RENTON, WA – After scanning the defense and barking a call to his teammates, Russell Wilson sent wide receiver Freddie Swain on the move through the lineup, then took the snap of center Kyle Fuller. The star quarterback took a three-step fall and started watching his progress.
In the midst of a situational exercise in the red zone during practice at the Seahawks’ fifth open training camp, Wilson’s eyes quickly turned to DK Metcalf, who appeared to open up on a crossing road in the zone. goals. Wilson fired a missile towards the end zone, but instead of connecting with the 6-foot-4 target for a touchdown, Tre Flowers had other plans. In tight cover, the veteran cornerback slipped his hand to pop the ball into the air, giving safety Quandre Diggs time to reach the deflection and register a diving interception.
The spectacular effort drew cheers from over 2,000 fans in attendance and teammates and coaches rushed onto the pitch to celebrate. Fighting not only for a starting position but also for his place in the 53-man roster, this was the type of play Flowers made regularly throughout training camp to stay at the heart of the competition. as a cornerback.
“Tre has had a great camp, his is the best he has been,” said coach Pete Carroll after Sunday’s mock game. “He’s been on everything, he came back with a real competitive mentality that really brings out the best in him. I think he’s the most connected he is to our football and his mentality, and I don’t think so. not that there are distractions – he knows he’s there to fight and do his job, and he’s doing really well. He’s played the ball the best he’s played since we are here and made a number of plays. He’s still tough and physical and knows what he’s doing and stuff, so we rely on him and love him and trust him and stuff. to the production who, and really, he was as good as anyone. ”
Since being drafted from Oklahoma state in the fifth round in 2018, Flowers has suffered many peaks and valleys. When he first arrived in the Pacific Northwest four years ago, he was seen by many as a draft as he moved from safety to the cornerback, but in part due to injuries. , he got a full time job outside of camp and started 15 games. .
Building on the momentum of a surprisingly good first season, Flowers retained her starting spot and made noticeable improvements in second year. After granting a 106.9 passer rating as a rookie, he gave up only a 72.5 passer rating in 2019, producing three interceptions and eight defended passes while allowing just one. hit on the cover.
Flowers did not perform well in the playoffs, however, committing two defensive pass interference penalties in a wild card win over the Eagles and then allowing Davante Adams a pair of touchdown receptions in a loss. in division against the Packers. Seeking an upgrade in front of Shaquill Griffin, the Seahawks acquired Quinton Dunbar from the Washington soccer team in exchange for a fifth-round pick.
Although Dunbar arrived late at camp due to legal issues, he eventually won the starting position in Week 1, relegating Flowers to the bench playing mostly against special teams. But he wouldn’t stay out of the roster for long, as Dunbar injured his knee two weeks into the season and ended up playing in just six games in total, opening the door for Flowers to return to the alignment.
After a slow start, including giving up a long touchdown to Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup in his first start of the year, Flowers turned the tide midway through the season and played some of the best football of his career. . Displaying improved technique and playing with greater confidence, he lowered his passer rating by almost 20 points overall, the completion rate against him dropped by almost 10% and he allowed just 32, 5 yards per game over the next four weeks.
Unfortunately for Flowers, a hamstring injury sustained in week 12 put him in the injured reserve, and by the time he returned in week 17, DJ Reed had taken the position of running back. starting right corner towards the playoffs.
“I felt like I was playing one of my best balls,” Flowers said after practice on Tuesday. “It just wasn’t my time. God has a plan, and it wasn’t my time to stand out and do what I wanted to do. I just go out everyday to work.”
Now entering the final year of his rookie contract, Flowers finds himself in the midst of intense competition, battling not only for a starting position in Seattle high school, but also for his place on the 53-player roster. In the first two weeks of the camp, he split the representatives of the first team with Reed as the right cornerback, while Ahkello Witherspoon, Pierre Desir and Damarious Randall faced off on the left side to replace Griffin, who left for Jacksonville. in free agency.
With a lot to prove for its fourth season, Flowers doesn’t dwell on what happened in the past or what could become of its future. Instead, he’s squarely focused on the present, wanting to “set it all up” with the cornerback competition bringing out the best in his game.
“This is a complete reset,” said Flowers. “I just let all the years go by. Not thinking about all the pieces that I missed and trying to improve myself every day … I just want it really bad. I want to be good, I want to be great. . I want to do the parts. ”
Flowers didn’t set out to reinvent the wheel by making adjustments to their offseason schedule this spring. But after injury interrupted a promising third season and cost him his starting job last December, he has put more emphasis on the “mental stages” of the game. And although he has turned the page on his first three seasons for the most part, he also rethought his rookie season, seeking to rediscover the intensity with which he played as he struggled through the learning curve to acclimate to a new position in the NFL. . .
“I looked my whole rookie camp before all the broken fingers and everything,” said Flowers. “I was hitting the ball, I was so pissed off when someone caught a snag or tilt, any ball on me. I kind of brought it back to that, I’m not giving up. be on everything and be as clingy as possible, take it to the next level. ”
So far, these adjustments have given quality results in the field of practice. Flowers quietly transformed into a strong camp, making several passing deflections during the 11v11 drills. In Sunday’s scrimmage simulation at Lumen Field, he achieved his goal of maintaining a sticky blanket regardless of the weather. receiver that stood in front of him and was rarely tested by Wilson, Geno Smith or Alex McGough, a sign of his resistance to coverage.
Set to kick off the preseason in Las Vegas on Saturday, Flowers should see some important action for the Seahawks, especially if Reed is unable to play due to a groin injury. With plenty at stake, including a possible second contract in Seattle, Carroll expects him to continue to make the most of his opportunities and outdo himself for the time being as he fights for a role of departure.
“He just comes back fighting and clawing and scratching. He doesn’t give up, he goes,” Carroll remarked. “There has been no sign of anything else he’s pushing to be the best he’s ever been, and he looks the best he’s ever looked. excited that he’s meeting the moment of competition at this point, and hopefully he can keep moving on, shaking things up and playing, because if he’s out there he’s a stallion . He will have every chance. “