The 2020 season didn't go how defensive end Trey Flowers or the Detroit Lions would have hoped.
Detroit won just five games, the organization relieved general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia of their duties midseason, Detroit's defense set franchise records for most points and yards allowed, and Flowers dealt with an injury and played in just seven contests.
Flowers confirmed this week that the injury that landed him on IR two months ago was a hairline fracture in his forearm suffered Nov. 1 against Indianapolis. The injury didn't require surgery, and Flowers had hoped to return late in the season, but the healing process didn't allow for that.
"I'm still healing, and I knew that when I had the injury that I was gonna still be in the healing process late in the season," Flowers said. "But if it was an opportunity where I could play without pain, we would have had a different conversation. But since I wasn't able to do that, they just thought it was best for me not to play."
Flowers, in his second season with the Lions after signing as a free agent in 2019, recorded 22 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in those seven games played.
"Motivation, obviously, come back next year better, stronger, faster, healthier and be able to finish the season so I can to be able to help my team out," Flowers said of his attitude heading into the offseason.
It's expected that Detroit's defense will look much different in 2021 after the season that unit had. The hiring of a new general manager and head coach will have an impact as they'll bring new schemes and personnel preferences to the table.
"The thing about it is, it's easy to talk about it, and now it's not really much (more) talking we can do," Flowers said. "We have to show this city, we have to show the organization, us as players have to show up. We can say, 'Ah, we was this close, we was that close, we could have been,' but at this point — and I know a lot of people in this whole city and this whole state of Michigan is tired of just hearing people talk and people predicting and expecting, and all throughout the offseason. Now we just got to show. And so that's I think that's my mindset. We got to prove it. We got to make it happen."
One big decision the new regime will be faced with on defense is the pending free agency of defensive end Romeo Okwara, who was Detroit's most consistent performer on defense this year. Okwara finished the year with double-digit sacks (10.0) and led the team in quarterback hits (18), tackles for loss (11) and forced fumbles (3).
Flowers is hopeful he and Okwara will get a chance to work together again for a whole season next year.
"I definitely feel as though both of us being out there, being able to, you know, do what we do obviously, that has me excited," Flowers said. "Like I said, that was a lot of talking I did. Now we got to do. I know he's going to work hard, he's going to be focused, I'm going to work hard and be focused. We got to do it and that's why we have to put the work in."