Brian Flores On Military Mentality: ‘I’m Demanding’

Pittsburgh Steelers Senior Defensive Assistant/LBs Coach Brian Flores spoke to the media following mandatory minicamp practice regarding several different topics, including his work with the inside linebackers as well as how he separates his work on the field from his ongoing lawsuit against the NFL. When asked about the players’ recent comments regarding his “bull dog, military mentality” and being a detail-oriented coach, Flores made no qualms saying it how it is when answering the question on video via the team website.

“Look, I’m demanding,” Flores responded to the question. “I make no bones about it. I think a lot of the coaches… I think that Mike’s [Tomlin] demanding. I think that’s coaching. I think our guys responded to it well. I think when you are trying to help someone grow and get better, they need those details. They need that push to get to that level, and I always do that.”

Brain Flores’ coaching style isn’t anything new as his detail-oriented, process-driven focus has been drilled into his head ever since coming into the league back in 2004 when he got his start with the New England Patriots as a scouting assistant. Flores would climb the ladder under the watchful eye of coaching legend Bill Belichick, becoming a special teams assistant in 2008 and then transitioning to the defensive side of the football in 2011, holding the titles of defensive assistant, safeties coach, and linebackers coach/defensive play-caller for the Patriots before becoming Miami’s head coach in 2019.

Belichick had a military background himself, with his father serving in World War II and serving as an assistant coach and scout on Navy’s staff from 1956 to 1989. During that time, Belichick helped his father study and break down game tape, becoming a true student of the game, as he would eventually graduate for Annapolis High School.

Belichick took this attention to detail and focus on the daily disciplines with him when he began his coaching career, becoming well-known for his preparation and for being a tough character to get along with at times due to his “tough love” coaching style. Flores, being a long-time student of Belichick, has been brought up the same way, having little remorse for excuses and taking extreme pride on the attention to detail needed for development and execution at the NFL level. Flores recognizes this not only as his upbringing under Belichick, but what coaching should be in general.

Speaking as a certified sports performance coach that has worked with hundreds of Division I athletes with Florida Football and Iowa Football, I can attest that if you want to be a successful football program at the highest level, you must be demanding as a coach. I worked under the likes of Nick Savage and Chris Doyle who were regarded as two of the best in the business in collegiate strength and conditioning, and both of them and their staffs were extremely demanding of the players as well as of the support staff. That coaching style has molded me into the coach that I am today, using that militaristic mindset while coaching middle school and high school athletes which has been extremely effective.

Flores giving his players “tough love” or being demanding may come off as like a drill sergeant or as demeaning by some, but the reality is that at the highest level of the sport of football, you must be physically and mentally tough to succeed. Flores knows this, being on a Patriots staff under the direction of Belichick that made it to five Super Bowls, winning three of them. The players are grown men that must be pushed to become the best they can be at executing at a high level, being able to withstand the adversity they will undoubtedly see on the football field and overcome that to come out with the victory.

It may seem like a straightforward answer from Flores, but it did resonate with me given the way I can personally relate to his background and coaching style. Pittsburgh has been known for having coverage busts and lapses regarding gap integrity playing the run in recent seasons, often going back to “miscommunication” amongst the members of the defense. Flores should be able to help in this area, at least somewhat, given his attention to detail and willingness to call players out now in June to make sure they are as prepared as possible come the regular season.

We will see how much the addition of Flores pays off come the fall in terms of improvements to the ILB room and the defense in general. Still, given the numerous player comments about his impact and his mindset thus far during his brief time in Pittsburgh, his impact has already been felt in a profound way.

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