Chicago Bears Week Two: Tre Flowers presents a mismatch
The Seattle Seahawks are starting rookie fifth-round pick Tre Flowers at cornerback. The Chicago Bears need to attack him to the point of him getting benched
The Seattle Seahawks secondary was once known as the Legion of Boom but has slowly turned into the Legion Of Whom? While Earl Thomas is still patrolling sideline to sideline and does present schematic issues, and Shaquille Griffin is slowly evolving into a Richard Sherman caliber of player, the defense is still missing a lot of the swagger that they have in the past.
One area that has always been a question mark even in their run was the player opposite of Sherman on the outside. The team went through Brandon Browner, Bryon Maxwell, Walter Thurmond and more without ever really seeing it become an issue.
However, now that the big names surrounding that second cornerback spot are gone, that has become the position to pick on. The Seahawks originally had Maxwell lined up to start in his old place. However, he went down with a hip injury. Dontae Johnson, the backup has a groin injury that ended his season, leaving Tre Flowers.
Tre Flowers is a fifth-round pick and former free safety from Oklahoma State. Drafted off of his measurables, Flowers did not play a snap at cornerback since high school. The team did not intend to throw him into the fire this quick, but here he is.
On the road, at the Broncos and Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders was not an easy introduction to the NFL for a project player.
Tre Flowers was targeted nine times, not counting a pass swatted down at the line of scrimmage. He gave up seven receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
It was a long day that would fracture the confidence of any young player, and he showed his frustrations. Flowers got beat by multiple receivers and showed a variety of issues.
Emmanuel Sanders beat him for gains of 43, and 51. In the play linked here, you can see Demaryius Thomas completely take advantage of the raw cornerback. Thomas uses a quick step to the outside to get the young cornerback to open up his hips. When Thomas steps back inside, Flowers is off balance. From there, you see heaps of separation in a quick pass.
This play looks reminiscent to a receiver of similar size, who is a decent route runner, named Allen Robinson.
Not only did the talented veterans take advantage of Flowers, but rookie Courtland Sutton also used a combination of footwork and strength to free himself deep over the middle.
Issues in zone
While it seems as though the Chicago Bears could line Robinson up on Flowers all day and go to work, there are a variety of ways to branch off of this to have real success in the passing game.
The two plays linked below show Flowers in situations he has never been in, at a speed he has never seen before. Not only that, but he also has to communicate and play zone with rookie Shaquem Griffin, who also made his first career start.
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The first touchdown of the game was due to a miscommunication between the two. It is not quite apparent whose fault it is, but one of the two rookies made a big gaffe. The play is linked here.
You can see that Flowers is following a slant route over the middle. However, as he gets close to Griffin, Griffin steps up. This signifies Griffin thinks they are in zone, and Flowers has the flats.
Griffin could be wrong here, as Flowers follows his man consistently. Nonetheless, if they are in man, Griffin did not even make a move on the running back who springs out of the backfield for a touchdown. If they are in zone, the receiver sucked Flowers out of his spot way too far to create an easy mismatch.
Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen could play these roles and create confusion this week.
The same issue was presented later in the game. Check out the play linked here. This time, it is apparent that Flowers messed up and stuck with his man far too long while in zone coverage. Flowers follows his receiver up until the point where he peaks into the backfield, only to see the running back slipping right back out into the flats uncovered.
Even more damning is that Griffin latches onto the receiver a bit too long as well, and now the receiver coming from the bottom of the screen to the top has separation between himself, Griffin and Flowers.
Fortunately for these young rookies, Keenum did not make the read and did not make them pay.
However, now all of these issues are on tape. K.J. Wright is out another week meaning that Griffin is going to start in that same role again. There are no signs of anyone but Tre Flowers starting.
Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky fell apart as they got off-script in their season opener. However, in this game, the script looks like it is a lot easier due to the personnel. There are a plethora of ways and players to attack these two rookies with.
Expect the Chicago Bears to look into this matchup early with Allen Robinson, and often with crosses and rub plays that will force Flowers into making quick decisions.