Patriots: Trey Flowers a beast in quiet mode

Patriots: Trey Flowers a beast in quiet mode
Patriots Notes: Mike Vrabels Rapid Coaching Rise No Surprise To Ex-Teammate
FOXBORO — There are 85 players in the NFL that have more sacks than Trey Flowers. There are 59 players in the league that have more quarterback hits.

The truth is Flowers has been one of the most important players on the Patriots this season. The 25-year-old is playing at Pro Bowl-level this year. He’s irreplaceable on the defensive line. The impact Flowers has can’t be measured by these numbers alone — 2½ sacks and seven quarterback hits.

His coaches and teammates understand that. If opposing linemen don’t, they usually find out on game day.

“I’m not worried about the sack numbers,” Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly said. “Those numbers will come. The objective is to win a football game. It’s not to come out with sack numbers. If you turn on the tape and you watch the guy play, production in terms of helping you win football games, it’s at a very high level. Run, pass, batting balls down, hitting the quarterback, pressuring the quarterback, not letting the quarterback scramble — whatever the case may be.

“What Trey Flowers is going to do is exactly what you want him to do, and he’s going to do it to the best of his ability. And usually, that’s pretty damn good.”

Flowers is fine with not being in the limelight. He’s soft-spoken and quiet — even when his teammates egg him on.

Throughout his time in Foxboro, the defensive lineman has been given several nicknames that describe him and his play — “Quiet Storm” and “Technique.” He was originally given the nickname “Technique” by Chris Long and Rob Ninkovich in 2016 due to his flawless style of play. This year, the “Quiet Storm” nickname became known from defensive play caller Brian Flores.

“I think you’d be hard-pressed to find somebody who works harder than Trey,” Flores said. “On the field, in the weight room, in the training room, really across the board, this guy works incredibly hard. We call him the Quiet Storm. You don’t hear much from him, but he’s been a warrior for us and he’s played lights-out for us, really, since he’s gotten here. Everyone in the building respects him. He leads by example.”

“They’re cool,” Flowers said. “A lot of people, some of the guys, as far as the teammates, they try to get me to talk or say a little something. I think it just says the type of person I am. Just come in, work hard, don’t really say much. Do the best I can at the technique and go out there and do the best I can to perform.”

Flowers was dominant last weekend against the Green Bay Packers. He finished with just one quarterback hit and a half sack, but there was more to his performance.

Flowers was chasing down Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers all night. Not only was he getting in the backfield, but he did so while starting on the inside at defensive tackle. While standing just 6-foot-2 and weighing 265 pounds, Flowers is undersized for the interior, but his length and strength make him a nightmare for an opposing guard or center.

Flowers breakout season, in 2016, where he led the Patriots with seven sacks, came with him playing in the interior. Last year, he was moved to defensive end more and finished with 6½ sacks. This season, Flowers has been outstanding even if the statistics dont show it.

This season, Pro Football Focus has him graded as the top edge defender in the NFL just ahead of Brandon Graham, J.J. Watt and Dee Ford.

“He’s done a really good job for us,” Daly said. “Trey does a lot of different things well. I would say a lot of it you don’t see in terms of statistical production… He’s able to play multiple roles. He’s able to get the guys around him aligned, calmed down — he settles things. He really does, in a lot of different ways. He’s been really good for us.”

Added Flowers: “I’m just going to keep rushing and let the numbers take care of themselves.”

With the Patriots facing the Titans (who are coached by former Patriot Mike Vrabel) on Sunday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick had plenty of good things to say about Vrabel during a midweek press conference. Ultimately, Belichick lumped Vrabel, current Patriots defensive back Patrick Chung, and former Patriots defensive back Rodney Harrison into one very special category.

You know, when youre working with somebody every day, you get to see them a little bit differently, Belichick said. But, with players like Pat, Mike, Rodney, they just never want to come off the field. So if theyre out there on defense, theyre out there for every play, and then when the scout teams out there, they want to go out there and take scout team plays, too, and jump in there on special teams and be on the scout team, kickoff team, or punt team or whatever it is. I mean, they just like to go out there and play football.

Theyre, all three of those players, in great condition, like never got tired. At least, they didnt seem like they ever got tired. You know, go run 50 yards and cover a guy and theyre not tapping out, looking for somebody to come in for them. They run back to the huddle and theyre ready to go on the next play, whatever it is. So, thats the way Mike was. He loved to play on the scout team defense. Hed be their best pass rusher, hed play middle linebacker, hed play free safety, strong safety, [Troy] Polamalu, Ed Reed, [Dwight] Freeney. Whoever we were playing, he would love to be those guys against our offense and then hed take all the snaps on defense. So, all those guys are kind of like that. They bring a lot of good, positive energy to the team by just what they do and how they do it. So, I mean, you cant put a price on guys like that. Theyre great.

Vrabel and Belichick remain close, and this will be their first meeting with both as head coaches. Vrabel, who has a much different interpersonal style than Belichick, has plenty of similar qualities to Belichick when it comes to coaching, and Vrabel could be on his way to becoming one of the better coaches in the game, especially once he has more than a few players like himself, Chung, and Harrison on the roster.

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