FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Marquis Flowers came to the Patriots last year known as a special teams standout. He finished the year proving that he could help on defense.

After three seasons with Cincinnati, Flowers arrived in New England with 15 total tackles to his name and zero sacks.

When the 2017 season was over, he had added 32 tackles to go with 3.5 sacks. The linebacker even added a sack in the playoffs.

You would think that a performance like that would give Flowers more confidence heading into this offseason with the Patriots. Instead, the 26-year-old says he feels like he’s starting over.

“My expectations for myself are so high. Nobody’s expectations are going to be higher than mine ever,” Flowers said. “To me, (last year) was just a little start of something, but again, last year is last year. It’s a whole new year. It does nothing for me right now. I’m back at ground zero. I’ve got to earn the trust of my teammates and coaches all over again.”

At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Flowers showed his athleticism as an athletic outside linebacker for the Patriots defense. Acquired at the end of training camp for a seventh-round pick, Flowers started to make an impact on defense toward the end of the season. He had a breakout game in Week 16, against Buffalo, finishing with 10 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

The Patriots liked Flowers enough to bring him back on a one-year, $1.75 million deal this offseason.

He figures to factor into the team’s linebacker depth. After last year’s performance, you would think he’s safe to make the roster, but Flowers doesn’t think of it like that.

“Me as a person, as a player, I never get complacent,” Flowers said. “Last year was last year. Does nothing for me this year. I never get comfortable. I can control what I can control. This is the NFL, it’s a business. Stuff happens all the time. I got traded here last year at the end of training camp. All I can do is come out and do my job and compete.”

WITH THE Patriots closing in on their third preseason game, against the Carolina Panthers, it’s clear the team will be without a handful of players come Friday.

On Tuesday, the Patriots were without Sony Michel, Harvey Langi, Marcus Cannon, Ryan Izzo and Isaiah Wynn at their second padded practice of the week. This marks Michel’s 11th straight absence from practice because of a knee injury. It’s Cannon’s 11th straight absence as well.

Meanwhile, Rex Burkhead, Trey Flowers and Duke Dawson are still limited.

Burkhead returned to practice during Sunday’s walkthrough, but hasn’t been a full participant. Over the last two days, the running back hasn’t participated in positional drills.

Flowers and Dawson participated in positional drills on Tuesday, but departed to the lower field afterward.

At this point, don’t expect any of these injured players to suit up with the Patriots for Friday’s game.

THE PATIOTS did have a surprise guest on Tuesday – Jon Bon Jovi. The rocker took a helicopter to Patriots practice, which aptly has a landing pad next to the lower field. He later walked out to the main practice field with Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

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