Source: Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores to assume primary defensive play-calling role

Charles Robinson
NFL columnist

Turning back the clock to the 2010 departure of Dean Pees, the New England Patriots are once again preparing to go into a season without a defensive coordinator, according to two league sources who spoke to Yahoo Sports.

The Patriots have not named a defensive coordinator since the departure of Matt Patricia, who left to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions last month. The Patriots will turn over primary defensive play-calling duties to linebackers coach Brian Flores, a source said. The move mirrors New England’s grooming process of Patricia, who was given defensive play-calling duties for the Patriots following the 2010 departure of Pees, New England’s former defensive coordinator. Patricia’s title was not officially promoted to defensive coordinator until 2012.

Linebackers coach Brian Flores (left) shares plans with head coach Bill Belichick (middle) and defensive line coach Brendan Daly at a January practice. (AP)

Despite the move not being a titled promotion, the added responsibility continues a significant rise by the 37-year-old Flores, who has coached New England’s linebackers since 2016. Flores started his career as a Patriots scouting assistant in 2004 after playing linebacker at Boston College. He worked in New England’s personnel department until transitioning to the coaching staff in 2008. Despite operating behind the Patriots curtain for the past 14 seasons, Flores’ star has risen as players and staffers have left the Patriots and shared his name with new staffs. So much so, he received his first head coaching interview in January with the Arizona Cardinals.

“Brian was a guy I didn’t know a lot about,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim told at the scouting combine last week. “[He] had the recommendations from a lot of different people. Was really impressed with him in the interview process, maybe a little bit more just about his presence.

“A lot of times you get to know a guy and early on you can see that this guy can command the room. And there is no doubt in my mind that Brian Flores has that skill – that he can command the room, that he can hold 53 guys’ attention and earn their respect. That’s really what it’s about. The great ones in the league, to me, can do that. … I just see him as an up-and-comer.”

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