It was tough for defensive end Trey Flowers during last year's offseason and at the start of training camp to sit back and watch teammates lift, work out and practice, while he rehabbed a shoulder injury.
Flowers didn't return to the field until mid-August, and he got off to a bit of a slow start the first month of the season or so working himself back into shape. After gaining back the muscle and function in his shoulder, Flowers got back to being himself again.
He led the Lions in sacks, quarterback hits and total pressures (35), which ranked in the top 16 in the league last season. He had 51 tackles, 7.0 sacks, eight tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in 15 games.
It's another unusual offseason for Flowers as the COVID-19 pandemic has kept him and his teammates away from the practice facility with no OTA practices or minicamp.
Flowers is currently at home in Huntsville, Alabama working out and staying football ready. He said in a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday he has access to a gym and works the sleds at home. From a physical standpoint, Flowers expects things to be much different this year at the start of training camp, hoping to hit the ground running from where he left off last season.
"Not having to deal with a situation or injury thing has allowed me to go out there and work and work on my craft and perfect my craft, so I'm looking forward to it," he said.
"I'm looking forward to the grind. I'm looking forward to going out there and being precise and getting my detail and fundamentals down. Yeah, I'm looking forward to that opportunity."
As a unit, Detroit's defense ranked last or towards the bottom of the league in a number of major statistical categories in 2019. It was retooled this offseason, and things will look a lot different around Flowers, starting upfront with new defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Nick Williams.
"You can tell with Nick and Danny, obviously vets in the league that have been very successful, to have that addition in the room, it allows the young guys coming up, and even me, to gain some knowledge from them," Flowers said.
"I'm excited to add those guys to the room to learn from them and I can see they like working hard and I feel like we can make something happen this year."
Flowers also pointed to the additions of others players on defense, particularly linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. and safety Duron Harmon, as important additions, especially during this new reality of working virtually and being away from the coaching staff and practice field.
Collins and Duron played under Lions head coach Matt Patricia before, so they know the standard he's trying to create and are familiar with his schemes.
"Obviously, you're adding guys that have been successful on successful teams, so they understand what it takes," Flowers said. "They know how the defense should be ran. I think just adding pieces like that and adding veteran guys that understand the scheme and understand the standard (is good)."
Healthy, focused and ready to get back to Allen Park – whenever that's allowed – Flowers is ready to start the grind and help get this defense playing better football in 2020.