Trey Flowers

Patriots' Dont'a Hightower, NFL Twitter react to Packers-Lions penalty fiasco

Patriots' Dont'a Hightower, NFL Twitter react to Packers-Lions penalty fiasco

It's hard to blame the Detroit Lions for being upset at the officiating in their 23-22 loss to the rival Green Bay Packers on "Monday Night Football."

Lions defensive end Trey Flowers, who signed with Detroit as a free agent in the offseason after winning multiple Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots, was called for two suspect illegal hands to the face penalties, one of which prolonged an early-fourth-quarter drive that ended with a 35-yard touchdown pass by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Flowers' first penalty came during a 3rd-and-10 play where the Lions sacked Rodgers. Green Bay likely would've punted, but the penalty resulted in an automatic first down to keep the drive alive.

Flowers was called for another illegal hands to the face penalty on Green Bay's final drive. This penalty crept the Packers closer to the end zone, and kicker Mason Crosby eventually converted a 23-yard field goal as time expired to seal a 1-point Green Bay win.

NFL Twitter, including several current and former players, were not pleased (or at least were confused) with the officiating. One of those players was Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower, who played with Flowers for three seasons. Here's a collection of notable Twitter reaction to the penalties on Flowers:


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What to watch at Patriots-Lions joint practice No. 1: Trey Flowers vs. Pats Left Tackles

What to watch at Patriots-Lions joint practice No. 1: Trey Flowers vs. Pats Left Tackles

DETROIT — The Patriots will meet up with all sorts of old friends at the Lions practice facility in Allen Park on Monday morning. The two sides are obviously quite familiar with one another at a variety of different levels, but this will be an interesting week of work for both clubs because of how their strengths and weaknesses match up. 

Here’s what you need to know about Patriots-Lions joint practice No. 1 (practice No. 9 of the summer for New England).

When’s it start?

Lions coach Matt Patricia will meet with reporters around 8:45 a.m. He’ll surely be asked about he’s gonna about establishing his culture in Detroit, how his differs from Bill Belichick’s, and why he’d spend the kind of money his team did in free agency on Trey Flowers when the Patriots gave largely avoided such moves. Belichick will step to the podium soon after Patricia, and practice will get going almost immediately thereafter. 

What to expect

This is the first opportunity players will have to match up with someone in a different colored jersey. If the pads are on, and I’d expect they will be after a couple off days for the Patriots, you can bet this will be one of the more intense practices the teams conduct all year. (The Patriots didn’t hold joint practices last year, but their first workout with the Texans in 2017 was padded and was heavy on contact drills.) There should be a good deal of 11-on-11 work. I’d also expect there are plenty of one-on-one periods with receivers and corners squaring off as well as offensive and defensive linemen. Juicy matchups galore. 

Storylines

Tom Brady has a new contract. It’s been sold as a two-year extension with $70 million in new money. But with two years of “placeholder salaries,” as Tom E. Curran called them, Brady (who received an $8 million raise for 2019) is essentially still playing for his next contract. He’s not really a “lame duck” quarterback. He’s not in a “contract year,” technically. But he doesn’t have the security he’s been afforded with past deals. Will that impact how he practices? Doubtful. 

One storyline we’ll continue to track is Isaiah Wynn’s slow-but-sure progression as he returns from an Achilles year last year. He upped his workload on Friday (in a shorts-and-shells practice) and could see more work against the Lions. If he does, it could be a rough re-acclimation period. Trey Flowers is fresh off signing a massive contract in Detroit — one the Patriots simply would never approach — and could be looking to show his former team they made a mistake letting him go. Will that mean long days for Wynn? Marcus Cannon? Dan Skipper? We’ll have a close eye on Flowers throughout the week, especially if he’s aligned across from Wynn. 

The Lions defensive front — even outside of Flowers — is really talented. Mike Daniels just signed after being released by Green Bay. Damon Harrison is one of the best run defenders in football. DaShawn Hand and A’Shon Robinson are powerful young players. The Patriots offensive line had a heckuva time getting into the end zone on goal-line plays back in Foxboro, scoring once on seven runs. That trend could very well continue this week.

The number of former Patriots in Detroit is wild. Flowers and Danny Amendola are the big names. But there’s also Justin Coleman and Rahsaan Melvin. There’s Darius Kilgo, John Atkins and Eric Lee. There’s Tavon Wilson. They’re everywhere. No surprise given the Patricia and Bob Quinn (former director of college scouting for the Patriots) connections. 

Patriots corners should have a better test on their hands this week. As good as N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers have been at times, players like a Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones have more experience and should provide the Patriots defense a challenging look this week. On the other side, Harry, Meyers and Maurice Harris could be dealing with Pro Bowl corner Darius Slay. 

One more: This might be a good opportunity to scout the tight end position. The Lions are all-in with Jesse James and first-round pick TJ Hockenson. Would they be willing to part with their third or fourth-string guys Logan Thomas or Isaac Nauta if the Patriots came calling? Thomas is a former quarterback and a  journeyman tight end but an impressive athlete. Nauta was arguably the least athletic tight end at this year’s combine, but he hails from a program Belichick loves (Georgia) and he has an opportunity to impress this week. The Patriots need help at that spot, perhaps more so than any other, and have a long history of acquiring players they practiced against in joint training camp sessions.

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Lions place ex-Patriot Trey Flowers on PUP list entering training camp

Lions place ex-Patriot Trey Flowers on PUP list entering training camp

Trey Flowers' on-field unveiling with his new team will have to wait.

The Detroit Lions have placed their star defensive end on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list ahead of training camp, the team announced Monday.

Flowers is dealing with a shoulder injury, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, although NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reports his ailment is "minor." The 25-year-old underwent a minor shoulder procedure after Super Bowl LIII,

Flowers blossomed into a solid defensive end over four seasons with the Patriots, recording a career-high 7.5 sacks last season while helping New England win a Super Bowl title.

Flowers' efforts earned him a massive five-year, $90 million deal in free agency with Detroit, where he'll be reunited with former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

But it appears Flowers isn't quite ready for action, although he can be activated from the PUP list at any time during training camp, which begins Thursday for the Lions.

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