The Seahawks' secondary has a young core with cornerbacks Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin and safeties Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson. Will that group be able to take another step forward in 2019?
Tre Flowers’ offseason is two weeks long.
Technically, Flowers — the converted college safety and 2018 fifth-round pick — is not expected to report to the Seahawks’ team facilities until offseason workouts officially commence on April 15. That gives him a little more than four months to swim with sharks off the coast of Mexico, or bask in the sun on a beach in Aruba, or sleep for 14 hours a day while he sinks like quicksand into his couch.
He could do all of those things.
But he won’t.
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Instead, he’ll keep right on working.
“I get 13 (more) days,” Flowers said as he emptied out his locker at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Sunday. “Today’s Day 1. I get 13 more, then I’m back to work.”
Fortunately for Flowers, the work will look a whole lot different in his first NFL offseason.
“It’s really my first offseason as a corner,” Flowers said. “I’m going to work on everything. I finally get to focus on one thing, other than running the 40 (for my pro day). I’m glad that’s out of my life. I get to focus on football. I can’t wait.”
Flowers’ enthusiasm is understandable, considering that the 6-foot-3, 203-pound cornerback started 16 of 17 games and impressed in his first NFL season — all at a new position. He finished third on the team with 67 tackles and added six passes defended, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
In his rookie season, Flowers found his footing faster than anybody could have expected.
But what’s the next step?
“The sky is the limit for him, really,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Monday. “He’s got all of the attributes that you’re looking for. He’s a real heady player too, and he’s going to learn and he’s going to grow.
“That savvy that he gains — he’s one of those guys that the day he steps back with us in April, he’s going to be a whole new football player because of what he’s been through.”
The Seahawks’ opposite starting cornerback, Shaquill Griffin, went through plenty in his second NFL season. The former Central Florida standout produced 62 tackles, eight passes defended and two interceptions while starting all 16 regular season games, but he also struggled with inconsistency. In last weekend’s wild card loss at Dallas, Griffin played on a sprained ankle, missed several tackles and surrendered an 11-yard touchdown to Michael Gallup.
Still, Carroll said Griffin had “a good, solid season.”
The ceiling for Griffin and Flowers — as well as second-year safeties Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson — will be higher than “good” or “solid” in 2019. The expectation will be to improve upon a season in which the Seahawks finished 17th in passing defense (240.1 yards per game), 18th in interceptions (12), 19th in opponent passer rating (94.3) and 24th in passes allowed of 20 yards or more (58).
As sixth-year safety Bradley McDougald said following Saturday’s loss, “Pretty soon there’s going to be no more ‘young’ talk. Everybody’s been in the fire. You had a whole season under your belt. You’ve been in critical situations, playoff football. So it’s time to take that next step.”
The Seahawks’ young secondary is plenty capable.
They’re motivated, too.
“We came in and everybody spoke on who we lost, what we lost,” Griffin said after Saturday’s game. “‘Oh, this team is young.’ We had all these doubters and opinions, but one thing we believed in is the guys in this organization and this room. We believed in that.
“We made it this far, and it’s only going to get better from here. We’re not going backwards. Next year we’re going to be a team to be reckoned with.”
For Flowers especially, next year is almost here. There’s no time for extended getaways.
Two weeks from now, he’ll be working.
“We started clicking really towards the middle of the season, when we were winning,” Flowers said of the Seahawks’ secondary. “We became more than teammates. We were friends, and we’re going to keep moving. I feel like we’re going to keep getting better, and we’re going to see each other in the offseason and keep working out together.
“It’s extremely exciting. The confidence is growing, and we’re growing as a team and as brothers. I can’t wait till next year.”