Friday, March 22, 2019

Kicker Chandler Catanzaro Has Nothing but Love for the Jets

Thursday, Mar 21, 2019 09:00 AM
Olivia Landis

After spending the 2017 season with the Jets before journeying the NFC South with the Buccaneers and Panthers in 2018, kicker Chandler Catanzaro is looking forward to being back in the green and white.

“I’m super pumped to be here, super pumped for the opportunity, just walking in the building and having some familiar faces,” Catanzaro said of his new team. “I’ve walked into a couple new buildings the past few years, but this place has always been welcoming. I just love the people here, love the coaches and love my teammates that are here.”

Two years ago, Catanzaro excelled while converting on 83.3% of his field goals and also nailing all his 29 extra-point attempts. He had some notable kicks along the way including his 57-yarder against the Browns, which set a franchise record for longest make, and a 41-yarder at home that lifted the Jets to an overtime win against the Jags. But aside from the records and stats, Catanzaro also is thankful for the opportunity to rejoin many familiar faces in the special teams meeting room.

“Lachlan (Edwards) and Thomas (Hennessy) are two of my boys, so I’m excited about that. I’m just excited to be back,” he said of his holder and long-snapper, respectively. “They do a heck of a job snapping and holding and they did a great job for me two years ago, so I’m excited about the comfortability factor there with them and with (Brant) Boyer and Hammer (special teams assistant Jeff Hammerschmidt). I’m excited about every part of it, I really am.”

The 6’3” 200-pound kicker isn’t the only one excited that he’s returning. Edwards, who attended Catanzaro’s wedding with Hennessy last March, took to social media to express his enthusiasm after his friend’s re-signing.
Catanzaro is set to join a special teams unit that ranked No. 1 in 2018, according to Rick Gosselin. After Boyer took over in 2016, the Jets climbed the ranks all the way from nearly dead last (ranked 31st in 2015) to first overall in just a three-year span.

“I think it’s kind of cliché, but he’s definitely a player’s coach. He’s been there, he played for 10-plus years in the league, so he knows what he’s talking about and he’s been through it all,” said Catanzaro. “He’s been through the whole process. He has some great stories and he’s a character for sure. He’s turned into a good friend of mine, so we’re excited about working together again this year.”

Although he wasn’t seen last season, The Cat Man is back and ready to bleed green again.

“When the Jets called, I took the opportunity immediately,” he said. “I didn’t expect it to be there. I’m very thankful and hopefully be a Jet for years to come.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Brian Baldinger explains what makes Trey Flowers great

By MAX DEMARA  23 hours ago (March 19, 2019)

Trey Flowers is coming to the Detroit Lions after some sterling work with the New England Patriots, and the fact that Flowers has played within the same system and had success could mean great things for his tenure in Detroit. Flowers won't have to worry about transitioning to a new scheme, and that could be huge as it relates to getting the best play the team can out of Flowers.
Recently, NFL analyst Brian Baldinger showed off some clips of Flowers at work with the Patriots, and clearly, his skills he showed off in New England will be a great fit for Detroit, too.
"He can line up anywhere in your defense, anywhere," Baldinger says in the Twitter clip while showing off what Flowers can do. "He plays with great pad level and knows how to get off the blocks. He's not big, he's 6-2, but he's got long arms. In the run game, he can play inside, he can play outside. That's what Patricia loves."
The scheme fit is very key for Flowers in Detroit, and it's something he will know well given Patricia's influence on the defense.
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.
Flowers was added this week on a massive five year contract, and is already feeling at home in Detroit.
"It's a pretty nice city from what I've heard," Flowers says in a video to 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."
Specifically, it's clear that Flowers has a ton of respect for Matt 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, which is part of why he signed.
"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."
Flowers makes a ton of sense for Detroit as a scheme fit and could take some of the pressure off of the Lions drafting a player in round one at the position no matter where they pick. He also has age and time on his side, and will be a quick study to plug into the Detroit defense.
Obviously, the Lions have some major building to do along their defensive line in the coming seasons in the draft and free agency, and one could expect them to target those spots most in the coming year when it comes to upgrades. But even without those future players and their arrivals, the Lions have been pretty good already, especially against running quarterbacks, which should be downright scary for the opposition. As the Lions have figured out how to stop the run consistently, the whole group has gotten better.
Adding Flowers could be an ideal fit considering what he can do well.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

