Brandon Flowers' 2015 campaign came to a premature end on Dec. 12 when the cornerback was placed on IR with a knee injury.
Shortly thereafter, the veteran sat down to watch his film.
While Flowers knew he didn't perform up to his usual high standards, he didn't even recognize the player he saw in his number 24 jersey.
"It didn't really hit me until I got put on IR," he said. "I sat back, watched film and I didn't see myself. I have a legacy I'm trying to leave on the field. I hold myself to a certain standard. When I was going through it at the time, I knew I wasn't playing as well as I normally play. But I didn't realize (how) bad."
Fresh off a Pro Bowl campaign with the Kansas City Chiefs, Flowers impressed during his first season in San Diego totaling 53 tackles, 11 passes defensed and three interceptions over 14 games in 2014. However, he posted just 34 tackles, one sack and three passes defensed in 11 games last season while dealing with nagging injuries.
Still, Flowers refuses to use those injuries as an excuse. Instead, he admits that for the first time in his career, he let outside distractions affect his play. He vows to never allow that to happen again.
"It wasn't the year I wanted to have as I was injured from day one. It was miserable. A lot of things were happening on and off the field. I let a lot of things I had going on outside of football affect me. I definitely let stuff that wasn't inside the lines affect me as a whole. I had never done that before, and (watching myself) I just knew I couldn't go back to that place anymore. I've moved past it. I'm in a good place right now."
A full participant in the offseason program this month, Flowers feels like a new man and his old self all at once. Fully healthy and with renewed focus, he's eager and confident he will return to his form and lead a new look secondary in 2016.
Entering his ninth season with 113 career regular season games under his belt, Flowers is the senior voice in a new look secondary that added safety Dwight Lowery and cornerback Casey Hayward over the offseason. As such, he knows it is his responsibility to lead.
"This is a new year and I'm ready to go. I think chemistry is most important right now. We have to take the whole offseason in stride and just get our chemistry right. Give credit to (General Manager) Tom Telesco. He brought in guys who have the same type character and mindset. From the first day, it felt like Casey Hayward was here for years. The same with Dwight. We're laughing, talking and having fun like we've known each other for years. And we work. I just want to be a mentor to all of them. There's a lot I've seen on and off the field in this league, and I try to steer guys the right way. Even if you have it all right on the field physically, there will be more things mentally you can learn to be a better player. I just want to be that bigger brother for them in the locker room."
Overall, Flowers is bullish on the team's depth in the secondary, especially their versatility at cornerback.
"All the way down, everybody can play every (area)," he said excitedly. "We have a lot of different pieces and can play different matchups this year each week. Even if we want to move a guy to safety for a few plays, we can do it all with our group's (versatility). Anything they want us to do, we can do it. That is very, very valuable in the NFL. I mean, we can change it from week to week. Casey and I can play either inside or outside. They are both second nature to us. Jason Verrett has all the physical tools. We all have the potential."