Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant Brian Flores is proving to be a hot commodity on the coaching circuit in the early goings of the latest hiring cycle. The former Miami Dolphins head coach has already been linked to numerous vacancies, both for head coaching and defensive coordinator positions, either of which would be a promotion from his current role.
In spite of the unremarkable title that he wears, however, we have regularly heard from players and coaches about how his reach spans beyond that. His primary coaching focus, by title, may be with the inside linebackers, but he has had his hand on many aspects of the team—including the run defense, according to lineman Chris Wormley.
“If you see what we did from being 32nd in run D to top-10, he had a big part in that”, he recently told Brooke Pryor of ESPN, she relayed via Twitter in a message relaying that he would be interviewing for the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach job today. “I think teams would love to have a guy like that”.
Flores’ firing by the Dolphins at the end of the 2021 season was seen almost universally as a surprise, and he was in the running for multiple vacancies that same cycle, purportedly being named a finalist for the Houston Texans job, which is now vacant yet again for the third consecutive year.
He had a connection there in general manager Nick Caserio, with whom he worked while they were both a part of the New England Patriots organization. The Cardinals just hired Monte Ossenfort as their new general manager, who also has far-reaching ties with Flores from their Patriots days.
Working his way up as a 23-year-old scouting assistant, Flores eventually found a spot on Bill Belichick’s coaching staff as special teams assistant in 2008. He coached under the “Hooded One” through the 2018 season in various roles, almost undoubtedly serving many functions beyond what his title would imply, until he got the Dolphins’ head coaching job in 2019.
While he was largely credited with doing more with what he had to work with than most would have, this past season’s success in Miami under first-year head coach Mike McDaniel has perhaps revised that some. McDaniel’s success can largely be attributed to his relationship with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and helping him to take his game to another level or two.
It is unknown whether or not Flores will land back into a head coaching spot this hiring cycle, but he could certainly find himself in a defensive coordinator role. The Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, and Minnesota Vikings have active open coordinator positions, and others may become open, such as in Denver where defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero is interviewing for numerous head coaching jobs.
Flores’ oral interview will undoubtedly sound better than his resume when he actually gets a chance to explain everything that he has done while in Pittsburgh. The testimony of his players and fellow coaches could help as well.