The Pittsburgh Steelers made waves this winter when they decided to bring Brian Flores on staff as a linebackers/defensive assistant coach. At face value, it was a tremendous addition to the defensive coaching staff. His experience with the New England Patriots as everything from a scout to a defensive play caller, and the fact he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins shows the tremendous amount of input he can bring to the Steelers.
But there was a caveat to this move which some fans noticed right away. Some even saw this as a potential issue for the defense moving forward.
That would be none other than how the addition of Flores would impact Minkah Fitzpatrick. After all, it was reported there was a beef between the two former Miami employees, and it was this rift which equated in Fitzpatrick wanting a trade.
When the Steelers sent a 2020 first round pick to the Dolphins in 2019 for Fitzpatrick, no one ever thought the two would be reunited in Pittsburgh.
Yet here we are.
After Fitzpatrick signed his new 5-year contract last week, he was asked about his thoughts on the addition of Flores to the team’s defensive coaching staff. What Fitzpatrick said to the media makes it seem as if the issues the two might have had in Miami is water under the bridge.
“It’s been good.” Fitzpatrick said of Flores being added to the coaching staff. “Coach Flo, he’s a great coach. He’s a smart guy. He’s a guy that lives to a high standard. He’s a piece that I think we really needed. He’s a real detail-oriented guy, detail-oriented coach. He’s not a guy that’s gonna let things get brushed aside. He’s gonna address them.
When it comes to Flores’ style, Fitzpatrick knows all about it. Flores doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to addressing issues. In fact, he is the total opposite. Some might not like it, but Fitzpatrick has grown to appreciate it.
“He’s direct. He might not tell you exactly how you want to hear it, but he’s gonna tell you and I think that’s important to have in the locker room.” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s gonna get on you. He’s a great coach. I’m excited to have him. He’s focused and locked in on winning and that’s what his goal is. And I’m happy to have him here.”
Coaches who don’t care about your feelings as a player is something Fitzpatrick knows all too well. Coming from Nick Saban at Alabama to Flores in Miami, he knows about coaches who are labeled as “in your face”. Mike Tomlin doesn’t necessarily fall into that category, but Fitzpatrick giving Flores his seal of approval is certainly worth noting.
The feedback of Flores from both coaches and players in the early stages of the offseason have been glowing. Players love his intensity and approach, and coaches recognize his value to the staff. It seems like a win-win, and it will be intriguing to see how this will continue to develop at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA when players report to training camp and the real football begins.
In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they continue to prepare for the 2022 regular season.