On June 25, NFL Writer Jason La Canfora released an article containing 9 head coaches who are at risk of being fired if they have a lackluster season. Among those on the list: Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins.
La Canfora cites quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s divisive 2020 campaign, along with roster and coaching turnover as reasons why Flores could potentially be let go. But there is one thing I am sure of. Brian Flores is not on the hot seat.
Although the Dolphins missed the playoffs, Flores led the team to a 10-6 record and a top 5 scoring defense in 2020. That’s coming off of a 2019 campaign where the team went 5-11, winning 5 of their last 9 games with what was considered one of the worst rosters in the history of the NFL. In both years, the Flores led Dolphins have exceeded expectations.
Many saw last season as a growth period where contending was an afterthought, but Miami finished 1 game short of the playoffs. Flores’ leadership and schemes have shown that he deserves an extension, rather than being let go.
There are some reasonable concerns for Flores’ long term future; however, with the primary concern stemming from the offensive coordinator position. Going into his 3rd season, Flores has hired 4 different offensive coordinators, including new co-coordinators Eric Studesville and George Godsey.
Under the previous regimes of Chad O’Shea and Chan Gailey, the team finished 25th and 15th respectively, with an inability to stay in games with the best offenses in the league.
Losing games down the stretch to the high powered Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs knocked Miami out of the playoffs, and ended Gailey’s tenure with the Dolphins, as he retired in what some considered as a mutual parting of ways. Now, the pressure is on Flores and his 2 new OC’s to perform this season.
If Flores and his two-headed idea for Offensive Coordinator can find success, they will have eliminated the lingering issue that has plagued the team, kept them out of the playoffs, and stimulated the ideas for Jason La Canfora’s article. And there are reasons to believe that they can be successful.
Along with new coordinators, the Dolphins also brought in weapons to help their second year QB. Former Texans Wide Receiver Will Fuller and Tua Tagovailoa’s collegiate teammate Jaylen Waddle look to bring an explosive element that the team lacked in 2020.
Their young offensive line will also be a year older, with time to develop and grow, with former tackle Robert Hunt moving back to his primary position of right guard, the drafting of Notre Dame tackle Liam Eichenberg and the signing of veteran pieces like Center Matt Skura and Tackle DJ Fluker.
But if the offensive group fails to produce, the perception of Flores across the league could change. A coach who is looked at as a rising star will have a blemish, marking his inability to find consistency on the side of the football he lacked experience with. A blemish that usually follows coordinators who can’t make the jump to head coach.
And while I believe that the burden for a potential lack of success in 2021 could be placed on Tua Tagovailoa, some of the blame would have to be put on Flores, which is why this year is so crucial for his career as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
While he certainly won’t be fired after this season, his job could be in danger for the following year. In order to truly have stability at the head coach spot — which is something the Miami Dolphins haven’t had since Don Shula — Brian Flores must fix the lackluster offense that has plagued him each of his first two seasons. Only then will he be the franchise savior Dolphins fans believe him to be.
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