The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into Week 2 of the 2022 season and will host the New England Patriots in the season home opener. The organization is coming off of a thrilling 23-20 win against the Cincinnati Bengals, but now that is in the past as the team has a quick turnaround to another in-conference matchup. New England is coming off of a loss to the Miami Dolphins who held their offense in check for the majority of the game this past Sunday. Former NFL head coach and current offensive line coach for the Patriots, Matt Patricia spoke with local reporters on Tuesday and was extremely complimentary of the Steelers defense and coaching staff.
Patricia was asked about what he sees from the Steelers defense, and specifically, if he thinks senior defensive assistant, Brian Flores has a significant impact on Pittsburgh’s defense and its Week 1 success:
“I think B-Flo is doing a great job of blending into that defensive unit. Obviously Teryl Austin does a great job of coordinating that, but I think there’s definitely some influence there too,” Patricia said.
The offensive line coach continued with a smirk, hinting that Flores’ handprints are all over some of the schemes and play-calling that the defense showed against the Bengals last Sunday.
“There’s some scheme things certainly, where they brought some edge pressure from the secondary players and different linebacker pressures that they can bring from some of their defensive units that they have that are certainly things that we’ve seen before or some package that maybe we recognized from previous games.”
Aside from Flores, Patricia was extremely complimentary of the unit and was impressed with how they performed during the first game of the season:
“I think they played extremely fast. I think they played really aggressive[ly]. They were able to generate really good pass rush up front,” Patricia said. “I thought they pushed the middle of the pocket extremely well. They have some really good players inside.
Patricia continued by commenting on the secondary and the group’s strong ability to keeping tabs on Joe Burrow:
“I thought their coverage guys just read the quarterback really well [on Sunday]. I think they made some huge plays and were able to start fast, certainly with the interception early in the game and to return that and get a jump into the game itself.”
While the Burrow is a better quarterback than Week 2 opponent, Mac Jones, Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick has had the Steelers’ number for a long time. They will have a strong defensive scheme ready for Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh’s defense will need to be similarly productive, although five turnovers can’t be expected every week, in order to begin the season 2-0. The entire defense needs to make up for the loss of T.J. Watt.
What kind of legitimate influence do you think Flores has on the Steelers defense? What do you make of Patricia’s comments about the group?