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Patriots DE Trey Flowers made the most of his time off last season

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Back from injured reserve last season, Trey Flowers had himself a game to remember last night that showed his preparation paying off.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday’s preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints was supposed to be the Jimmy Garoppolo show.  Instead, it was sophomore defensive end Trey Flowers that stole the show with all the subtlety of the Kool-Aid man crashing through your living room wall.

Wait, "sophomore" defensive end?

Yes, sophomore, because after playing in just one game last year, Flowers was placed on injured reserve last January, and in an interview with CSNNE’s Phil Perry, the former Arkansas Razorback was craving another shot at the gridiron.

"It’s probably amped up a little bit more just from sitting out a year.  I think you still have to have that mentality going out there on the field, going all out, wanting to make a play, wanting to get the ball."

Hmmm, let’s see.

Out there on the field?  Check.

Going all out?  Check.

Wanting to make a play?  Check.

Wanting to get the ball?

Check and mate.  In the fourth quarter, Flowers blew by the Saints left guard, blasted quarterback Luke McCown, scooped up the fumble, and ran it back for New England’s second defensive score of the night.

Very much a Tedy Bruschi "THEY AIN'T GOT IT!" play.

It was by far the most BAMF play of the evening, and Tre says that all the time off last year while he was on IR paid off in the end because he was able to lock himself in the film room.

"It could be frustrating, and it got frustrating at times.  But I can control what I can control.  All I can control is how I come back and how well I’m prepared when I come back.  I couldn’t do too many physical things, but I could take a little part of the mental game and just practice that and continue to stay engaged with the film."

Bill Belichick concurs.

"Trey was with us in training camp last year.  He was kind of a little bit limited, never could quite get his shoulder probably to 100%, or whatever it was, and then went on injured reserve and missed the rest of the year."

"He fought through it, he played, but wasn’t really able to explode with it like he is now.  That was a strength of his at Arkansas and for not a tall guy he has long arms, he has some length as a player even though his stature is not exceptionally long, but he has long arms and he plays the run well.  He’s a tough kid."

Ok, yes, it’s preseason.  Yes, it’s one game.  Yes, it was one sweet play among dozens of others that showed the Patriots clearly need to tighten up and get things locked in before the Cardinals game.

Tell Luke McCown "it’s just preseason" when he checks under his bed for Tre Flowers before going to sleep tonight.