Pete Carroll has a remarkable aptitude for calling timeouts at inopportune times that force me to let out truly bloodcurdling screeches at my television. His consistency is extraordinary.
He also happens to be pretty fucking good at developing defensive backs.
Fifth-round rookie corner Tre Flowers is no exception. In just his fourth career start, Flowers has shown that he is already better than Richard Sherman ever was. That’s not an exaggeration in the least, folks. Flowers is literally the best corner that has ever existed even though he is very young, since nobody puts the baby corner in the corner, baby.
Since I’m finished with the hyperbole and (potentially) the shitty puns, let’s get right to the point. I watched every defensive snap from Sunday’s game against the Rams (fuck them) and came away truly impressed with Flowers’ performance. He’s still clearly a rookie in, well… his fourth start… But the dude can play and Seahawks fans should be very excited about his immediate development.
If you’ll have it, I’d like to take a look at a few plays that stood out to me when evaluating Flowers’ progression, since I am absolutely completely 100% qualified to be doing this yep.
After a blocked punt sets up LA’s elite offense deep in the red zone, Flowers immediately demonstrates why he is such a tantalizing prospect for the future of Seattle’s defense.
Lined up outside the Rams’ bunched trips on the left, Flowers covers Todd Gurley as he runs to the flat. Gurley looks back at his quarterback and switches back towards the middle of the field. Flowers, who stays on top of Gurley the whole way, immediately follows in suit. As the ball arrives, Tre illustrates teaching tape technique, getting an arm in front of Gurley to defend the pass. The ball pops up into the air and is batted once more by a stumbling yet beautiful Bobbert Wagner before landing gently in the hands of Frank Clark who, despite his incredible start to the game, deserves to take flak for an indefensible decision of his.
Seeing Flowers flash so early in the contest is absolutely exciting, but the Rams were no doubt going to get theirs throughout the rest of the game. Tre held up admirably through much of the contest, especially when playing off his receiver in cover three, allowing him to read and react:
Initially ten yards off of the line of scrimmage, Flowers identifies that neither the receiver or tight end are breaking their routes deep. While Jared Goff’s progressions never take him to the deep out at the top of the screen, it’s nice to see Flowers diagnosing on the fly and decisively driving on the appropriate receiver.
The main issues Tre ran into on Sunday were when asked to man up and put his hands on receivers at the line. Brandin Cooks especially gave him fits in the first half.
Flowers lines up across from Cooks and immediately tries to jam him at the snap. Cooks avoids the contact Tre attempts to initiate with an outside release and immediately finds himself on top of the young corner. Fortunately for Flowers, the ball comes out quickly on a slant to Robert Woods. Tedric Thompson reacts immediately, flying upfield to contribute a valuable missed tackle to the play. Had the quarterback looked deep, Thompson likely provides help over the top to Flowers.
While Josh Reynolds doesn’t possess the wheels of Brandin Cooks, this similar play was a welcome sight:
The Rams line up in a similar formation, putting Flowers in essentially the same spot as before. His jam attempt is still a bit lacking, and Reynolds releases inside with Flowers trailing behind yet again. The difference, in my eyes at least, is Tre’s recovery on the play. Reynolds stems his route inwards at around the 38-yard line and when he does, Flowers has made up enough ground to mirror his receiver’s route and put himself back in phase and in position to make the tackle.
(Sidenote: Shaquill Griffin had a really rough game. He gets burnt on this switch route, giving up a significant gain.)
The margin for error against most receivers is a bit more forgiving than when guarding Brandin Cooks, so, again, take this with a grain of salt, but it was nice to see Flowers avoid grasping at air at the line, though this particular jam attempt didn’t do much to disrupt this route’s timing:
Tre transitions fluidly and stays right in his man’s hip pocket downfield.
There’s obviously plenty of room for growth from Flowers and, once again, most of the guys lining up across from him in these clips aside aren’t world-beaters. It is very promising, though, to see the rookie stay very much composed when in coverage against an offensive architect worthy of the Nobel Prize.
I would have liked to see a little more urgency from Tre when defending the run, especially on LA’s final drive when, on 2nd down, Gurley cuts back to his left and puts the Rams in a very manageable 3rd and short.
Flowers, at the top of the screen, potentially makes a significant play on the ball-carrier, if he avoids being blocked out of the play by KhaDarel Hodge.
The potential is definitely there for the 6’3″ leviathan to be a plus defender against the run though, as he showed by teaming up with elite safety Tedric Thompson on this goal-line stand in the first half.
All of Flowers’ tools are present and apparent – and I’m not talking gardening folks. Tre does possess the ability to bury his opponents on a weekly basis like the Amorphophallus titanum that they are and, as the game continues to slow down for him, he should keep raking up quality starts while soiling his opponents’ schemes.
Sunday wasn’t a dominant showing by any means for Tre, but it was clearly a solid one, and that’s more than any of us could have expected before the season started. If the rookie can (and he will, duh) build on an exceptionally promising start to his first campaign, then Seattle’s defense and opposing receivers are literally in good hands.