The Miami Dolphins surprisingly fired Brian Flores on Monday and the trickle effect is still coming to light four days later. So what’s the latest?
As the Dolphins begin searching for a head coach that even they may not have believed was going to happen this year, rumors have continued to percolate around the NFL with more and more information coming out.
We have heard the whole, “communication and relationship” versions of the Dolphins side of things and have yet to hear much from the Flores side of things, in fact, we have heard nothing but one thing, based on a new report, has me wondering if this entire mess wasn’t the culmination of Miami’s failed attempt to get Deshaun Watson?
We will dive into that in a quick second but to rehash, numerous reports have indicated that Flores didn’t like Tua Tagovailoa. Here are a few of the comments that have been reported.
- Tua and Flores had words and “eff” bombs at halftime of the Titans game.
- A report said that Flores told the young QB that he should have drafted Mac Jones this year to replace him.
- A report said that Flores would bench Tua and run a Brissett play if Tua didn’t do exactly what he told him to.
- Flores refused to endorse Tua during the Watson trade talks and then left the entire saga on the shoulders of Grier never commenting on the situation after.
Now, another report from an ESPN radio segment may shed even more light on all of this. According to this, you can watch below, Flores’ communication with the team wasn’t just with Grier but also with his assistants. Per the report, Flores stopped daily meetings and it makes you question what the game plans were like, especially on offense. According to this report, it started around November.
On #ESPNDaily, @Marcel_LJ takes us inside the dysfunction of the Dolphins. And he explains how Brian Flores started shutting out his own assistants in November 🎧➡️ https://t.co/T0sfsMNZ5r pic.twitter.com/wQdGFzNUdU
— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) January 13, 2022
This brings us back to the topic at hand. Was his attitude change a result of being saddled with Tua and the Dolphins passing on Watson?
The trade deadline was early November and if this began to fester around Thanksgiving, it would tie into the entire situation with Watson.
After Flores was fired it has been widely reported that Flores was all in on Justin Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa and when that didn’t happen we saw a lot of changes in Miami. If we go back to last year, Flores was very quick to pull Tagovailoa in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. There has not been a time that Flores hasn’t pulled Tua to run a Jacoby Brisett short yardage play despite the fact that Tua is much faster.
Back to the 2021 season, the timeline suggests that Flores’ attitude change around Thanksgiving. That would align with the reports that Flores benched an otherwise healthy Tagovailoa against the Ravens. After Brisett went down with injury, he had no choice but to play Tua.
With the internal drama of Deshaun Watson in the rearview mirror the Dolphins went on a seven game winning streak and climbed back into the playoff race. That ended in Tennessee but the writing may have been on the wall long before that.
One of the biggest questions asked after that loss to the Titans that eliminated Miami was made to Mike Gesicki. Gesicki was asked if the Dolphins had a game plan for bad weather. Miami was coming off a short week after a Monday night win over the Saints. Gesicki simply said, “no”.
That raised a lot of eyebrows in social media and some mainstream media circles. Tua had one of his worst games as a pro and the Dolphins were heading home for good. This is the game that Tua and Flores exchanged words, Tua dropped the “eff” bomb and told Flores “you can’t talk to people that way”.
It may seem that wheels fell off after that loss but now, it seems as though the wheels were coming off long before and started shortly after the Dolphins failed to get Watson in Miami.
Was Flores so enamored with being right about his quarterback that he would basically sabotage his own football team by not talking with his assistants? Degrading his QB in front of others so much so that a player on the team, during a game whispered to Tua that it wasn’t him, “it’s the coaches”?
We will never know what might have changed or remained the same had Watson joined the Dolphins. The relationship strain between Flores and Grier may have started to boil over after the trade deadline as a result but it likely began to fester when Tagovailoa was drafted, something many believe was a request by Stephen Ross that Grier adhered to.
Regardless, it is over now and while things may still come out as this process moves along, the picture being painted by many outside of the Dolphins organization isn’t a pretty one and the parting of ways was almost destined long before Black Monday.