When the New England Patriots released veteran linebacker Marquis Flowers Saturday as part of their final roster cuts, catching on with Detroit always seemed like a possibility for Flowers.
Monday, that became a reality.
And before Flowers was able to sit down with linebackers coach Al Golden, he was taking part in Monday's practice, even getting reps. It was Flowers' familiarity with head coach Matt Patricia from their time together last year in New England, and his familiarity with the scheme Patricia brought over to Detroit, that allowed him to jump right in.
Flowers had 32 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 16 games (two starts) for the Patriots last season after New England acquired him in a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Obviously, I still have a lot of work to do," Flowers said after his second practice with the Lions on Wednesday. "I'm just trying to earn the trust of my new teammates and the trust of the coaches to be able to put me out there. I'm a little familiar with obviously coach Patricia."
The Lions are hoping Flowers' knowledge of the defense and his versatility on the edge can help their defense. He fits the mold of the bigger linebacker (6-3, 245) the Lions have tried to add to their defense this offseason with the signings of Devon Kennard, Christian Jones, Eli Harold and now Flowers.
"He's a guy that has some experience playing the linebacker position," defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni said this week when asked about Flowers. "And he's familiar with the system, so it's not totally completely brand new to him type of thing.
"He's got to learn probably some new terminology and has to learn us and get to know us. But everything is not completely brand new so he brings a guy that has got some experience which is always good."
Will that familiarity with the scheme allow Flowers to strap it up Monday and play against the Jets?
"Whatever it is. Whatever they need me to do," Flowers said emphatically. "I'm going to work my butt off this whole week to get it done."
We've talked a lot this offseason about all the moving parts on defense and that side of the ball being multiple in a lot of different ways.
Could the Lions use the same kind of matchup strategy on offense with their offensive line?
"We're constantly looking for the best fit with our guys that are available to play on a week-to-week basis," offensive line coach Jeff Davidson said this week. "If we feel like moving guys around to different positions is going to help us win, we'll do it."
Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow, T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner are the starting five from left to right, but there is some position flexibility in that group, especially along the interior.
"You'd love to settle in and say, 'Hey, this guy is the left guard, this guy is the center, this guy's the right guard and all that stuff,' but at the end of the day, you're looking for your best five pieces that you have available for the game," Davidson said.
"Those guys have to know that we're going to ask them to do things that we think helps us win, so it may change week to week. It gives you the possibility."
For the most part, Davidson and the Lions would like to build a level of consistency upfront, but Davidson said matchups will be part of the conversation each and every week when the coaches sit down to game plan.
"Call it leaving no stone unturned," he said.
In those conversations, if the coaches feel like moving players to different spots gives them a chance at success, Davidson said they'll "definitely" do it.
"I will say this, it's not something I'm going into a game plan and saying, 'I'm going to move guys around every week,'" he said. "But if we think that's going to help us win, then we will."
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Patricia, when asked Wednesday about finally getting to be a NFL head coach in a regular season contest:
"I'm sure, like I said a long time ago, my 12-year-old self is probably freaking out somewhere. But I have to just try to do a good job here of focusing on what I have to do today."
All is well in Allen Park from a health standpoint as the Lions continued their on-field preparations Wednesday for Monday night's season opener vs. the New York Jets at Ford Field. All 53 players on the active roster – and the 10 on the practice squad – took part in Wednesday's practice period open to the media.
The Lions will release their first official practice report of the week on Thursday, but so far it looks good health-wise for the Lions.