As the Pittsburgh Steelers wrap up the off-season and head into training camp this week, it is intriguing to look back at the last seven months and analyze the several moves that are made by head coach, Mike Tomlin and former general manager, Kevin Colbert. After an uncharacteristic off-season with numerous free agency moves, changes to the quarterback position and a new face leading the front office in Omar Khan, the Steelers will have much different personnel in 2022.
It’s a new era in Pittsburgh.
— NFL (@NFL) July 24, 2022
The most important acquisition, however, wasn’t on the field or in the front office. It came when Tomlin wanted to improve the linebacking core and hired former Miami Dolphins‘ head coach, Brian Flores back in March to help the unit.
Don’t get me wrong, bringing guys in like Myles Jack, Levi Wallace, Larry Ogunjobi, Kenny Pickett and George Pickens is certainly going to help the team this season. However, one of the Steelers main flaws last season came in the middle of the field on defense. Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Marcus Allen and co. did not get the job done, especially against the run in 2021. Flores does not only bring experience to the group, but a powerful coaching style that was successful in Miami. The Dolphins moved on from him as their head coach, but it turned the heads of many including myself.
He led the Dolphins to wins in eight of their last nine games in 2020 and somehow won five games in his first year, despite a severe lack of talent. It never hurts when someone comes from the Bill Belichick coaching tree, either.
Flores’ Coaching Style Already Resonating With Steelers Players
The Steelers players are already loving having Flores to help out on the defensive end. Bush especially, who needs to have a great year after the team declined his fifth-year option for 2023.
“Having him in the room is outstanding. He’s a guy that is real football-minded. He loves the game. You can ask him any type of question, have any type of discussion with him. Talk about football or life, honestly.”
The new and other key addition this off-season in Jack said back in May that him and Flores have similarities.
“He’s a great coach. I saw what he did last year in Miami, how he turned that whole thing around. I think it was amazing what he did. After, I told Coach Tomlin we were definitely going to make this thing happen,” said jack. “I actually got a chance to talk with Coach Flores, and we both kind of came to the agreement that we both have something to prove.”
Jack didn’t stop there.
“Him feeling his way in his situation and myself feeling like, getting released, I feel like I got a second chance at life, I’m just super excited. I feel like we just kind of vibe about that connection. I’m very excited to work with him and just see what I can learn and see how we can collaborate to make this thing go.”
Adding Flores is not just going to help the linebacking core, as he will serve as a defensive assistant as well. It is quite possible that he is in the conversation of being the most important assistant coach in the entire NFL this season. He is respected by the players and staff and has the pedigree to help a rushing defense that allowed an NFL most 146.1 yards per game on the ground last year.
The team has a chance to surprise in 2022 if the defense is stout and that all comes down to fixing the issues against the run. Flores will have an impact that is even more important than the other newcomers. The organization is lucky to have him.
How much of an impact do you think Flores will have in his first season on the Steelers coaching staff? Let us know in the comments below!