Patriots rookie DE Trey Flowers makes early impression

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the highlights in the New England Patriots' 22-11 preseason-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers on Thursday was the play of rookie defensive end Trey Flowers.

His first-quarter sack of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, while working against experienced left tackle David Bakhtiari (third year, 32 career regular-season starts), was impressive and highlighted one of Flowers' best assets -- his leverage. The 6-foot-2 Flowers, whose long arms help him play with good leverage, dipped under the 6-4 Bakhtiari as he gained the edge before swallowing up Rodgers.

It was a play I brought up to coach Bill Belichick during his Monday news conference.

Belichick talked about how Flowers generally plays with good leverage and uses his hands well, which he did on the play, while also "showing some acceleration to the quarterback." Belichick added that it's unique for a player at 6-2 to have such long arms (34 1/4-inch).

As for what Flowers has shown from when he first arrived as a fourth-round pick out of Arkansas, Belichick said, "I think he's an instinctive player. We've asked him to do a lot of things; he's played in a number of different positions [on the edge and inside]. He's played in the kicking game, which wasn't something he did a lot of at Arkansas. He's a tough kid, works really hard, and he seems to have a nose, an instinct for the ball."

Flowers has piqued the interest of many after the preseason opener, when he left the game late in the first quarter after he appeared to get hit in the head. The Patriots aren't required to submit an injury report, but if they were, the educated guess is Flowers would be on it with a concussion.

Not surprisingly, Belichick wasn't dishing on the extent of Flowers' injury.

"You have the inside track on that stuff," Belichick quipped to a reporter. "You probably know more than I do."