I can only speak for myself but I trust the process. I’ve had no reason not to.
Since Brian Flores took over as Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins he has preached patience and a message of ‘trust the process’. He appears to have prioritised hard work and team spirit. He stresses the importance of the team needing to be tough, smart and disciplined along with versatility. I think it would be fair to suggest Flores has taken Bill Belichick priorities and schemes but has his own personality. This is where other ex Belichick disciples have failed. For a glimpse into Flores background I’d strongly recommend reading the article by Travis Wingfield – Humble and Hungry.
When I first heard the rumours that it could be Flores as the new HC I wasn’t overly excited. The track record of ex-Belichick coaches dampened my enthusiasm but the fact he had experience in the Front Office intrigued me. I then watched the Super Bowl knowing the man playing the calls for the Patriots defence would be our next Head Coach. Watching Flores being praised by Belichick for good defensive play calls during the Super Bowl was an encouraging sign.
This would be an early glimpse into what we would see in years to come. There were reports of Brian Flores being highly thought of throughout league circles and having a different personality then your typical ex-Belichick coach, so far both run true. During his first few press conferences he came across very well and gave the impression of a good leader. The TNT wall which stands for Takes No Talent, was a novel idea in Miami and one the team bought into. To get the team to buy into such things just goes to show how good Flores team building talents are.
2019 was a total rebuild, the type I have never witnessed the Dolphins go through. Nearly every big name was traded except for a few, who remain as prominent starters. Most experts classed the roster as one of the worst the NFL has ever seen and accused the Dolphins of putting players at risk. Most analysts expected Brian Flores’ squad to win a maximum of 2 games, if any.
They went on to win 5 games and finish off the season 5-4. The team started slowly with the first 2 games being particularly painful to watch but that was to be expected. As the season went on the Dolphins were exceeding expectations and were a pleasure to watch. The team growth was evident which was more important than the results. That season was extremely satisfying and had me fully excited to see the rebuild playout.
BRIAN FLORES CONTINUES TO EXCEED EXPECTATIONS
2020 was another year that a Brian Flores led Miami Dolphins roster would far exceed expectations. The roster had an infusion of talent and the results on the field showed it. Most experts predicted the Dolphins would end the season with an 8-8 record. They were wrong once again. The Dolphins finished with a 10-6 record and Brian Flores for two consecutive years had exceeded the national and local media’s expectations.
During most seasons in the NFL a 10-6 record would be enough for a wild card spot. The defence excelled finishing the season with 6 lowest PPG average, led the league in interceptions and had the best 3rd down defence in the NFL.
The one criticism of Flores I hear the most is the turnover of offensive coordinators. Each year we’ve witnessed a new OC being hired in Miami. Whilst this is an obvious weakness and shows a lack of stability on that side of the ball, the offensive PPG average improved from 18.3 and being ranked 25th 2019 to 23.8 and being ranked at 17th in 2020.
It also shows Flores has a ruthless managerial side. He’s not afraid to cut away from someone or something which isn’t working. During the last 2 years you could point to the lack of quality starters as being as much of an issue as OC. So this year it will be interesting to see if the offensive side of the ball can catch up with the defence, now that it has been invested in via FA and the draft. No doubt a second year Tua should help.
Brian Flores has seemingly brought the defensive scheme from New England and tried to employ a similar offence, versatile and adaptable. Chad O’Shea the ex Patriots coach didn’t work out and then Chan Gailey lost his role after a year. However Gailey preached versatility and an offence which was adaptable, a similar philosophy to the Patriots. So at least Flores has been sticking to his vision for the offence.
Will this be 3rd time lucky for the OC role? With better players on offence I think so. The 2 joint OC approach is different and considered risky but fortune favours the brave. A brand new playbook can be created, specifically designed for Tua. His strengths and weaknesses will be well known by the coaching staff. With joint responsibilities it could mean each OC has more time to concentrate on the finer points of the offence.
My favourite part of the Brian Flores regime so far has been how well the players speak about the culture in Miami and how highly they regard him as a coach. He talks about how he sees his players as his kids and how he likes to form bonds. You can tell by the way the players interact and play for him it’s genuine. The Bengals game should be enough to get any Dolphins fan off their seat and rooting for Flores. The team really does follow him and looks like they would walk through walls for him.