Dol­phins zero in on Pats’ Flores, stress­ing de­fense in coach­ing hire

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - Sports - By Safid Deen South Flor­ida Sun Sen­tinel

The Mi­ami Dol­phins’ search head coach could nearly be over.

The Dol­phins, led by team owner Steve Ross and gen­eral man­ager Chris Grier, in­tend to of­fer their va­cant head coach­ing po­si­tion to New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots de­fen­sive play-caller Brian Flores.

But, the Dol­phins are in a hold­ing pat­tern while the Pa­tri­ots are com­pet­ing in the post­sea­son.

Once the Pa­tri­ots’ run in the NFL play­offs ends,

Flores and the Dol­phins can reach a for­mal agree­ment to make him the

10th coach in fran­chise his­tory.

Flores — who has worked in var­i­ous roles with New Eng­land for the past 15 years — has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing an en­er­getic, de­mand­ing and hard-nosed coach.

Here are five things to know about Flores and the Dol­phins’ coach­ing search: for

anew

Tim­ing is ev­ery­thing: Ide­ally, the Dol­phins would have pre­ferred for the Fri­day news of Flores’ po­ten­tial hir­ing to come after the Pa­tri­ots ex­ited the play­offs.

But after six other NFL teams an­nounced coach­ing hires this past week, and the Cin-

Dol­phins’ po­ten­tial plans for the fu­ture on Sun­day.

The Dol­phins hope to be in po­si­tion to land one of the top quar­ter­backs in the 2020 NFL draft, which could in­clude Alabama’s Tua Tago­v­ailoa, Ore­gon’s Justin Her­bert and Ge­or­gia’s Jake Fromm, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

The Dol­phins are in a hold­ing pat­tern to hire a new coach, but ex­pect New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots as­sis­tant Brian Flores to ac­cept their of­fer for the po­si­tion once the Pa­tri­ots’ run in the post­sea­son comes to an end.

“I think we re­ally have to take a dif­fer­ent ap­proach in how we do it,” Ross said on Dec. 31 re­gard­ing the state of the Dol­phins.

“What you want and what I want, is re­ally sus­tained win­ning sea­sons and hav­ing an or­ga­ni­za­tion that is used to win­ning, be­cause that’s what peo­ple in Mi­ami ex­pect. That’s what the fans want and the fans de­serve.

“Ba­si­cally, the thought is we’re go­ing to look to re­ally build this or­ga­ni­za­tion based on our needs and if it takes a year or so — two years, three years — we’re go­ing to be there and we’re go­ing to be an or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Once the Pa­tri­ots sea­son is over, the Dol­phins are ex­pected to fi­nal­ize a deal with Flores. In the mean­time, the Dol­phins are al­lowed to ne­go­ti­ate a deal with Flores’ agent and ex­pect that he will ac­cept their of­fer, ac­cord­ing to ESPN.

New Eng­land de­feated the Los An­ge­les Charg­ers on Sun­day, and will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC ti­tle game next Sun­day.

The Dol­phins have a num­ber of ros­ter needs to ad­dress, likely the main one be­ing to iden­tify a new quar­ter­back to lead the fran­chise fol­low­ing seven years with Ryan Tan­nehill.

The Dol­phins, who fin­ished 7-9 in 2018, have the No. 13 pick in the 2019 draft. They may not be in po­si­tion to trade fu­ture as­sets to move up and land one of the top quar­ter­backs in this year’s draft like Ohio State’s Dwayne Hask­ins or Ok­la­homa’s Kyler Mur­ray in a draft con­sid­ered to have few tran­scen­dent tal­ents at the po­si­tion.

The Dol­phins are ex­pected to build their de­fen­sive and of­fen­sive lines, while find­ing depth at other po­si­tions of need, and hope to have a top-10 pick in the 2020 draft, ac­cord­ing to ESPN.

Ross and Grier ac­knowl­edged the Dol­phins’ knack for fin­ish­ing be­tween 10-6 and 6-10 dur­ing the past 10 sea­sons. They also un­der­stand to achieve the type of sus­tained suc­cess they covet, the Dol­phins may have to lose dur­ing the 2019 sea­son in or­der to cap­ture ideal draft po­si­tion in 2020.

“I hope I don’t have to go 3-13, but what­ever it’s go­ing to take, we’re go­ing to build that or­ga­ni­za­tion with the right play­ers that want to win,” Ross said. “They’re com­ing here to win.”

Over­all, the Dol­phins are 199-201 since 1994, and have missed the play­offs 15 times in the past 17 sea­sons.

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