Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Patriots’ Trey Flowers shows leadership at early time in his career

Credit: Matt West

By Ross Gienieczko
August 27, 2018

Fourth-year defensive end Trey Flowers is already something of an elder statesman on the defensive line for the Patriots.

Despite just turning 25 earlier in training camp, Flowers’ three seasons with the Patriots ties him for the longest tenure of any defensive lineman, along with Malcom Brown and Geneo Grissom. Adrian Clayborn and Lawrence Guy are entering their eighth seasons in the NFL, but just their first and second seasons with the team, respectively.

As a result, Flowers is already playing the role of knowledgeable veteran with just those three years of experience under his belt, and he has the resume to back up that status. Flowers led the Pats in sacks each of the past two seasons and is already part of storied postseason history after his 2.5 sacks helped fuel the Super Bowl comeback victory against Atlanta.

As second-year players like Deatrich Wise Jr. and Derek Rivers attempt to develop into major contributors on defense, Flowers’ path is the one they’ll try to follow. Wise showed impressive flashes last year, finishing third on the team with five sacks. Rivers missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL and is still awaiting his first real NFL action.

After practice yesterday, Flowers talked about what it’s been like working with the young defensive ends.

“I don’t view myself as a mentor, but if they’ve got something to ask me as far as a technique or a way to play something, I’ll be there for them and I’ll let them know,” Flowers said. “Or if there’s anything I see, as far as on film, I see their footwork, I give them little pointers to kind of help them out, things like that.”

However, Flowers was quick to add that he’s still picking up the nuances of pro football himself.

“I don’t know if it’s a mentor thing, because I’m learning myself. I’ve got a lot to learn,” he said. “It’s just one of those deals that if I know something, or if I can help them out, I will, but I’m still learning as well.”

Only a few years removed from picking up pointers from veterans, Flowers is now one of the defensive leaders handing them out.

“You had a few guys when I came in. (Rob) Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, a lot of older guys, (Dont’a) Hightower, people like that just able to help you out, give you fundamental techniques and things like that,” Flowers said. “There were a lot of guys that helped. I just kind of observed and asked questions if need be.”

Coach Bill Belichick noted Flowers’ contributions early in the preseason.

“Yeah, Trey’s great,” he said. “He does an outstanding job with his teammates at that position.

“He hasn’t had a lot of practice time this year but when he does, and the opportunities he has in meetings and things like that, he’s a great example for them. If they just watch what he does and do what he does, you couldn’t do much better than that.”

After dealing with injuries earlier in camp and sitting out all three preseason games so far, Flowers was back in a more active role at practice yesterday. He wasn’t spotted heading down to the lower field for extra strength and conditioning work, an encouraging sign of his availability as the start of the regular season approaches.

As for playing in the final year of his rookie contract, Flowers didn’t sound concerned. He’s due for a raise from the four-year, $2.8 million deal he signed after he was drafted in the fourth round, but said there’s no news on that front.

“I’ve been working,” said Flowers. “I’ve been out practicing and working on my craft. That’s the only progress.”

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