2nd Year Player has a big night against the Saints
The Patriots finished up their second week of training camp on Thursday night with a 34-22 preseason win over the New Orleans Saints. The two teams had conducted two joint practices prior to the game in Gillette. One of the players who stood out was 2nd-year Defensive End Trey Flowers. He’s quickly rising up the ranks for securing a roster spot on the 2016 team.
A year ago, Flowers had a strong training camp that saw him make the initial 53-man roster. But injuries cut short his season a year ago and now the talented DE from Arkansas is making another run at the roster and increased playing time.
During the early days of camp and the lack of true hitting, Flowers did little to stand out. But with the two team scrimmages last week, followed by some strong work against the Saints in joint practices, Flowers is kicking his game into high gear. Flowers isn’t the tallest guy at 6’2, 265, but plays with good leverage and shows a tremendous amount of power.
Because of the plethora of talented edge rushers, the Patriots have, they’ve been putting some of the bigger, more physical players inside during obvious passing downs in kind of a “NASCAR” package. Flowers came in during the second half on Thursday and was very impressive. He blew thru a gap and nearly sacked QB Luke McCown and then later in what was the play of the game, he again blasted thru the center of the line, sacked McCown, stripping the ball in the process. Showing some quick athleticism, he was able to jump up, scoop up the football and raced for a touchdown.
— Shawn (@sportsgurufsr) August 12, 2016
His effort and hard work resonated with Bill Belichick.
Trey’s had a good spring and a good camp so far. We didn’t really get to see a whole lot of him last year. He fought through an injury and really couldn’t be as effective as what he wanted to be.”
“He’s done a good job for us when he’s had an opportunity to play,” Belichick said. “He played some in the kicking game. He’s obviously got a lot of things he has to work on, too. But he’s shown up pretty much daily in one way or another with some positive plays. He’s a hard working kid so hopefully, it will continue to get better.”
With Flowers coming on to play better each day the Patriots are perhaps the deepest they’ve been in the Belichick era with edge rushers. And that is with Rob Ninkovich being out for the next few weeks.
Jabaal Sheard continues his outstanding summer and was a thorn in the Saints side in the first half. Chris Long and Shea McClellin both did a good job of setting the edge and pushing the pocket. Long, healthy after two injury-plagued years, showed some nice inside moves and was creating pressure as well as drawing some holding flags.
In the second half, Geneo Grissom (1 sack) and Rufus Johnson also contributed off the edge. The team invested in some big bodies (Terrance Knighton, Markus Kuhn, Frank Kearse, Vincent Valentine, Woodrow Hamilton) in the spring to bolster the interior of the defensive line. The QB pressure is to come from the edge rushers.
If last night was any indication, the Patriots pass rush should be just fine and Flowers is right in the mix to be a part of that. They can mix and match and keep fresh legs on the field at all times. Once Ninkovich comes back, it will make them more versatile and dangerous since both he and McClellin can also slide back into the linebacker position.
With the Bears coming into two for a pair of joint practices next week, Flowers will be one of the players to watch. He’s healthy again and looking strong.
Check out a clip from our interview with him from last year.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2016 Patriots PreSeason 2016 Patriots Roster 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Chris Long Dont'a Hightower Geneo Grissom Jabaal Sheard New England Patriots New Orleans Saints NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Rob Ninkovich Rufus Johnson Shea McClellin Trey Flowers