Flores approach is working

Approach is working: Since OTAs began, players have been singing Brian Flores' praises, loving what the new senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach has brought to the team.

And Flores, is loving what he is doing as well.

"I am excited to be in Pittsburgh, working with these coaches, players and people in the organization," said Flores during the team's minicamp.

One of the things Flores has been praised for is how demanding he is of his players, wanting the most out of them.

"I am demanding," said Flores. "I make no bones about it. I think Mike's (Tomlin) demanding. A lot of the coaches. That is coaching. Our guys have responded to it well. I think when you are trying to help someone grow, get better, they need those details, that push to get better, get to the next level."

Flores is working with the linebackers, a group he is loving already, but can't wait until training camp when they put on the pads and he sees what they fully bring to the table.

"There is a lot of versatility within the group," said Flores. "When you put the inside and outside guys together, there are guys who can do a number of things, coverage, taking on blocks, tackling, blitzing. These is a myriad of things you have to do at the position. Communication is at the top of it. That's something I will stress every day. We are working towards that. It's still very early. I think without pads on, it's hard to evaluate the most important part, the physical part of the game. I will have more answers for that in August."

Building chemistry: The Steelers offseason program is winding down, with just one more minicamp practice on Thursday.

And as it comes to a close, one thing that has taken off is the chemistry on offense with all of the changes, including at quarterback.

"We're definitely building," said quarterback Mitch Trubisky. "We have some great connections going with Chase (Claypool), Diontae (Johnson), Pat (Freiermuth), Najee (Harris) and the rest of the guys. We have a talented group here.

"We're continuing to build the chemistry, learn the offense together, and ironing it out to see where we want this thing to go. I like where we are at. I thought we have gotten better ever day. I like where we are at.

"We have gotten better every day. I feel like I am throwing the ball really well. We've put a lot in. We're executing at a high level right now. I feel good about where we are at. We just have to finish strong."

On Tuesday offensive coordinator Matt Canada laid out the quarterback position, putting Trubisky front and center.

"I think Coach (Mike Tomlin) has been very clear that Mitch is No. 1 and he's working with the No. 1s and doing a real good job with that," said Canada. "Mason (Rudolph) is No. 2 and (No. 1 pick) Kenny (Pickett) is No. 3 and we're working it that way based on experience, based on resumes, and Coach made that decision.
"We've been very clear where that is. We've also been very clear that this is a real laid out plan of how we're going to evolve and find who our quarterback is going to be for the 2022 season and that's where we are with it."

Trubisky said he is working on a daily basis just to get better, and being a starter is something he is definitely preparing for. 

"I feel like no matter what position you are in, that's what you should prepare like," said Trubisky. "We are all pushing each other, we are all competing every day. I am getting a lot of good reps. I feel really comfortable in the offense."

Leading the way: At the start of OTAs, receiver Chase Claypool talked about wanting to take on more of a leadership role in the group, be someone young receivers can come to for help.

With minicamp now underway, he has done just that.

Claypool is becoming a vocal leader, as well as someone who is leading by example for the young receivers, in particular second-round draft pick George Pickens and fourth-round pick Calvin Austin III.

"I have been big on learning every position on the field so I can help everyone out," said Claypool. "Still working on that and perfecting that. George and Calvin are super receptive to what I have to say, so it makes it super easy on me."

Claypool has had a consistent presence at the team's offseason program, and before it even started, he was setting an example with his workouts on his own.

"I bought a JUGS machine and put it in my backyard, so I have been trying to catch a couple of hundred every day," said Claypool. "I got a Monarc at the field we work at. It's a superhero version of the JUGS machine. It is automatic so you can have it quicker and shot to yourself. I have been working on deep balls a lot."

When he is at the practice facility, though, Claypool is adapting to working with different quarterbacks, including Mason Rudolph and newcomers Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky. Claypool said Pickett has really picked things up fast, even on occasion helping him out with tips.

"I think Kenny's understanding of the playbook early on, he knows everything," said Claypool. "There are even sometimes that I will be like, what do I have here because we have some new plays going in, and he will tell me right away."

And as far as Trubisky, he is doing everything right on and off the field.

"He is very easy to talk to," said Claypool. "He always invites us over anytime we are around. He has welcomed us with open arms. It feels like family already."

He said it: Coach Mike Tomlin on Day 2 of minicamp:

"Another good workday for us. A lot of situational ball today, possession downs, third down, some tight red zones, two minutes. Every time you snap the ball, and you get those situations, it's just opportunities to teach and learn beyond assignments. The little nuances of the game, how the game changes in certain circumstances. There's big educational opportunities for those directly involved and for those that are watching, so these are good days it appears so but again, you know, we don't have a lot of ball in and so those things will be kind of revealed as we continue again."