When I first saw the official tweet from the Steelers on Saturday announcing the hiring of Brian Flores as the team’s new senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach, I honestly thought it was something similar to that weird thing people do now where they photoshop a Steelers uniform onto a desirable player’s body.
I had to verify this development about three different times—mainly via Behind the Steel Curtain, of course—before I could actually believe that it was true.
It wasn’t that I was so head-over-heels in love with the idea of bringing Flores on board that I couldn’t believe it was real (don’t get me wrong, I think Flores is an excellent addition to the coaching staff), it’s just that it came literally out of nowhere.
You know how things are in today’s day and age of constant speculation and connected insiders quoting anonymous sources. If Flores and the Steelers were talking, surely this would have been reported by someone, right? But no smoke to this raging fire of a soon-to-be development could be seen anywhere in the skies over Steeler Nation. Heck, the rumors of this pending deal were so non-existent, nobody even had the time to tweet out that stupid picture of the player at some airport under the guise that it was the airport in Pittsburgh.
How did the Steelers pull this move off in such a cloak and dagger way? Phone calls between head coach Mike Tomlin and Flores, sure, but how did they do it without anyone, not even Jay Glazer, Tomlin’s friend and leaker of calculated info, catching wind of it.
At any rate, I’m glad the Steelers found a way to bring Flores and his great defensive (and all-things football) mind into the coaching fold.
It just goes to show you that the Steelers are always up to something even when it looks like they’re down to nothing.
After the departure of Adrian Klemm and the retirement of Keith Butler, folks were clamoring for the Steelers to bring in big names to fill those respective voids, including Mike Munchak for the offensive line and Vic Fangio for the role of defensive coordinator.
Neither happened—Pat Meyer was hired for the former and Teryl Austin was promoted to the latter—and the opinion on the coaching staff appeared to be at an all-time low (and when I say all-time, I’m talking about the social media age).
But despite our frustrations and our doubts, the Steelers never stop trying to make moves that improve the team. The NFL really is a 24/7/365 entity, and stuff always seems to be going down. I know fans were pretty upset last offseason as it pertained to the moves the Steelers were making to improve the roster. At least that’s how the mood was for the vast majority of the spring and summer. But it seemed like a bunch of moves got made in fairly short order—including the signings of Trai Turner and Melvin Ingram, along with the trades for Joe Schobert and Ahkello Witherspoon—and by the time Week 1 kicked off, general manager Kevin Colbert was being revered as this godfather-like executive.
If you thought the Flores move was big, just wait until free agency kicks off. Actually, don’t get too excited about that, at least not on the first day. Yes, the Steelers will have more salary-cap space than, well, ever, but don’t go nuts if they don’t make a splash right away. Just have confidence that they will make a splash when the time is right.
And when they do, don’t be surprised if you’re surprised.