Ex-Steelers QB Reveals Pittsburgh’s Secret Weapon vs. Patriots

Getty Steelers' Mike Tomlin shakes hands with Patriots' Bill Belichick.

The New England Patriots have not been kind to the Pittsburgh Steelers over the years, especially in the Mike Tomlin era. Of course, the Patriots were Tom Brady‘s team during that span, and the golden boy is not easy to defeat.

Tomlin has a less-than-stellar head-to-head record versus New England. In 15 seasons, the Steelers are 3-12, but now that Brady is in the Bay, Pittsburgh is looking at an entirely different opponent and an entirely different plan of attack.

There’s no question that plan includes gleaning intel from Steelers defensive assistant Brian Flores, a coach in New England for 10 seasons from 2008 to 2018. Flores was hired as Pittsburgh’s senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach during the offseason after being relieved of his duties as head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Is Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky in Flores’ ear about how to best operate versus the Patriots’ defense?

“That kind of connection and intel would be much more helpful for Matt Canada than it would be for Mitch,” a former Steelers quarterback told Heavy. “Matt has to prepare the game plan.”

Canada said strategizing with Flores is no different simply because of the Week 2 opponent. It’s a common practice.

“I pick Flo’s [Brian Flores] brain every week,” he told Steelers media in a Sept. 15 press conference. “I was so happy when we got him here, he’s a really good guy and a good guy to bounce things off of and talk to every week in my mind, and we’ve been able to do that. This week is no different, obviously, he’s been there a lot. Flo’s a guy that I’ve got a great relationship with and enjoy the ability to just talk ball with. It’s been great.”

The Brian Flores Factor

Expect Brian Flores to make his presence felt early and often against his former team, the New England Patriots.

Initially joining New England via its scouting department, Flores quickly worked his way up the ranks. He joined the coaching staff as special teams assistant in 2008, then safeties (2012-15) and linebackers (2016-18). During his last season, Flores served as the Patriots’ defensive signal-caller and de facto defensive coordinator. He was instrumental in helping the team win Super Bowl 43, his third as an assistant coach.

“I think he’ll have a significant impact,” NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran said on The Gameplan.

“When you think about it, remember the impact that Flores had in the wake of Matt Patricia being the defensive coordinator. You look at Flores elevated in 2018, the Patriots’ defense was tremendous. Put an unbelievable amount of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, allowed three points in the Super Bowl. Again, that’s with Brian Flores as your defensive coordinator. In 2019, they have the Defensive Player of the Year in Stephon Gilmore. They were at some points at historic levels with that defense.

“He is a talented, talented coach. Now he’s on the other side, trying to go to work on a team that he’s familiar with. It ain’t a good recipe.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers better soak up all they can from Brian Flores because you and I both know he’ll, again, be a head coach in the NFL in 2023.

Pittsburgh Steelers Defense

If the New England Patriots’ first game indicates what’s to come on Sept. 18, the Steelers defense could have a field day. Mac Jones tossed a pick, lost a fumble and was sacked twice versus the Miami Dolphins.

The impact Brian Flores has had on the defensive unit was apparent from the Bengals’ first drive. Minkah Fitzpatrick jumped a route intended for wide receiver Tyler Boyd and snatched the ball for a pick-six. The explosive play set the tone for the Steelers’ defense, dominating all game long.

Pittsburgh finished the day with five turnovers (one for a touchdown), 63 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 11 quarterback hits.

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