The last of the NFL head coaching vacancies has been filled, as the Miami Dolphins have officially announced Brian Flores.
Heading into the Super Bowl, there were two NFL head coaching vacancies waiting for assistants on each of the two teams to be available before becoming official hires. The Cincinnati Bengals officially hired Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor on Monday, and later in the day the Miami Dolphins made the hiring of Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores official.
Flores started working for the Patriots in 2004, first as a scouting assistant and a scout before moving to special teams assistant (2008-2009) and becoming an assistant on offense and special teams (2010). In 2011 he moved to the defensive side of the ball, going from general assistant to safeties coach to linebackers coach. This past season, he stepped in as New England’s defensive play caller after Matt Patricia left to become head coach of the Detroit Lions.
The Dolphins seem set to embark on a rebuild this offseason, as they’re expected to part with quarterback Ryan Tannehill and not be major spenders in free agency. After a long run of being somewhere in the middle, not bad enough to get high draft picks regularly and not an annual playoff contender either, the phrase “Tank for Tua” (or another quarterback in the 2020 draft class) has come up. General manager Chris Grier reportedly took the lead in hiring Flores, and they will be the two faces of a new long-term approach in Miami.
It wouldn’t have altered the move to hire him, but the Dolphins have to be particularly happy after the Flores-led Patriots’ defense stifled the high-scoring Rams’ offense on Super Bowl Sunday.
The coaching tree of Bill Belichick has not been impressive in their moves to become head coaches, with the jury out on Patricia (and dismal results one year in), as Bill O’Brien has had the most success. But after working his way up the ladder within the Patriots’ organization, Flores is likely the best test case for Belichick as a recognizer of coaching talent.