Steelers News

T.J. Watt: Brian Flores ‘Super Beneficial To Have In The Building’ Last Season

That former Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant Brian Flores was eventually going to find his way to another team in a bigger role was a foregone conclusion. The only question was when. A former head coach, he was interviewing for vacancies both at that position and at defensive coordinator, but he opted to withdraw from consideration for the Arizona Cardinals’ head coaching job to accept the defensive coordinator position for the Minnesota Vikings.

According to Aaron Wilson, one of the major factors in that decision was due to the expectation that there will be a large number of head coaching vacancies in 2024, although there are typically 5-7 openings any given offseason. Still, a defensive coordinator has more cache than a “senior defensive assistant”.

Whatever that is. And the truth is that we still don’t fully know what it was that he was asked to do. Yet everybody in that building who has spoken on the subject has consistently spoken of his tremendous value. Edge rusher T.J. Watt was the latest, and the first to speak since the news came out I believe, speaking to Rob Maaddi for the Associated Press Pro Football Podcast’s Radio Row Kickoff episode.

“He brought a great attitude into work every day, got the most out of those guys”, Watt said of Flores. “Just the way that he loves the game, he’s very big on his Xs and Os. He’s a younger coach and he can talk and relate to the players as well. Just a guy that was super beneficial to have in the building this year”.

Flores formally had the subtitle of linebackers coach, and was believed to have worked generally with the inside linebackers, though they already had (and still have) Jerry Olsavsky working in that capacity. Yet his reach has seemingly been felt in many different aspects of the game, not just on defense.

Said head coach Mike Tomlin in May about why he decided to offer Flores a job while struggling to do so amid the filing of a lawsuit against the NFL and several of its teams, “I’m in position to do so, and that makes me smile. You work your tail off over the course of your career to be in position to do good when given an opportunity, and that, quite frankly, just seemed too much like ‘right’ for me”.

He also said later on in the year in late August that his hiring was “a rental” and that he was “gonna enjoy him while I got him”, naming him a top-five coach in the NFL.

Now the Vikings are on the clock to see how long they can keep Flores on staff, knowing that his goal remains to be the head coach of a football team again. There’s a more than reasonable chance that he only stays there one year as well before finally getting his second chance to lead a franchise.

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