the receiver. Flacco takes the snap, and 4 players begin running at the QB (LB Kyle Van Noy drops back into coverage). Flacco drops back 10 yards in the pocket, and waits for somebody to break open downfield. C Jeremy Zuttah is unable to contain Flowers, and he blows right by the lineman. Shortly after, DE Chris Long beats LT Ronnie Stanley, forcing Flacco to step up. In doing this, he gets crushed by Flowers, and Long wraps him up from behind, ending the play and forcing a Raven punt. This lay demonstrates Flowers’s pass rush ability because h beats an interior offensive lineman off the snap and takes down the QB for a third down sack.
A third play that illustrates this ability is this one against the Atlanta Falcons. On this play, Ryan is alone in the backfield, as all 5 eligible receivers are split out wide for the third down. Meanwhile, the Patriots have their CBs in press coverage with a 4-man rush (LB Dont’a Hightower comes rushing up the middle). LT Jake Matthews is unable to contain Flowers, and he bends around the big offensive lineman. Matthews makes a last-ditch effort to stop Flowers, but he is no match for the speedy pass-rusher. He wraps Ryan up, and forces him to the ground. Although the QB loses the ball at the end of the game, the play is ruled dead due to Ryan being down. This play showcases Flowers’s pass rush ability because hs able to beat an offensive lineman from the outside and bring down the QB.
Flowers refuses to give up on plays, and this shows in his play. This play against the Buffalo Bills is a good example of this characteristic. On 3rd-and-8, the Bills have a bunch set on the right side, with one receiver split at the top of the screen. QB Tyrod Taylor is the shotgun, with RB Mike Gillislee flanking him to his left. The Patriots have a 4-man rush, and their CBs are pressed against the receivers of Buffalo. Taylor takes the snap, and begins to go through his progressions. RT Jordan Mills gives up a pressure to Dont’a Hightower, forcing Taylor to step up in the pocket. Flowers, matched up against C Eric Wood, is initially stopped. However, he is able to work through the traffic, and as Taylor is flushed to his left, moves towards the fleeing QB. LT Cordy Glenn attempts to knock Flowers down, but is unsuccessful in doing so. He drives Taylor to the ground, ending the play and forcing a punt. This play demonstrates Flowers’s relentless because it shows him sifting through the offensive line to hit the QB on 3rd down.
This play against the Atlanta Falcons is another good example of Flowers’s relentlessness. The Falcons have a loose bunch set on the right side of the formation, while a lone receiver is split at the bottom. QB Matt Ryan is in the shotgun, with RB Tevin Coleman flanking him to the right. Defensively, the Patriots have 4 men on the line with their CBs pressing. Ryan takes the snap, and surveys the field on 3rd down. Immediately, the bunch set breaks into a drag-under-over route combination, allowing Ryan to throw the ball to any level of the field. The rest of the protection breaks down, but LG Andy Levitre is able to hold his block for a moment longer. Flowers is able to overpower Levitre, and meets him teammates to sack Ryan, forcing a punt. This play shows his relentless because he continues working against an interior offensive lineman to take down the QB.
A third play that demonstrates this characteristic of Flowers’s play isthis one against the Seattle Seahawks. On this play, Russell Wilson is in the shotgun with RB C.J. Prosise to his right, TE Jimmy Graham is lined up on the right side of the line, and there are 2 receivers at the top and 1 at the bottom. Meanwhile, for the Patriots, there are 4 men along the line, and the CBs are playing ~4-6 yards off. Wilson drops back to pass, and scans the field. LT George Fant is beaten almost immediately by Flowers, forcing Wilson to buy time. LG Mark Glowinski is also beaten off the snap by Chris Long, but the Seahawks keep RB Christine Michael in to pass protect. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Michael is unable to help protect, and Flowers swings Wilson down to the ground and ends the play. This play demonstrates Flowers’s relentlessness because he attacks the offensive lineman and beats him off the snap.
Flowers is extremely good at wrapping up QBs while sacking them, so as to not allow them to break free. This play against the New Orleans Saints is a good example of this trait. G Cyril Lemon allows Flowers by him, and the pass rusher responds by making a beeline for QB Luke McCown. Flowers arrives at the QB, and jumps up before crashing down to earth. In the process of falling, he wraps up McCown by the legs and brings him down. The QB fumbles the ball, and Flowers has the awareness to scoop the ball up for a TD. This play demonstrates Flowers’s ability to wrap up the QB because he exhibits good tackling form and forces the fumble.
Another play that shows Flowers’s finish on sacks is this one against the Carolina Panthers. He is able to get by RG Trai Turner, and beelines towards QB Cam Newton. Newton attempts to duck under his tackle attempt, but Flowers is one step ahead, and wraps the big QB up for the sack. This play demonstrates Flowers’s pass-rush ability because it shows him taking down a large QB with good form.
A third play that shows Flowers’s tackling form on sacks is this one against the Seattle Seahawks. On this play, the pass rusher is lined up on the inside, against LG Mark Glowinski. By pushing off against LT George Fant, Flowers is able to get inside of Glowinski, and pursues Russell Wilson inside the pocket. Flowers gets to Wilson and wraps him up around the legs. He then slings the diminutive QB to the ground, ending the play. This play demonstrates Flowers’s form because it shows him wrapping a QB up around the legs and taking him down.
|Cameron Meredith||Grady Jarrett|
|Willie Snead||Trey Flowers|
Submitted June 20, 2017 at 09:58AM by sssl3
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