To understand Trey Flowers' path to Detroit Lions, start with his heart

Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press

Published 6:00 a.m. ET March 17, 2019 | Updated 9:28 a.m. ET March 17, 2019

Trey Flowers was in the eighth grade when a doctor told him he’d never play football again.
Flowers was a do-everything star in junior high at the time, so much bigger and stronger than everyone else that as a youth he had to borrow a helmet from nearby Alabama A&M because it was the only one big enough to fit his head. 
He played defensive line and as a fullback, and when one opponent was having an especially tough time bringing him down, players from the team started diving at his legs.
Flowers injured his knee on one such tackle, and when his father took him to the doctor the next day, the two were left alone in a room to digest the bad news.
“When the doctor walked out of the room I asked Trey, I said, ‘Well, what do you think?’ ” Robert Flowers, Trey’s father, recalled in a phone interview with the Free Press on Friday. “He said, ‘I’m gonna play football.’ So it turned out, he missed two games his eighth grade year and played the last two games.”

Jan 20, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers (98) celebrates after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports (Photo: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)

Robert doesn’t recall the exact nature of the injury, only that doctors said they didn’t want to do surgery at the time because a procedure might impact Trey’s growth plates.
The next year, Flowers was starting as a freshman on his high school varsity team, and a few years later, Robert and Trey ran into the same doctor while out about town.
“I told him, I said, ‘Well, this guy, you told him he’ll never play football again,’ and he had won all-state then,” Robert Flowers said. “And the doctor said, ‘Did I do an MRI?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Did I do an X-ray?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘But you can’t measure his heart.’ ”
For Flowers, a player who has gone from lightly recruited prep star to fourth-round NFL draft pick and now one of the best defensive ends in football and the new anchor of the Detroit Lions’ high-priced defensive line, heart is the only appropriate way to explain his rise.
Yes, Flowers was blessed with ungodly athletic ability. His father played football at Alabama A&M, one of his six brothers, Rod, played basketball at Cincinnati under Bob Huggins and later had an NFL tryout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and another brother, Jamal, played football at Middle Tennessee State.
But Trey has always had a focus and drive that others have lacked.
“He is a super, super human being, and what you see is what you get,” said Jeff Cooper, Flowers’ prep basketball coach at Columbia (Ala.) High. “I mean, when he was in high school, a lot of other kids were doing what kids do for the most part. He was doing homework, studying and working out. Like every day.
“With basketball, it was something he did basically to stay in shape and to help our program out. He would show up when football was over, not in any kind of basketball shape, and step on the court and be a difference maker. He was one of the key components that helped us get to the final four his junior year. He was a post player. He could have been a college basketball player if he had wanted to and he had put that kind of time in. But he had this vision and this goal to be where he is, and people back then probably would have thought, ‘OK, there’s no way this guy’s ever going to make it to the NFL,’ because the football program at Columbia, in my eight years as the basketball coach, we had 10 head coaches. And he is the only positive thing that really came out of that.”

