Continuing our theme this week of focusing on the positive while everything around us burns, today’s headlining note is about Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers.
Early in the season, Flowers was on the end of a fair amount of criticism for his subpar play. Given his hefty contract, expectations were high and it was clear he wasn’t matching them. However, he has been much better over the past month, and that high level of play continued through Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Several analysts took notice of his play, even though he left the game without a single tackle.
First, there was Justin Rogers of the Detroit news, who took notice of Flowers in his weekly film review. While Flowers was solid in rushing the passer—tallying three quarterback hits on the day—Rogers noted how reliable he was defending the run.
“Defensive end Trey Flowers was stellar from the start, getting the initial hit on a zone-read that resulted in (Ezekiel) Elliott fumbling the ball on the game’s opening possession,” Rogers wrote.
The Lions would end up holding Ezekiel Elliott to just 45 yards rushing, his second-lowest output of the season.
But as previously alluded to, Flowers was also excellent as a pass rusher on Sunday, going up against four-time All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. Flowers and Smith both got their own, but Brandon Thorn of The Scouting Academy came out particularly impressed with Flowers:
Tyron vs. Flowers was a great battle to go back on from week 11. Somehow feels like Flowers is still underrated despite the big contract, but his length, refined hands, & pad level allow him to win outside or down the middle at a very high level. pic.twitter.com/j6KORpEuFE— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) November 19, 2019
You have to wonder at this point if Flowers was simply battling through injury early in the season, because he seems to be hitting his stride now. That bodes well for the future of the Lions, who have him signed through the 2023 season. Unfortunately for the short-term, Flowers remains in concussion protocol after suffering a brain injury against the Cowboys, as confirmed by head coach Matt Patricia on Monday.
- All that being said, Flowers—and especially Devon Kennard—need to be more consistent with their pass rush win rates, which both rank among the league’s worst (y-axis is win rate, x-axis is double-team rate):
Double team rate as an edge rusher (x) by pass rush win rate as an edge rusher (y).— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) November 18, 2019
PRWR = rate at which pass rusher beats his blocker within 2.5 seconds.
(ESPN metric, Next Gen Stats data) pic.twitter.com/7TrubcE0t3
- Speaking of players hitting their stride, Jarrad Davis has been the best run defending linebacker over the past two weeks, according to Pro Football Focus:
LB Jarrad Davis has had the best 2-game stretch of his career in Weeks 10-11 of 2019— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Lions) November 18, 2019
Davis has earned an 89.7 overall, led by a strong presence in run defense. His 94.4 run defense grade is the best in the NFL in that span #OnePride
- Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire argues that Jeff Driskel has shown enough for the Lions to invest in him as their backup of the future.
- From one last-place team to another:
- Kyle Meinke has six young Lions players that are worth watching down the stretch for their future value to the franchise.
- Darius Slay got some recognition from one of his peers in San Francisco: