Coach of­fer to go to Pats’ Flores

Pa­tri­ots de­fen­sive as­sis­tant Dol­phins’ choice to re­place Gase as head coach

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Omar Kelly South Florida Sun Sen­tinel

New Eng­land’s de­fen­sive coach is iden­ti­fied as Dol­phins’ top choice.

The Mi­ami Dol­phins have iden­ti­fied New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots de­fen­sive coach Brian Flores as their top choice to be­come the fran­chise’s next head coach.

Owner Steve Ross and gen­eral man­ager Chris Grier fin­ished the fi­nal round of in­ter­views Fri­day, talk­ing to Dol­phins spe­cial teams coach Darren Rizzi and of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dow­ell Log­gains about the va­cancy cre­ated by Adam Gase’s dis­missal.

At the con­clu­sion of those con­ver­sa­tions, a league source says, Mi­ami con­tacted Flores’ camp to let them know the team plans to make a for­mal of­fer. How­ever, no agree­ment has been reached yet. The Dol­phins are in a hold­ing pat­tern be­cause the Pa­tri­ots, the team for which Flores has worked the past 15 sea­sons, are com­pet­ing in the post­sea­son.

Flores can’t for­mally be hired un­til the Pa­tri­ots, who host the Los An­ge­les Charg­ers on Sun­day, are elim­i­nated.

Flores, a two-year starter at line­backer at Bos­ton Col­lege, be­gan his ca­reer with the Pa­tri­ots in 2004 as a scout­ing as­sis­tant and was as­signed pro scout­ing du­ties prior to the 2006 sea­son.

Flores was el­e­vated to the Pa­tri­ots coach­ing staff in 2008 as a spe­cial teams as­sis­tant and even­tu­ally worked his way up Bill Belichick’s staff to be­come the safeties coach in 2012. He be­came the lineback­ers coach in 2016 and re­placed Matt Pa­tri­cia as the de­fen­sive play-caller when Pa­tri­cia be­came the head coach of the Detroit Li­ons this sea­son.

This sea­son, Flores’ de­fense fin­ished sev­enth in the NFL in points al­lowed (325) and 21st in yards al­lowed per game (359.1). Flores, 37, has been part of three Pa­tri­ots Su­per Bowl-win­ning teams.

When and if a deal with Mi­ami gets done, he’ll be­come the only black man to be­come a head coach this cy­cle, which fea­tured eight open­ings. He’ll also be­come the sec­ond de­fen­sive coach hired, join­ing Vic Fan­gio, who

was hired by the Den­ver Bron­cos.

Flores will also be­come the sec­ond black coach the Dol­phins have had in the fran­chise’s his­tory. Todd Bowles held the po­si­tion on an in­terim ba­sis for three games in 2011.

The Dol­phins have had 12 coaches, though three of them were on an in­terim ba­sis.

The Dol­phins in­ter­viewed Flores, Dal­las Cow­boys sec­ondary coach Kris Richard, Chiefs of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Eric Bie­niemy, Saints de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Den­nis Allen, Rizzi and Log­gains to de­ter­mine who would re­place Gase, who pro­duced a 23-25 record in his three sea­sons.

Mi­ami ex­pressed in­ter­est in in­ter­view­ing Fan­gio, the for­mer Bears de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, but he was named the Bron­cos coach this week. And Steel­ers of­fen­sive line coach Mike Mun­chak also took his name out of the run­ning for the Dol­phins job, pre­fer­ring to re­main in Pitts­burgh.

Flores, who is the son of Hon­duran im­mi­grants, grew up in Brook­lyn N.Y. He holds a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in English and a mas­ter’s de­gree in ad­min­is­tra­tive stud­ies from Bos­ton Col­lege, where he was a mem­ber of the 2003 Big East All-Aca­demic Team.

Flores and his wife, Jennifer, were mar­ried in 2009 and have two sons, Miles and Maxwell, and a daugh­ter, Lil­iana.

Dur­ing his early days with the Pa­tri­ots, Flores served as a gofer for Scott Pi­oli, who was then New Eng­land’s vice pres­i­dent of player per­son­nel. It was Pi­oli, who even­tu­ally be­came the Kansas City Chiefs gen­eral man­ager be­fore be­com­ing the as­sis­tant GM of the At­lanta Fal­cons, whom Flores cred­its for teach­ing him how to eval­u­ate foot­ball play­ers.

Flores would be­come the ninth Belichick as­sis­tant to be­come a head coach in the NFL, join­ing Romeo Cren­nel (Browns and Chiefs), Al Groh (Jets), Josh McDaniels (Bron­cos), Eric Mangini (Jets and Browns), Nick Sa­ban (Dol­phins), Jim Schwartz (Li­ons), Bill O’Brien (Tex­ans) and Pa­tri­cia.

Flores will be re­spon­si­ble for re­build­ing a Dol­phins de­fense wthat set a fran­chise record for most yards al­lowed in 2018.

The Dol­phins also fin­ished 31st on of­fense last sea­son, and that was the low­est rank­ing in fran­chise his­tory. Mi­ami ranked 26th in scor­ing and had the 29th-ranked de­fense.

With Ross pub­licly pro­claim­ing an or­ga­ni­za­tional re­set with a long-term view, it’s pos­si­ble that Mi­ami could make ma­jor changes to the ros­ter in the com­ing weeks, and it will be Grier and Flores who ul­ti­mately steer this fran­chise’s course for the next cou­ple of sea­sons.

Ross, who has been the Dol­phins’ owner for a decade, has given ev­ery coach he’s hired at least three sea­sons to put his im­print on the fran­chise.

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