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NFL head coaching primer: Who is Patriots defensive play caller Brian Flores?

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Flores is a hot name on the coaching market.

New England Patriots Practice Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

With head coach firing season underway, assistants all over the league get suddenly thrown into the spot light: many of them will fill the spots that have been vacated over the last two days. One of the most popular names, at least when it comes to interview requests, is Brian Flores. The Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns have both asked for the New England Patriots’ permission to speak to their defensive play caller.

But who is Brian Flores, and why is he a rising star in the NFL? Let’s find out.

What is Flores’ role with the Patriots?

After Matt Patricia left New England to become the Detroit Lions’ head coach, Flores was picked by the Patriots as his successor. However, he was not officially given the title of defensive coordinator just yet and instead is still serving in his old role as linebackers coach while also holding play calling duties. That being said, the 37-year old is de-facto the Patriots’ defensive coordinator in all but title.

What is Flores’ personal background?

Growing up as the son of Honduran immigrants in a rough neighborhood in Brooklyn, Flores first came in touch with football through his uncle. He quickly rose to prominence as a player and ultimately joined Boston College on a football scholarship. In 2003, after his college career had ended and he did not move on to the NFL due to injury concerns, Flores joined the Patriots as a scouting assistant.

What is Flores’ coaching background?

Flores comes with plenty of coaching and scouting experience in all three phases of the game. After serving as an assistant and pro scout from 2003 to 2007, he moved to special teams assistant coach. In 2010, Flores worked as an offensive assistant before moving to defense the following year. In 2012, he became New England’s safety coach — you may remember him as the guy screaming “Malcolm, go!” right before Malcolm Butler’s game-clinching interception in Super Bowl 49. Flores finally took over as linebackers coach in 2016.

What are Flores’ duties in New England?

According to Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly, Flores’ duties extend beyond coaching the linebacker group and calling the shots on game day. He is also conversing with head coach Bill Belichick and the other position groups after each defensive series in order to potentially implement some changes to scheme or personnel. He is, of course, also instrumental when it comes to game planning.

How is the Patriots’ defense performing under Flores?

Despite a change in coordinator, the Patriots’ core defensive principles remain in place: New England wants to force teams to string together successful plays in the open field before tightening up in the red zone. The approach has worked well this year, as the Patriots field the league’s 11th best scoring defense — a unit that has given up 20.3 points per game. The reasons for that are solid red zone play, creative pressure packages, and a tight man-based coverage scheme in the secondary.