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Wednesday open thread: Should the Lions replace Trey Flowers in the starting lineup?

Two young OLBs had great games Sunday.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Third-year Austin Bryant and sophomore Julian Okwara both notched their first career regular season sacks on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Both saw more defensive action than usual, with Okwara playing about half of the defensive snaps and Bryant getting about a third. The two graded out at 74.7 and 64.6 according to PFF, good for fifth- and seventh-best out of 18 Lions players who saw snaps on defense Sunday. Who was number 18, you ask? None other than the Lions’ $90 million man, Trey Flowers.

Question of the day: Should the Lions replace Trey Flowers in the starting lineup?

My answer: Yes, and I think it’s a matter of when, not if.

Trey Flowers graded out at 33.0 according to PFF — for those wondering what that means, let’s just say the font was highlighted in red. Flowers graded worse than both Bryant and Okwara in pass rush, tackling, and coverage, and only slightly edged out Okwara in run defense.

On the one hand, Trey Flowers is the Lions’ $90 million man. And, sure, when he’s healthy, he probably outperforms the two youngsters. That’s a big caveat though, as Flowers has struggled to stay healthy and is currently still plagued by a knee issue. His injury absence was barely noticeable against both the Ravens and Bears, and they continued to be productive against the Bengals in spite of Flowers’ return last week.

The current state of the Lions isn’t helping Flowers’ case either. Here’s what a frustrated Dan Campbell had to say following the Lions’ loss Sunday:

This coaching staff has made it clear that every spot must be earned, regardless of a player’s price tag, and Flowers should be no exception. The best ability is availability, and Flowers hasn’t been himself even when available. I don’t see him being a part of this regime’s long-term plans, so they ought to really see what the young guys can do amidst a lost season.


Should the Lions replace Trey Flowers in the starting lineup?

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