Zay Flowers Feels Calm and Confident Heading Into Week 1

WR Zay Flowers

Zay Flowers was nervous prior to the Ravens' first preseason game. He was so excited, he didn't know what to do with his pre-game time.

So how will the rookie feel Sunday entering his regular season debut? Surprisingly, Flowers doesn't think butterflies will be an issue, and he credits his teammates for helping him feel calm.

"For this one, I'm just going to go out there and do my job," Flowers said. "I've got other guys around me that have done this before. They make me feel a little more comfortable, just going out and playing."

Flowers' speed and elusiveness have created a buzz this summer and raised anticipation for what the first round wide receiver will bring to the offense. On his first touch of the preseason, Flowers juked an Eagles defender after catching a short pass. Then in the preseason finale against Washington, Flowers caught a short pass and kicked his speed into high gear, darting into the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown reception.

After watching Flowers at training camp in August, Peter King of NBC Sports is one of several national reports who came away highly impressed. King has picked Flowers to finish second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting this season.

"The most impressive rookie I have seen in six camps is Zay Flowers," King said. "He lines up across from a corner and unless they literally interfere with him or hold him, he has tremendous separation on almost every cut. His quickness, his speed out of cuts is going to be a thing to watch in the NFL this year."

King is hardly the only pundit envisioning a big season for the Ravens rookie. Flowers isn't letting the media hype go to his head. In fact, he's hardly listening to it.

"They're telling me something that I already know," Flowers said smiling. "To be honest, I don't really pay much attention to the media. I just hang out with my guys, come in and get treatment, try to play football and win. I've got a lot more to focus on than that. I don't have to read about me. I already know everything about me."

Growing up with nine brothers and four sisters, Flowers is used to blending in. His work ethic has impressed the team's other wide receivers, who have taken the rookie under their wing. Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor, Devin Duvernay and Tylan Wallace have told Flowers what to expect Sunday. However, Beckham hasn't played a game in more than a year and joked that he might be more nervous than Flowers.

"He's got a lot of confidence in himself," Beckham said. "I don't really know if there's going to be much that needs to be said. Maybe I need to give him a little bump, get him hyped or tell him to calm down.

"I don't know how much advice I can give him, because I'm going to be right there with him, as far as excitement. I feel like this is my first game. So, I feel like we're both going to be excited, and he has every capability in the world. There's a reason he was as high of a draft pick as he was; there's a reason people are raving about him – no pun [intended]. I don't know exactly what I'm going to tell him, but I know he's going to be ready."

Beckham had a hilarious reaction at a recent team meeting, tumbling over after Flowers was asked to stand up and reveal the amount of his signing bonus in front of the team.

It will be interesting to see the different ways that Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken tries to utilize Flowers' speed. He's expected to line up both outside and in the slot and could also be used on jet sweeps and wide receiver screens.

Head Coach John Harbaugh has been extremely impressed by Flowers' work ethic and how quickly he has mastered the playbook.

"I think he's going to fare really well, because he's a really good player, and he works really hard, and guys like that tend to do very well," Harbaugh said. "He has talent. I just think he's going to come out and play really good football for us and win games for us, and that's all we really ask."

All the players are eager for Sunday's game, and it will be Flowers' first taste of the regular season. He can't wait to get started and will continue leaning on veterans for advice.

Whether he gets one target or 10, Flowers wants to help the Ravens win. They have an abundance of weapons this season, and Flowers said they all plan to help each other.

"The vets that have played – O, Bate, Duv, Nelly – they've already got experience and know how to play as a team," Flowers said. "Everybody's going to be happy for each other. If we're winning, what can you complain about? We're not going to have any problem cheering for each other, watching each other do well.

"I'm the one that's coming in and learning from them. They've been teaching me well. Just being around them and hearing how they talk, how they go about their business, just helped me and added to my game. We're all confident about what we can do in the first game."

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