FOXBORO, Mass. — Trey Flowers was not the first player on the New England Patriots practice field Wednesday, but he certainly was the last man off.
About 20 minutes after the rest of his teammates signed autographs for fans and left for the Patriots’ locker room, the pass rusher still was working on his technique against a tackle dummy. Most of his teammates probably would contend he doesn’t need this extra work. He was given the nickname “Technique” last season, after all.
“Trying to perfect my craft each and every day,” Flowers said. “I watch film and see something I have to work on, see something that maybe the offensive line picked up on some of my tendencies. I can kind of change them up or maybe have a counter off of it and just try to get better.”
Flowers knows that if the offensive linemen he works against every day have noticed his tendencies, then the opposing offensive line will, too. That’s why he’s willing to put in the extra work.
“Right now we don’t have pads on, so a lot of just hand blocks,” Flowers said. “You can’t really power the tackles and push them around, so you just use your hand blocks, work on your technique and try to work on speed around the edges, getting on the edge and work on the rush.”
Flowers finished strong last season with seven sacks in the Patriots’ last nine games. He added another 2.5 sacks in the Patriots’ Super Bowl LI win over the Atlanta Falcons, so he knows opposing teams might focus on him this season.
“That’s part of football,” Flowers said. “Any time you have success, obviously guys are going to continue to key in on you and try to manipulate you or double team you or things like that. I know we have a lot of great guys along the front, so they can’t key in on too many of us. The defense is set up where they put us in a good position to be successful. You expect things like that, and that’s why you’ve got to continue to work.”
Flowers certainly hasn’t let the success get to his head, and he’s not the type of player who will allow higher expectations overwhelm him.
“Yeah, expectations are always high from myself,” Flowers said. “I’m a firm believer that no one should have higher expectations for you than yourself. I’m my own worst critic, and I’m going to critique myself. I want the best out of myself. It don’t matter if it’s high for anybody else, it’s definitely high for me.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images