Humbled and hungry.
That's how defensive end Trey Flowers described his first season with the Detroit Lions.
Detroit's top free agent signing this past offseason wasn't used to losing before signing with the Lions. In fact, before signing last March, Flowers spent his first four seasons with the New England Patriots and lost just 14 games over that span. The Lions were 3-12-1 in Flowers' first season in Detroit.
"Didn't do enough to win," Flowers said of his first season with the Lions.
Flowers missed the offseason training program and all of training camp rehabbing a shoulder injury he suffered last season while in New England. It led to a little bit of a slow start the first month of this season, but once Flowers got healthy, his play was more on track with what the Lions expected of Flowers when they made him a priority free-agent signing. He finished the season with 52 tackles, 7.0 sacks and two forced fumbles.
It's a finish Flowers hopes to build on and come back even better in 2020 with the expectation of having an entire offseason and training camp to pick up right where he left off this season.
"Just heading to the offseason obviously trying to get better all-around as a player and get more prepared for the long season and a lot of snaps," he said. "Just understanding different offenses and how they try to attack me individually and then just the defense as a whole."
Flowers said there's an attention to detail that needs to be a greater priority with every member of the Lions' defense moving forward. Detroit's defense finished 31st overall, 26th in points allowed, 32nd against the pass and 21st against the run.
"We made plays here and there and flashed, would get third-down stops and things like that throughout the game, but ultimately didn't put ourselves in position to win," Flowers said. "So, I think just throughout the game, focus, that intensity that we got to have."
Flowers tied for the team lead (linebacker Devon Kennard) with seven sacks, he had the most quarterback hits (14) and most quarterback hurries by a wide margin (41 vs. 27 for Kennard).
"I think Trey Flowers played exceptionally well," Lions GM Bob Quinn said Monday. "I think Trey the first couple of weeks of the season was still kind of battling through the shoulder thing. But once he turned it on, I think he played really well for us in all aspects – run defense, pass defense, quarterback hits, hurries, sacks."
Flowers said the positives he takes from a disappointing 2019 season are the fight the Lions showed in a lot of contests and the fact that they lost a lot of close games they led in.
The goal this offseason is finding a way to turn close but no cigar into victory.
"A lot of teams or whatever would have wanted to throw in the towel in a situation where you're not in the playoffs," Flowers said. "We fought for a purpose. We knew we sacrificed a lot for this game. Put a lot into this season.
"It's a tough league to win in. It's a small margin between this record and the opposite record. We just have to figure out ways to finish. We have to figure out ways to turn the level of focus and level of intensity."