The Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster and coaching staff—and front office—have undergone significant changes in just the past few months. Defensively, their defensive coordinator, Keith Butler, retired, a move that prompted them to promote Teryl Austin to that role, a title he has worn in other cities before.
While head coach Mike Tomlin has long held a heavy hand over the defense, he has added a wealth of experienced defensive minds around him, including the February hiring of Brian Flores, who was rooted in the Bill Belichick tree and spent the past three seasons as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
All three of them are presiding over and influencing the defense in different ways, second-year defensive backs coach Grady Brown told reporters yesterday, during the final day of minicamp. Hired in February of last year, he spent the entirety of his coaching history prior to joining the Steelers within the college ranks.
Brown got to work directly with Austin a fair bit last season in the latter’s role of senior defensive assistant, but now working with him in the capacity of defensive coordinator, and now Flores on board as senior defensive assistant, it’s a new light in the experience.
“It’s a wealth of knowledge, a different perspective”, he said specifically about Flores’ voice on the coaching staff. “We have coaches, obviously Mike T is an accomplished defensive coach, an accomplished coach in general. He has a set of experiences. [Austin] has done a lot of things. He’s an accomplished coach, seen a lot of things”.
“Flo comes in with a different perspective”, he continued. “None of us have worked together before, so while those guys bring a lot of experience, they’ve never worked together before, so there are a lot of ideas, a lot of different concepts, so it’s always good to have different minds at the table”.
With so many different individuals from so many different entry points, this coaching staff is also in the process of learning one another, but with three very experienced defensive minds collaborating on putting the defense together, it’s been something of a crash course for a young up-and-coming coach like Brown.
And for the players they’re all coaching, of course. Brown does have a bit more experienced group, as all of his starting cornerbacks are on second contracts and Minkah Fitzpatrick at free safety will soon be as well. But that collective gathering of different perspectives—well, we’ll have to see what kind of product that generates later this year.