Big Chore For A Little Man … Friday Cup O’Chiefs

Understand this about Brandon Lavar Flowers – he has always been small.

Plus, know this – he’s always been a cornerback, from his first day of Pee Wee football.

Finally, understand one more thing – the Chiefs small cornerback is afraid of no one on the football field.

In the case of possible match-up this coming Monday night against the San Diego offense and 6-5 WR Vincent Jackson, there is not a shred of fear or concern from the 5-9 Flowers.

“Just another challenge,” Flowers said on Thursday, a day after winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his play last Sunday. “Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson – they are all over the place.”

He’s giving up more than 50 pounds and eight inches, but then he’s been giving up pounds and inches going all the way back to Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, and Hargrave Military Academy, Virginia Tech and through his four seasons in the NFL.

Whether or not Flowers will spend Monday night shadowing Jackson in front of a national television audience is not information they are willing to share around the Chiefs facilities at this time. Suffice is to say that there will be opportunities for Jackson to use his physical advantages against Flowers.

“You just have to match his intensity and be physical with him,” Flowers said of handling Jackson. “He goes for the deep ball really well, so you just have to challenge him the whole game.”

That doesn’t bother Flowers, who has been told for years that he’s too small to play football. What he’s done from the start of his football career, back to when he was eight years old and playing pee wee ball, he walks onto the field and finds the biggest receiver on the other team and goes to work.

“You couldn’t make the team when I was eight years old unless you were willing to hit,” Flowers said. “So that’s where it started for me. I was a little guy. I had to hit the bigger guys or I wasn’t allowed to play. I definitely took on that challenge right off the bat.”

Receivers are getting taller and taller these days in the NFL, but despite that growth, there are no 6-5 cornerbacks. Most coaches and personnel people would like smaller cover guys, maybe 6-0 or 6-1, with speed and quickness. A 5-9 corner is probably at the low end of the spectrum, pun intended.

That forces the little guys to learn how to survive.

“It was that way in high school too, I was always smaller and there were always bigger receivers,” Flowers said. “Down in Florida, there were a lot of athletic, fast receivers. That type of competition definitely got me right for the NFL.”

Since he’s always played cornerback, Flowers knows all about the good, the bad and the ugly of that position. It’s one of the toughest spots to play in today’s pass-happy NFL. To do it well requires a two-pronged personality that features a fierce desire to stop every pass, and the ability to quickly forget the failures and move on to the next play.

It also requires a tremendous amount of work on fundamentals, body positioning and flexibility.

“I think the good corners just understand leverage and the ability to position their body in a spot that takes away maybe some of that (size) advantage,” said head coach Todd Haley. “That’s always a big challenge, great challenge for corners when you’re facing a guy like Vincent Jackson. It doesn’t matter how tall you are because he is a big, fast guy that can jump. Again, I think Brandon [Flowers] is just continuing to work on doing the things that he needs to do to continue to show that he’s one of the premier corners in the league.”

San Diego QB Philip Rivers sees plenty of the league’s top cornerbacks and ranks the Chiefs double Brandons among the best, even with the size disadvantage that Brandon Flowers has against guys like his teammate.

“The corners that are great with their feet and great wtih their hands and obviously they know how to play the ball,” Rivers said. “Brandon Flowers knows how to do that.”

Brandon Flowers often picks the brain of CB Brandon Carr for information, since Carr is a 6-0 and 20 pounds heavier. “I can learn things from him about how to position myself, where to get my hands on him,” Flowers said. “He plays a lot different than me.”

So just how does Brandon Flowers makeup for that 8-inch, 50-pound disadvantage? Is it all heart? Or, does it come down to a matter of brains, and trying to make up the difference with intelligent play.

“You’ve got to have heart and you’ve got to be smart about things,” Flowers said. “You can’t go out and think you are going to out jump a guy like Calvin Johnson. You wait until he brings the ball down to knock it out. That’s why you have to study the receivers and get to know all their habits and how they handle the ball.”

Once Monday night comes around, Flowers will feel 10-feet tall. He will have spent the weekend watching tape and learning more and more about the habits of Vincent Jackson. The game will be in front of the home fans, who figure to make a lot of noise in the prime-time atmosphere of Halloween.

Eight inches and 50 pounds? It won’t be a big deal for Brandon Flowers.

4 Responses to “Big Chore For A Little Man … Friday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • October 28, 2011  - KC_Guy says:

    I wonder whether the Chiefs think about something completely different: playing Brandon Carr against Jackson.

  • October 28, 2011  - Nathan says:

    If they can put Rivers on the ground or at least get him moving around then the size mismatch becomes less of a factor.

  • October 28, 2011  - Tim says:

    That size differential IS a big deal. Its even bigger when Arenas is on the field at the same time trying to cover a TE. The windows for the opposing qb to throw in are so much larger. Hopefully, we can offset these disadvantages with a pass rush that will lessen the time to exploit it.

  • October 28, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    I’d rather see Carr on him, why take the chance he gets outsized?

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