It’s a new team with new surroundings from what Trey Flowers was accustomed to in his first four years in the NFL, but there’s enough familiarity for him to feel comfortable in the new phase of his career with the Detroit Lions.
For Flowers, who was signed by the Lions as a priority free agent to play a key role at defensive end, the comfort level in his transition from the New England Patriots starts at the top with general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia.
Patricia was the Patriots defensive coordinator in Flowers’ first three seasons before being hired by the Lions last season. Quinn spent nearly two decades in the Patriots’ personnel department before being hired by the Lions in 2016.
There are other familiar faces from New England in the locker room such as safety Tavon Wilson and wide receiver Danny Amendola, signed earlier this year as a free agent.
“I’ve definitely got some relationships with a few people in the building,” Flowers said Thursday. “As far as my comfort level, they know who I am, how I interact – what I’m comfortable with.
“I'm trying to learn a new team, trying to build relationships with these guys, new chemistry -- things like that.”
Two things that Flowers has been known for are his work ethic, and that he’s a quiet man who prefers to let his actions do the talking for him.
His production speaks for itself. After playing only one game as a rookie in 2015, he’s been a steady, reliable player who stepped up in the postseason. In the last three regular seasons he had 21 sacks, 25 tackles for loss and 59 quarterback hits.
In 2018 he led all Patriots linemen by playing 732 snaps. In 2017 he played 80, the most of any linebacker or lineman.
Guard Frank Ragnow, the Lions’ first-round draft pick last year, spoke highly of Flowers’ work ethic from their days together at Arkansas.
“Awesome,” Ragnow said. “I can’t speak highly enough about him. That guy ... he puts his head down. He works. He’s a dog.”
Flowers was told Thursday during his media session what Ragnow said.
“It’s a great compliment, coming from him,” Flowers said. “That’s a great guy, a hard worker. He came a long way. We’re expecting great things from him. I’m sure he’s expecting them from himself.”
The Lions are in Phase 2 of the offseason workouts. Under NFL rules, coaches are allowed to be on the field with players for the three weeks of Phase 2. Phase 1 was two weeks of conditioning only, without coaches.
As mundane as these workouts may seem – especially for a player like Flowers who played in the last three Super Bowls and won two championships – they’re important in building a foundation for the season.
“You get a lot out of it, as far as working together, working with coaches,” he said. “You put in some base, fundamentals, alignment – things like that. It’s a good start, very important. We’re getting a lot of good work out of it.”
It’s also a time to build personal relationships with new teammates.
“I’m trying to learn a new team – trying to build new relationships with these guys,” he said. “New chemistry. Things like that. It’s always a process.”
One change Flowers acknowledged he might have to make is to be a little more talkative.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge,” he said. “I may have to step outside my comfort level a little bit, just to get to know guys and have guys know me.
“It is what it is. I’d rather be quiet, or whatever. I don’t mind talking.”