The Pittsburgh Steelers made NFL waves this past winter when they decided to give Brian Flores a job on their staff. In the midst of a lawsuit filed against the league, Flores saw all head coaching opportunities dry up, leaving him without a seat at the proverbial table.
Mike Tomlin extended the offer for Flores to come on staff as the Senior Defensive Assistant and Linebackers coach, and he accepted the job. Flores hasn’t spoken with local media since filing his lawsuit against the league, but plenty others have spoken about the addition to the coaching staff.
None have been louder than Tomlin himself.
At the league’s annual meetings last week Tomlin spoke with Missi Matthews of Steelers.com about the addition of Flores to the coaching staff. Both how it happened, and how it’s been going.
“It was interesting, he and I had been in conversation a lot during the offseason, just talking about some of the things going on in the coaching profession and gaining his perspective on it. Trying to be as helpful as I could to the general cause, and to him.
“I think conversation about him joining the staff happened in a very natural way in the midst of those conversations. It wasn’t something I was stomping for initially, to be quite honest with you, I thought he was going to get another head coaching opportunity. But when those opportunities didn’t come to fruition, obviously I had a serious interest in him joining the staff. I’m glad he was receptive.” Tomlin said.
“His expertise is going to be helpful in all areas. Senior Defensive Assistant and Linebackers coach is his title, but I’m just excited about gleaning information and perspective form him in a wide variety of matters for the team. It is good to have wise council. He is a guy who sat in the seat that I have, and I’d be foolish not to utilize that expertise and that experience. And I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it thus far, it’s been a good thing for us.”
To see the clip from their video, just hit play below:
The fact Flores is on the job creates an interesting dynamic, and I’m not talking about the legal cases which have been filed in the court of law. What I’m referring to is how the Steelers plan on using Flores’ expertise and combining it with that of Teryl Austin, the defensive coordinator.
It is a well known fact Keith Butler was a master at designing the front seven looks for the Steelers defense. The team’s ability to get after the quarterback went well beyond tremendous talent and into the coach who was setting up those calls. However, the secondary is where Butler’s weakness resided. Once Austin was brought onto the staff as a Senior Defensive Assistant and Secondary coach, the back half of the defense started to shore up.
Fast forwarding to 2022, on paper, one would think Flores would ease into Butler’s old role, with Austin not just calling the plays but still being the main tactician in the back half of the defense.
When you consider Tomlin, a former defensive coordinator, Austin and Flores all in the same room one can imagine the brain power working together for the common good. But is there such a thing as “too many cooks in the kitchen”? Will Flores, who has been the man in charge for several years in Miami, be able to swallow his pride on occasion to follow Tomlin and/or Austin?
These are topics which provide a tremendous amount of intrigue for me heading into the 2022 season. Yes, I’m extremely curious how Flores can put his imprint on the defense and help it potentially improve from the 2021 version, but the external will be equally as riveting to me.
For all I know, Flores will ease into this position, put his head down and do a tremendous job. The results would speak for themselves, and this might be the best course of action for him to get another opportunity to be a head coach in the league. But I’m going to be intrigued, and excited, for all of it.
Brian Flores joining the staff caused waves, and the Steelers will be riding those waves in 2022...both good and potentially bad.
I’m here for all of it.
(Note: The Letter From the Editor feature runs every Sunday morning during the Steelers offseason.)