Money talks in free agency, and the Lions gave Trey Flowers a lot of it to come play on the edge of their defensive line, but it was also a familiarity with head coach Matt Patricia and his defensive schemes that drew the talented Flowers to sign with Detroit.
“When I came to New England he was there and he kind of taught me a lot of things and I developed in his system,” Flowers said at his introductory press conference Thursday. “He’s just a great guy to work for.
“Obviously, he demands a high standard of excellence from his players, and when you get someone that can challenge you like that day in and day out for you to get better, that’s the type of guy you want to play for.”
The Lions needed to add a pass rusher this offseason, and Flowers was arguably the top one on the free-agent market.
Flowers played three seasons under Patricia when he was the defensive coordinator in New England from 2015-17, and Flowers comes to Detroit very familiar with Patricia’s schemes and coaching style.
Flowers can best be described as a disrupter on the edge with 21.0 sacks over the last three seasons including 7.5 last year. His 64 quarterback pressures (combined sacks, QB hits and QB hurries) last season were the same as Von Miller and Melvin Ingram, one more than DeMarcus Lawrence and five more than Jadeveon Clowney.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn said after the season that he needed to add playmakers on both sides of the football. He’s got one in Flowers, who was graded the eighth best defensive end in the NFL by Pro Football Focus last season. Flowers can move up and down the defensive line, and is also a very strong run defender, one of the prerequisites for playing in Patricia's defense.
“Wherever I am on the field, I want to be productive,” Flowers said. “If it’s a foreign position to me, I’m going to work hard at it and work after practice and put in the time and energy and effort to get great at it. I just think the attention to detail I do with all the fundamentals and techniques (allows me to be successful).”
Flowers loves film study and the grind, and that makes him a terrific fit in the defensive line room. He joins a Lions' defense that finished the 2018 season ranked 10th overall, eighth against the pass and 10th against the run. They were 11th with 43 sacks.
On paper, with the addition of Flowers, the Lions look to be extremely talented upfront with Damon Harrison Sr., A’Shawn Robinson, Da’Shawn Hand, Romeo Okwara and Devon Kennard all being productive players with a wide array of skill sets.
“I just want to come in and be able to do my part as far as production,” Flowers said. “As far as disrupts and things like that. I just want to do my part in making this team better.”