The Patriots may have just watched their season go down the tubes against the Dolphins, but New England fans should take time to appreciate Miami head coach Brian Flores.
Flores, the de-facto defensive coordinator during the Patriots run to Super Bowl LIII, deserves to be among the leaders in the conversation for Coach of the Year. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin probably remains the favorite while Cleveland Browns’ Kevin Stefanski has had his stock rise.
Still, Flores should be at the top of the list.
He’s completely transformed a Dolphins team in a matter of two years. And now, one year after the Dolphins went 4-11 with two straight wins to conclude their season, Miami is the No. 7 seed in the seven-team playoff picture with a 9-5 overall record.
While so many Bill Belichick disciples have failed to succeed on their own, Flores has done the opposite. And in short order.
Patriots fans should appreciate that, especially for the remainder of this season seeing that New England won’t face the AFC East Dolphins from here on out.
“I think we got a tough, mentality tough, physically tough, resilient group that knows how to deal with adversity, doesn’t go in the tank, keeps fighting, keeps working, keeps coming to work. Good, bad, hot, raining, whatever the situation is these guys just work,” Flores told reporters after the Dolphins’ 22-12 victory. “Our coaches are the same way. Really everyone in our building is the same way. …We battle for each other. Players, coaches, support staff — we’ll continue to do that.”
Miami entered Week 15 as the league’s second-ranked scoring defense in large part because of offseason additions like ex-Patriot linebacker Kyle Van Noy along with ex-Cowboys cornerback and and Man of the Year nominee Byron Jones.
It’s helped Miami secure its first winning season since 2016, and second in the last 12 campaigns.
“It’s always good to win. That’s why these guys put all their blood, sweat and tears in. It’s why they prepare so hard, practice so hard, lift the weights. Not so much for me, but for this team and for these players, the effort they put into trying to go out there and execute, I’m just happy for these guys,” Flores said. “But we’re just going to take this one game at a time, continue to prepare the right way, continue to try to improve every day.
“But honestly, for the Dolphins fans, I’m very, I think we got great fans, people who are lifers and they love this team so I’m happy to bring some joy, we’re happy I should say, to bring some joy to these guys, to our fans because they deserve it,” Flores said.
The Dolphins will travel to the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday before concluding their season against the Buffalo Bills in Week 17.