Thursday, June 08, 2017

Patriots’ Trey Flowers continues to work, and work, and work, at his craft

By Jim McBride
JUNE 7, 2017

FOXBOROUGH — Long after his teammates had run the hills and retreated down the back steps toward the locker room, Trey Flowers was still punching the clock Wednesday afternoon.

Or, more specifically, punching the blocking dummies that were set up between the practice fields at Gillette Stadium on Day 2 of minicamp for the Patriots. As a welcoming sun beat down, Flowers shuffled his way between the bags, swatting them away as he perfected his footwork and handwork.

“Just working on my craft, trying to stay sharp,’’ said Flowers, the third-year defensive end. “Working on some techniques I’m going to need.’’

Although contact is not allowed at minicamp, Flowers, who thrives on contact, said there are plenty of things he can work on.

“Right now, we don’t have pads on, so a lot of it is hand blocks,’’ said Flowers. “You can’t power or push the tackles around, so you just use your hand blocks and work on your techniques [and] try to work on [your] speed around the edge.’’

Flowers is fresh off a breakout season in which he collected seven sacks, causing havoc on the inside and off the edge. He capped his year by recording 2½ sacks in the Super Bowl LI win over the Falcons.

The 6-foot-2-inch, 265-pounder said he enjoys putting in the extra work now, because he knows it pays dividends down the road.

“Oh yeah, definitely. Just trying to perfect my craft each and every day,’’ said Flowers. “I watch film and if I see something I need to work on or if I think the offensive line has picked up on some of my tendencies, I can kind of change them up or have a counter off of it and just try to get better.’’

Working on countermoves is essential, according to Flowers. Not only are his teammates studying up on how to neutralize him in practice, but opponents, particularly those in the AFC East that see him twice a season, are watching film on him and learning his technique nuances. Staying one step ahead is a key to success.

Flowers said being the last player off the field has nothing to do with trying to impress anyone. It’s all about getting better.

“You can never be satisfied,’’ he said. “That’s one of the things I take pride in. I count myself as a humble guy, not get too high on myself. I’m just a hard worker.’’

Flowers, one of the team’s veterans along the line with the free agent departures of Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard, said he expects teams to focus on him now. He won’t be sneaking up on anyone this season.

“That’s just part of football,’’ he said. “Anytime you have success, guys are going to continue to key in on you to try to manipulate you or double team you or things like that. I know we got a lot of great guys along our front, so [opponents] can’t key on too many of us. The defense is set up so that we’re put in a position to be successful, so you expect things like that, and that’s why you’ve got to continue to work.’’

For Flowers, motivation comes easily.

“I just want to be the best. That’s what motivates me the most — wanting to just be the best person I can be, the best player I can be.’’

He said he feels no outside pressure to perform better than he did last season because he maintains a constant inner drive.

“Expectations are always high for myself,’’ Flowers said. “I’m a firm believer that no one should have higher expectations for you than yourself because I’m my own worst critic.’'

Flowers was asked about Tom Brady’s reputation for always being one of the last guys to leave the practice field (as was the case Wednesday) and how his teammates often follow the Super Bowl MVP’s queues.

“Oh yeah. It’s just showing what hard work equals and how to be successful – ‘I worked hard, I put in the time, I put in the extra work,’ ’’ said Flowers. “He’s a great example to us. He’s definitely a product of hard work . . . You see him out here every day working hard. You think about it, he’s out here every day for the last 18 years.’’

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