RENTON — Tre Flowers killed two birds with one tweet.
In the wake of Sunday’s playoff game in which his two pass-interference penalties led to huge second-half gains by the Philadelphia Eagles that put the Seattle Seahawks’ eventual win in peril, Flowers put forth the following sentiment Tuesday on his Twitter account:
“Get out ya head.. you’re overthinking again.”
The obvious first impression, of course, was that Flowers was addressing an audience of one: himself. A while later, however, the second-year cornerback sent out a second tweet that indicated he was trying to send a more generalized message to benefit others.
“Idk who needed it, but just in case.”
I sought out Flowers on Wednesday in the locker room at the Seahawks’ headquarters, just before he headed out for special-teams practice. And in response to whether the tweet was aimed at himself or the world at large, the answer was … yes.
“A little bit to everybody,” he said. “I’m sure somebody’s going through something similar. I was still thinking about the game a little bit, so that tweet got it off me, and I hope I hit somebody else with it, too. I hope they took it and ran with it.”
The Seahawks desperately need Flowers to shake it off, and then run with the Packers receivers who no doubt will challenge him Sunday during the divisional-round game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
You can bet Packers coach Matt LaFleur will do what he can to isolate Davante Adams, the 997-yard pass-catcher extraordinaire, on Flowers. Right or wrong, Flowers is perceived as the weaker link of the Seattle cornerback corps that includes Shaquill Griffin on the left side. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, in his 15th NFL season at age 36, has made a legendary career out of exploiting perceived vulnerabilities.
The Seahawks don’t see Flowers as a liability, however. He earned a starting job last year as a rookie — a fourth-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State — and has missed just two games in two years. A hamstring injury kept him out of Week 2 against the Bears in 2018, and a neck injury sidelined him in Week 8 against the Falcons this season.
At 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds, Flowers is the sort of long, lean, speedy corner that Seattle coach Pete Carroll covets. His dimensions are virtually the same as those of former Husky Kevin King, a second-round pick in 2017 by the Packers. King, who Wednesday was described by Carroll as “right in the mold of the guys we like,” likely will be a key factor in defending the Seahawks’ breakout receiver, DK Metcalf.
And on the other side, Flowers will be vital as well. He admitted he was frustrated and a little angry after the Eagles game, though that feeling was tempered by satisfaction over the victory.
He says it won’t be difficult to flush the two plays, which resulted in gains of 20 and 39 yards for the Eagles — the latter the most production they had all game. A couple defensive stands by the Seahawks kept the Eagles out of the end zone and preserved the win.
“Not at all,” Flowers said when asked about putting the plays behind him. “It comes with the job. It’s not the only ball somebody’s ever going to catch and it’s not going to be the only call I don’t like. Keep going and keep trying to make plays.”
On both of the aforementioned plays, Flowers was well-positioned on the receiver as he sprinted downfield — Greg Ward the first time, and Shelton Gibson the second. That’s what stood out to Carroll in assessing the penalties — that they were unnecessary, because Flowers had them blanketed before committing what the coach called “incidental type of stuff … stuff we really can clean up.”
Added Carroll: “He just didn’t need to do anything. … He’s running with the guy. He’s all over him. He just got a little grabby.
“He was in great position on both plays and didn’t have to make any contact. He made unnecessary effort to try and disrupt the guy just when the ball was getting there as opposed to just waiting it out. He’s done it real well over the course of the two years — his timing and his feel and his patience. But he got a little impatient on both those plays. He just needed to wait it out.”
It’s a lesson well learned by Flowers. Next time, he said, “I’m just going to turn my head. If I’m there, I’m going to turn my head. If not, I’m going to do it the way I’m coached and pray they made the right call, and pray everything works out.”
Flowers added, “I could change it if I pick (intercept) it. So I’m going to pick it next time. Try to do everything perfect, and if I catch it, that’s even more. So I’m going to catch it.”
Facing a distinct home-field disadvantage at Lambeau, where they haven’t won since 1999 (that includes two playoff losses), the Seahawks would get a huge boost by forcing any kind of turnover. Flowers has three interceptions this year, tied with K.J. Wright and Quandre Diggs for the team lead. According to Pro Football Focus, Flowers has been targeted 87 times, tied for 12th-most among all NFL cornerbacks, and has yielded 56 receptions, tied for 10th.
Carroll sees the Eagles game as a learning opportunity for Flowers — and a teaching opportunity for the coaching staff.
“You keep throwing balls at him, practicing the timing of that and how to stay clean on it,” he said. “He’s a big body, and he already looms large up against those guys. He doesn’t need to make those unnecessary swipes at the ball that gets him in trouble.”
Flowers has absorbed all that and hopes to put it to use Sunday in a game that could put Seattle on the brink of another Super Bowl.
It’s a lot to think — but not overthink — about.