FOXBORO, Mass. — Quick: Name the best edge rushers in the NFL.
Von Miller and Myles Garrett likely come to mind, as does Chicago Bears superstar Khalil Mack.
But New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers certainly isn’t in that conversation — unless that conversation is among NFL head coaches.
First-year Bears head coach Matt Nagy, who will get a first-hand look at Flowers in Chicago on Sunday, insists that while Flowers isn’t a “brand name” like Mack, he’s quite highly thought-of in NFL coaching rooms.
“He’s not the ‘big-name guy,’ but he’s the big-name guy among the coaching world,” Nagy said Wednesday in a conference call with New England media. “So, we know who he is and what he can do, and we respect him and know he’s a hell of a player.
“As you would anybody, you always want to know where they’re at and how they do things, and that happens in film study.”
Nagy has watched Flowers’ tape before, having served as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator in 2016 and 2017 before coming to Chicago. Here’s what he’s noticed about the 25-year-old defensive end.
“He can hold the point,” Nagy said of Flowers. “He’s strong, he’s quick, he’s fast, he plays in front of the quarterback. So, we know that he’s a good football player. … We have a lot of respect for his game.”
To be clear, Flowers isn’t on the level of Mack, a three-time Pro Bowler and former Defensive Player of the Year who can single-handedly alter games. Flowers’ 15 1/2 sacks in 36 career games aren’t exactly elite numbers, either.
But the fourth-year pro finds ways to impact the game that go beyond the stat sheet; it’s no coincidence the Patriots struggled on defense against the Jacksonville Jaguars (Flowers exited in the first quarter) and the Detroit Lions (Flowers was inactive) but are a perfect 4-0 in their other contests.
And while Flowers’ impact may escape the casual NFL fan, it’s definitely not lost on the coaches who watch him play every week.