Interviews: Getting To Know Pittsburgh Steelers’ DBs Coach Grady Brown

To an extent, Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive backs coach Grady Brown is something of a mystery man on the team’s coaching staff. Hired two years ago, he bounced around from college to college with no NFL experience prior to being hired by Mike Tomlin (sans a couple of summer internships).

But this year’s Senior Bowl gave us more exposure to the person and coach he is. Brown served as the National Team’s defensive coordinator. And throughout the week, the Depot crew asked the players participating their thoughts on being around Coach Brown.

Below are all the responses I’ve gathered over the week. Normally, I present these in article/story format but I’ll change things up and give you the full quote of what each player I talked to said.

Daniel Scott/S California

“I love his energy. Honestly. I think he’s making sure that we understand what type of tone we need to come with the standard is. What their expectations are of us and you know, how we can help them and how they can help us. It’s a learning process for us and it’s also a growing process for everyone. Not only us as players but the coaches as well. So I’m excited to learn from him.”

Jerrod Clark/NT Coastal Carolina

“He’s a no jokes type of guy. He wants the ball back, he wants physical guys, he wants guys to really get after it. And I respect that in a defensive coordinator because that’s the same thing I believe in. So everything he’s teaching us and his philosophy as far as like being dominant on defense and getting the ball back. If you get turnovers, you win the game, IĀ  like that because it is not easy to do. So it’s just him teaching us that importance right now. So whatever team we end up on, we can carry that type of mindset with us.”

Keeanu Benton/DL Wisconsin

“He’s pretty good. He’s just making sure that we’re all using our hands and he said effort wasn’t really a problem yesterday. Just making sure we’re using our hands and being mentally sound.”

Riley Moss/CB Iowa

“It’s good insight. Little things in terms of technique, it’s all different viewpoints and it’s nice. I’m glad that we’re getting that coaching down here. Because it’s different than college. College, you’re trying to install defense and it’s not so much about technique. They’re really drilling technique down here, which is nice.”

“He loves the game of football. “He is very electric and that’s easy to come in and put work in when someone loves football and wants you to be better.”

Ivan Pace/LB Cincinnati

“Just show your effort, all that stuff. Stand out. Stand out. Try to find a way to stand out and show that you’re better.”

Patrick Graham/Head Coach National Team

(via Ross McCorkle)

“Met Grady last year when I went up to visit with Pittsburgh. Arguably one of my most fun football days. Was up there with those guys, Mike, Grady, [assistant linebacker coach Denzel Martin]. And we had a great football day. No lie, one of my best football days ever in my life. We just talked ball for like 12 hours. We took a little break for lunch and he was cool. Really excited for him to get the opportunity to be able here to be able to coordinate the game. For people to see him coach in terms of controlling the room, controlling the whole group. It’s been good to see him do that.”

So what are the takeaways? I’ll be the first to admit there isn’t a lot groundbreaking here. It’s worth noting these comments came across Tuesday and Wednesday, earlier in the week when the players were still getting to know the coaching staff.

Patrick Graham’s story is the most interesting one. Graham interviewed to be the Steelers’ DC in 2022 for the retired Keith Butler, though the job stayed in-house and went to Teryl Austin. Sounds like he was a little disappointed not to get the Steelers’ job.

The comments about Brown’s mentality of taking the ball away fits with what we’ve heard him and players say this past season. Pittsburgh tied for the league-lead with 20 interceptions this past season, 17 from the secondary.

Beyond that, the comments were generally as-expected. Good energy, high expectations, focuses on technique. All positive things – of course – but nothing out of the ordinary. Brown certainly spent plenty of time pulling guys aside to give one-on-one coaching points and true to his DB background, spent most of his time in practice hanging around the defensive back drills.

For the first time, the Senior Bowl had a put-together coaching staff, not entire teams bringing their whole operation down to Mobile. Largely, this list was made up of NFL up-and-comers and Brown certainly appears to be one of them. With this experience on his resume and the networking opportunities that come with it, the NFL is as much about who you know as anything else, Brown could receive defensive coordinator interviews as early as 2024.

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