FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Get in line, Mike Vrabel.

The Tennessee Titans’ first-year coach became the latest in a growing line of NFL coaches to fawn over Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers on Wednesday. Speaking with reporters via conference call, Vrabel detailed what he’s seen from the fourth-year end by recalling the time he first met Flowers during a predraft workout when he was an assistant with the Texans.

It was love at first drill.

“Oh, man. I loved Trey even when I went to work him out at Arkansas, and I knew when I went over there that this was a guy that (Patriots Coach Bill Belichick) would target,” Vrabel said. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get him when I was in Houston. I loved his ability and really enjoyed the workout that I had with him and just loved the player then.

“And just to watch him progress and develop as a pro, he’s just a really good player. He’s a very sound player. His technique, his hands, he uses his length very well, he can bend. I could go on and on. I’ve liked him for a lot of years since I went and saw him at Arkansas, and it’s no surprise that Bill and that organization liked him as well.”

Belichick was not to be outdone is his praise. Speaking roughly an hour before Vrabel, the Patriots’ coach dove into the finer details of his best defensive lineman’s game. Basically, Flowers can do it all.

“Trey has a really good feel for leverage and the weight distribution of the players. So, if the guy’s light, he can push him back. If a guy’s kind of leaning on him, he can get around him with his quickness. He uses his hands well, he plays on his feet, he has good balance and he runs well,” Belichick said.

“You know, he can run out and track guys down, make plays from the backside. But, he’s just got a good feel for the game.”

Flowers has 32 tackles, 2.5 sacks, seven QB hits, two pass deflections and a forced fumble this season.

SHAQ MASON returned to practice on Wednesday after missing last weekend’s game against the Green Bay Packers because of a calf injury. He was limited with the same injury on Wednesday, but his presence was a good sign.

Rob Gronkowski, Sony Michel and James White were all at Wednesday’s practice as well. Gronkowski missed last weekend’s game because of a back injury. White suffered a leg injury against the Packers, but finished the game after coming off the field briefly.

Michel, meanwhile, appears to be making progress after his Week 7 knee injury. According to ESPN, Michel is on track to return this weekend in Tennessee as long as he as a good week of practice and doesn’t have a setback.

THE PATRIOTS attempted to boost their pass rush, but fell short.

After being released by the Oakland Raiders this week, edge rusher Bruce Irvin signed a one-year deal with his hometown Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday. After signing, Irvin told ESPN that the Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers offered him more money, but he wanted to play for Atlanta.

Irvin, 31, has three sacks this year.

THE PATRIOTS added to depth to their offensive line on Wednesday by signing Matt Tobin to a 1-year deal.

The 28-year-old has played both guard and tackle in the NFL.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.