As the Detroit Lions defense continues to disappoint—especially among their front seven—defensive end Trey Flowers is starting to draw a lot of attention. The Lions handed him $56 million guaranteed this offseason, and all they’ve got to show for it through six games is 22 tackles, 1.0 sacks and three quarterback hits.
Of course, it’s not completely fair to judge a player by his raw statistics like that, but advanced statistics don’t look much better for the Lions edge defender. While Flowers grades out as a good run defender this year, his pass rush has been bad and the Lions are overall failing in their pass rush matchups more than any other team this year.
So why the big drop off in play? A few analysts did their best to try to explain it.
First, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tracked every single one of Flowers’ snaps from the past two games. His conclusion: Flowers is partially to blame for his own lack of production, but Detroit shares the blame, too.
“The Lions share in the blame for Flowers’ lack of production as they’ve given him little help getting to the quarterback,” Birkett wrote. “I counted one stunt he ran with another defensive lineman in nearly 50 pass plays, and I wonder if keeping Flowers (or Okwara, for that matter) on the field for every snap of a long drive is in their best interest, or if it’d be better to keep their legs fresh with a short break.
- Former NFL defensive lineman Stephen White thinks that the Lions haven’t been moving Flowers around enough in the formation:
Trey Flowers is best when he is moved around, inside and outside. He is never going to be a guy that flashes a lot playing exclusively on the edge, and maybe especially from the right side. Id love to know if this is how they envisioned using him when they signed him. https://t.co/eohlCgUfd9— Stephen White (@sgw94) October 23, 2019
- Another possible explanation: Trey Flowers is getting double teamed more than most NFL linemen. This graph, courtesy ESPN’s Seth Walder, shows double team rate on the x-axis and pass rush win rate on the y-axis. In other words, Flowers is both not winning enough and is being double teamed too much:
Double team rate as an edge rusher (x) by pass rush win rate (overall, not just vs. double teams) as an edge rusher (y).— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) October 22, 2019
Labeled some notables.
ESPN stat, NFL Next Gen Stats data. pic.twitter.com/vDxSqfnYun
- Onto non-Flowers related notes, the Detroit Free Press has this neat piece on Matthew Stafford’s climb to 40,000 yards, including some nifty infographics.
- The Vikings game feels like an eternity ago, but on-field audio content is always awesome. Here are the sights and sounds from Week 7:
- If there’s any doubt as to who will step up in Quandre Diggs’ absence, Erik Schlitt of Lions Wire explains why it’s obviously going to be Will Harris.
- While on the topic of Diggs, Glover Quin is confused: