FOXBORO -- Brian Flores has never run a defense before, but he has an idea of what he'd like a Brian Flores-coached unit to look like.

"Well this is gonna sound like a Bill Belichick-coached team," he said on Friday afternoon. "Tough, smart, dependable, that can play under pressure. That's been a good formula. I'll go with that one."

Flores remains Patriots linebackers coach, a title he's held since the start of the 2016 season. But in 2018, he's expected to serve as Bill Belichick's defensive coordinator - just without the title.

"I’ve never been big on titles," Flores told reporters. "I’m here to work. I’m here to make this team win any way I can. I think I’ve always said that in some form or fashion. Again, if they want me to get water, I’ll get water. If that’s what the role we need to help us win, then that’s what I’ll do."

It's worth asking, though, how will Flores put his stamp on the Patriots defense?

When Matt Patricia took over the defense in 2011 (he didn't get the coordinator title until the next season), he helped transition the Patriots from a 3-4 team to more of a 4-3 team. Belichick and Patricia deployed multiple fronts over the years together, but there was a change in styles when Patricia took the reins. 

Will Flores prefer 4-3 looks and the personnel required to play that style? Or will he turn back the clock to pre-2011 and shift to more of a 3-4 approach? 


Much of what the Patriots will do will be based on their personnel. If they want to roll with Dont'a Hightower and Derek Rivers as outside linebackers with Danny Shelton on the nose...they could look like a 3-4 defense. If they roll with Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise on the ends, they could play Hightower off the line and Shelton along a four-man front in some 4-3 looks. 

Time will tell when it comes to how exactly the Patriots will mix up their fronts. Regardless of how things look, Flores says he's not all that focused on putting his own personal imprint on how the Patriots defense plays. 

"This is a team game, you know what I mean? It's hard for me to think that I would put my imprint on anything," he said Friday. "It's a team imprint. That's my feeling on that. It's hard to say, 'your personal ...' No, it's a team imprint. This defense will become what it becomes as a team. Not because of me or because of anyone. It'll be because of the guys in that room, building from right now, into the OTAs, into training camp, into the preseason games. Building and building and building. It'll be a team imprint, I'll say that."