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Former Bengals LB claims defensive coordinator didn’t guide him in Cincinnati

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Former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Marquis Flowers told a New England newspaper that Matt Patricia is the first defensive coordinator to give him attention in the NFL.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers

Let this sink in for a moment.

Former Bengals linebacker Marquis Flowers claimed that former Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther never spoke to him. Not once. Not a “hello” in the hallway or even a goddamn Happy Holidays. What monstrous defensive coordinator doesn’t wish one of his own third-string linebackers a Happy Holidays?! We kid. Validation is key here. Flowers, who was traded to the New England Patriots for a seventh-round pick prior to the start of the 2017 NFL season, has been smitten with the Patriots since his arrival.

“I’ll never forgot, I was walking in the hallway and coach Matt Patricia came up to me and said, basically, to keep trying to get better and he likes me, believes in me and really believes I can help the team win,” Flowers, said via Mark Daniels with the Providence Journal, with what we’re assuming was a chorus hymning in the background with a harp being plucked. “That was the first time I ever heard that from a defensive coordinator since I’ve been in [the NFL]. I’m like, ‘whoa. Is he lying?’ Then I went home and it put even more [confidence] in me – like, ‘come on, this is not where you’ve been. You’ve got a chance to help the team win.’ I can just say that coach Matt Patricia and coach Brian Flores, they believed in me.”

It’s hard to believe that a linebacker, who spent three years in Cincinnati as a special teams player who dabbled a little at linebacker, never received acknowledgement from the team’s defensive coordinator. Despite the claim from the Providence Journal that “(the) two seasons he played with the Bengals, Flowers played two defensive snaps compared to 618 on special teams”, Flowers actually played WAY more on defense than that. According to Pro Football Reference, Flowers played 70 defensive snaps in 2014 (including a 45-snap effort where the Bengals allowed over 500 yards in a 27-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts), suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during the 2015 preseason, and played two snaps in 2016.

Through all that, according to Flowers’ memory, Guenther never satisfactorily interacted with him. Not once. Not even to yell at him for slapping the football out of the hands of quarterback Jeff Driskel.

“He was kicked off the field during a portion of practice for not following directions set forth by Marvin Lewis to leave the quarterback alone on that play,” wrote the Dayton Daily News in early August. “Lewis let him hear about it as Flowers had to retreat to the line with those standing and watching.” Flowers was traded later that month.

Or maybe Flowers is angry about his treatment from the Bengals and the things written about him from Cincy Jungle.

The article in question was “Don’t expect Patriots to turn former Bengals LB Marquis Flowers into a starter.” What’s ironic is that this story wasn’t some hit-piece on Flowers; rather it spent time conjecturing about his failed tenure in Cincinnati (sometimes people just don’t fit in certain circumstances), even questioning if the coaches did enough to help him grow. In addition, the story historically reviewed recent trades by New England, and where they ended up in the Patriots hierarchy, which is the basis of their conclusion.

On top of this, Flowers recently claimed on Twitter and Instagram that he asked for the Bengals to release or trade him and was happy when they did.

Unfortunately, Twitter has enabled laziness because reading takes time and effort, and people would rather react to the context of a headline rather than the substance of the story. However, by the time Flowers’ trade to New England was executed, everyone on this side of flyover country had moved on; we’re talking about a linebacker that wasn’t going to make the roster anyway. Cincinnati got something for him and New England got a player that fits with their scheme. Everyone was happy. Flowers had a good season in New England, generating 3.5 quarterback sacks — all during the final two weeks of the season, including a 2.5-sack effort against the Bills in week 16.

If Flowers wants to believe that Cincy Jungle wrote a hit piece on him, just like we’re expected to believe that Paul Guenther ignored him for three years (two seasons), then who are we to counter? Maybe he’ll clarify his comments (or continue trolling the Bengals through the media); we doubt there’s enough interest by Cincinnati’s local or the national media to follow-up; however, if there’s truth with his accusation then that’s a serious fucking problem. And, while Flowers is playing the “we’re better than you” and “they’re all out to get my Tommy Brady” persona of a Patriots fan, the idea that this level of disconnect actually exists between Bengals coaches and players is hard to believe; though with the Bengals, you can’t necessarily eliminate the possibility either.

NOTE: We added “we kid” towards the beginning of the story to emphasize sarcasm; though we had thought it was pretty apparent to begin with.