Though it’s been evident based on pieces of video released during OTAs and minicamp, new coach Brian Flores confirmed he’s primarily working with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ inside linebackers. He spoke to reporters Wednesday about his role.
“Inside guys for the most part,” he said in audio posted on the Steelers’ team website.
Flores’ official title is Senior Defensive Assistant/Linebackers, and it sounds like he’s working mostly with the inside guys. It’s unclear what Jerry Olsavsky’s exact role is, who has coached that group in the past and carries the title of Inside Linebackers Coach. Karl Dunbar has coached the Steelers’ EDGE rushers since being hired, and presumably, is continuing in that role. We’ll have to sort it all out during training camp next month.
But Flores made it clear though he’s working with that group most of the time, it’s a team effort. The inside linebackers are the hub of the defense and have an impact on everyone around them.
“The great thing about this staff, the great thing about the game, is that there’s 11 guys on the field that have to work together. So inside linebackers are talking to safeties, talking to nickels, talking to defensive linemen. Karl’s talking to linebackers, Jerry’s talking to linebackers, Grady’s talking to linebackers. We’re all as a team, we’re coaching them as a team. My focus is the inside backers but like all the coaches, you end up touching a lot of the guys on the field.”
Flores is referring to DL Coach Karl Dunbar, ILBs Coach Jerry Olsavsky, and DBs Coach Grady Brown. Assuming one of the Steelers’ off-ball linebackers will wear the green dot this season, be it Myles Jack or Devin Bush, they’ll have to communicate with everyone on the field. Meaning Flores’ job extends far beyond just his position group.
But it does appear he’ll be spending most of his time on the practice field working with the inside linebackers. It’s a group under the microscope. Myles Jack’s first year in Pittsburgh, Devin Bush’s critical fourth season, and what young guys near the end of the roster like Buddy Johnson and Mark Robinson can provide the team. Flores has a big job to do getting the starters to play better than a year ago while developing the young talent behind them.
Like Olsavsky, Flores was optimistic about Bush, saying he “looks good out there,” but cautioning it’s football in shells, making it tough to fully evaluate any players. A more accurate view of the group won’t come until August when the pads come on and the Steelers play out their three preseason games.