7 Photos

Constructing a star

Robert Flowers said Trey told him as a 7-year-old that he wanted to be a professional football player.
It was around the same time that Trey, who started doing 100 push-ups a day as a 5-year-old, began working for his father’s business, Flowers Construction Company.
Initially, Trey was just an extra hand who’d help keep nails straight while Robert was doing roofing work or fetch the tools his dad needed to finish a job.
By the time he was 9, Flowers was doing the same work as men three times his age.
“(He) never complained. Never,” Robert Flowers said. “When he was 11 years old, he was worth $25 an hour. A man, he was worth that kind of pay. That’s what kind of work he was doing. But I’d pay him $7 or something and he never complained.”
Trey worked long hours in the summer, sometimes going from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m., and while Robert’s other children helped out on job sites, too, there was something different about Trey.
“He would gravitate towards learning and the rest of the them would do what I say, but he would do what needs to be done,” Robert said. “If we’re putting roofing on, if he saw me cut around a pipe, to keep it from leaking — you know how you cut around a pipe, a stick pipe — he’d cut around a pipe and do that, too. But the other kids, they would run up to the pipe and they’d say, ‘Dad, you come do it.’ ”
Flowers stood apart for his work ethic in high school, too, and his appetite to learn has translated into a unique coachability as a pro.
Cooper said Flowers often came to the weight room or football practice field on his own and went through workouts by himself or with a trainer. As a junior and senior, he was one of only two players who’d show up for regular 6 a.m. before-school workouts with his head coach, Corey Collier. The other player, Collier said, was his own son.
“He was no nonsense,” Cooper said. “He wasn’t going to be one of the kids that was hanging out in the streets at 2 or 3 in the morning or staying up all night playing video games. He was going to be the one that got up early in the morning and was running and working out, doing that kind of stuff.”

'His work ethic is amazing'

A two-time all-state selection in high school, Flowers was shunned by in-state schools like Alabama and Auburn in the recruiting process because of his size. He initially committed to Georgia Tech over offers from UAB, South Alabama and Arkansas State, but changed allegiances to Arkansas once his only offer from an SEC school came in.
The last member of Arkansas’ recruiting class to receive an offer, Flowers was one of the first to see the field. He played in all 13 games as a true freshman, started the next three years at defensive end — he underwent minor surgery on the knee he injured back in junior high as a junior — and went on to become a fourth-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2015.
In New England, Flowers missed most of his rookie season with a shoulder injury and reportedly had a second shoulder surgery this offseason, but was a key member of the last three AFC championship teams. He racked up 21 sacks and won two Super Bowls while playing all over the field, and earned the nickname “Technique” because, his father said, “once the position coach (would) teach him the technique, that’s what he does.”
“I think Trey Flowers is unbelievable,” Lions coach Matt Patricia, the Patriots’ defensive coordinator during Flowers’ first three seasons, said at the Super Bowl last year. “His work ethic is amazing and the way that he approaches each week and the opponent for that week, we ask him to do quite a lot and really have to handle a lot of responsibility. His approach that he attacks everything, it’s pretty unbelievable.”
The Lions were one of more than a half-dozen teams to show interest in Flowers as a free agent and ultimately lured him to town with a five-year, $90 million contract — the biggest deal they’ve ever given anyone in free agency — that folks back home in Huntsville say couldn’t have gone to a more deserving person.

Robert and Jaqueline Flowers look on as their son, Trey Flowers, the newly signed defensive end for the Detroit Lions, speaks to the media Thursday, March 14, 2019 at the practice facility in Allen Park. (Photo: Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press)

Flowers, who'll start this fall at right defensive end, brought his parents to his introductory news conference Thursday, and when asked what he’ll do with his newfound wealth said he doesn’t have any plans except maybe "take care of my folks, my mom, dad, whatever, and just put it away and keep playing football.”
To those who know Flowers well, that sounds about right.
He's always been someone who's worked hard and been intrinsically motivated. Two weeks ago, Flowers was inducted into the inaugural class of his high school’s athletics Hall of Fame. He wore his Super Bowl ring and took pictures with everyone who asked, but otherwise was the same humble, big-hearted person Cooper said everyone came to know before he hit it big.
“He was a five-star kid in the making, but nobody knew it,” Cooper said. “And everything that he’s gotten, he’s worked for it and he deserves every bit of it. He’s a first-class guy and y’all are getting somebody that’s not going to take days off and they’re going to have a motor and he’s always going to play hard.”
Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more on the Detroit Lions and sign up for our Lions newsletter.

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