Brian Flores’ job description is a bit vague, hired to be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach. The Steelers already have an inside linebackers coach in Jerry Olsavsky while Karl Dunbar and Denzel Martin work closely with the EDGE rushers.
Bob Labriola of Steelers.com clarified Flores’ job a little bit in a recent Asked and Answered segment in early March, writing the belief is Flores will primarily work with the Steelers’ outside linebackers. Here’s what Labriola wrote in a response to a question about Flores’ role.
“Brian Flores title is defensive assistant/linebackers. In terms of a position, it’s believed Flores will work with the outside linebackers. Jerry Olsavsky is the inside linebackers coach.”
Flores coaching the OLBs makes the most sense. Olsavsky is already working with the ILBs and working with the EDGE guys takes some of the responsibility off Dunbar and Martin, who were working with a larger group with the linemen and the EDGE players.
To their credit, Dunbar and Martin have done a great job developing the likes of TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, and Alex Highsmith, but Flores will be able to provide more individualized attention. He’s respected as a bright defensive mind who should be to get the most out of his position group.
While Labriola didn’t comment on it either way, Flores’ Senior Defensive Assistant title might also make him Tomlin’s right-hand man on gameday. Teryl Austin held the same title and was used to help with in-game management over the past three seasons, sitting in the booth and aiding Tomlin on challenges and other decision-making. With Flores’ head coaching experience that routinely asked him to make those decisions, he’s a logical choice to be another set of eyes on gameday.
This offseason, the Steelers hired three new coaches: WRs Coach Frisman Jackson, OL Coach Pat Meyer, and Flores. The team currently have 17 coaches on their staff, one of the smaller numbers in the league. I’ll post an in-depth study on the topic a little later in the offseason that should offer some interesting results.