Trey Flowers and Derrick Barnes are shaping up to be critical pieces of the Lions defense

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 10: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings looks to pass as Trey Flowers #90 of the Detroit Lions pressures at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions 19-17. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 10: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings looks to pass as Trey Flowers #90 of the Detroit Lions pressures at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Detroit Lions 19-17. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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As the Detroit Lions’ defense looks to maintain positive momentum, Trey Flowers and Derrick Barnes are shaping up to be critical pieces in Week 6 and beyond.

Week 6 is upon us, and the Detroit Lions will welcome the Cincinnati Bengals to Ford Field on Sunday. The Bengals have an explosive offense, and the passing game led by Joe Burrow will especially challenge an inexperienced Lions secondary.

Beyond the improved recent play of the Detroit secondary, Trey Flowers and Derrick Barnes will be key pieces of the front-seven in Week 6 and moving forward.

Let’s start off exploring the progress of Barnes early in his rookie season. Barnes played 31 defensive snaps in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings. That’s the most snaps he has played this season, as he has been splitting reps with inside linebacker Jalen Reeves- Maybin.

Barnes has displayed outstanding athleticism, improving his playmaking skills on run defense the last two games. In due time should able to hone his blitzing skills and show progress in coverage. Reeves-Maybin got a PFF grade of 79.6 for a solid performance against Minnesota, and he can cover up deficiencies elsewhere in the defense if he continues to play at that level.

Flowers is a two-time Super Bowl-champion defensive end from his time with the Patriots. He has received an overall PFF grade of 79.6 for his performance this season, in three games played.

Unfortunately, Flowers has only played 10 of 21 possible games in the last two seasons. He is still battling a knee injury that cost him two games this season, listed on the injury report as questionable for Sunday. Concern about his health is well-warranted, due to lengthy list of injuries the Lions have dealt with across the board thus far.

Trey Flowers and Derrick Barnes are lined up to be key pieces of the Lions defense

If Flowers can manage to stay healthy, which is a huge if, he’s a capable rusher and run defender off the edge who’s even more important for the Lions now with Romeo Okwara (Achilles) out for the season. He can stabilize the defensive line while enabling other defenders to perform at their highest level.

Rookies always have up and downs during their debut seasons. But Barnes has all the tools to be successful in the NFL, with a role opened up for him after Jamie Collins’ departure.

The veteran Flowers and the rookie Barnes are in different places in their careers. But they will be important parts of the Lions’ defense in Week 6, and going forward through the rest of the season.