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Combine: Cardinals Keim sees Flores as 'up-and-comer'

New England linebackers coach could have bigger role in 2018.

INDIANAPOLIS – The future is clearly quite bright for Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores.

With Matt Patricia having moved on to coach the Lions, Flores could be in line for the defensive coordinator role in New England.

Beyond that, Flores has made it clear he would love to be a head coach someday. He took a first step in that direction when he interviewed with Cardinals for that team's open job during the bye week to open the playoffs last month.

It was a rare case of a coach without experience as a coordinator getting an interview for a head coaching job. Though Arizona went on to hire former Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, Flores impressed Cardinals GM Steve Keim immensely in the process.

"Brian was a guy I didn't know a lot about," Keim said Wednesday morning at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. "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."

For now, that likely includes a bigger role coaching Bill Belichick's defense, whether he gets the coordinator title or not. Beyond that, the future may have even bigger things in store.

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