The Miami Dolphins fired coach Brian Flores on Monday.
Flores was 24–25 in the three seasons he led the Dolphins and did not reach the playoffs after falling one win in each of the previous two seasons.
“I have decided to part ways with Brian Flores today,” Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross said in a statement shortly after the move was announced. “After evaluating where we are as an organization and what we needed to move forward to improve, I determined that the key dynamics of our football organization were not operating at the level I wanted and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins.
“I believe we have a talented young roster and have the opportunity to be much better in 2022. I want to thank Brian for his hard work and wish nothing but the best in his future.”
Flores said in a statement, Provided to ESPN: “I’d like to thank the Miami Dolphins organization for the opportunity to be the head coach of this team for the past three seasons. It was an honor to represent the franchise and lead this group of men. I’d like to thank all of those players, the coaches. And most grateful to the support staff who gave them everything on a daily basis to help us win games. They deserve credit for any success on the field, and for me to go to work with them every day. It was the honor of a lifetime.
“I have always believed that leadership is really about service, and I have tried my best to serve the players, the staff and the organization every day. I believe in this team and will always value my family and the relationships built here.”
After releasing the statement, Ross addressed the media on a web conference call. He began by thanking Flores for his three seasons with the Dolphins.
“He’s a very nice guy, and I wish him all the best,” Ross said. “I’m sure we’ll see him as an NFL coach again.”
Maybe his most obvious statement on his thought process: “An organization can function only when it is collaborative and it works well together.”
Ross said he did not think the Dolphins were cooperating enough to win consistently under Flores, and declined to comment whether he had heard anything about players not wanting to play for Flores.
“I will take full responsibility,” Ross elaborated on his thoughts about the organization’s level of cooperation. “I own the team. If it’s not working, it’s really up to me, and that’s why we’re making the change.”
The Dolphins players were mostly in a gloomy mood when they spoke to reporters on Monday afternoon after getting the news in the morning.
“Surprise is probably a good word to put it,” said offensive lineman Jesse Davis. “It’s a sad feeling for everyone. Whenever it happens, it’s a little upsetting.”
“It’s just the nature of the beast,” said the Dolphins to defense Christian Wilkins, who was Miami’s first draft pick since Flores was hired in 2019. “It’s business.”
Linebacker Jerome Baker said that Flores “definitely” never lost the locker room, even as the team struggled through a seven-game losing streak in the first half of the season.
After a 1-7 start, the Dolphins scored seven consecutive victories before a January 2 loss to the Tennessee Titans, which left them out of playoff contention and a bounce-back win in Sunday’s final against the New England Patriots. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Flores is only the fourth coach to be fired after winning eight of his final nine in the Super Bowl era.
Ross said He did not take this step keeping any other coach in mind, including coach Jim Harbaugh of the University of Michigan, to whom she is rumored to be linked.
“We are going to do a thorough review and interview process,” said Michigan alum Ross, who recently watched the Wolverines play at Hard Rock Stadium in the Orange Bowl and College Football Playoff semifinals on December 31. “I’m not going to be the person who takes Jim Harbaugh from the University of Michigan. I hope he stays there. He’s a great coach.”
Ross said the quarterback’s decisions played “no role” in the decision to let Flores go. Flores and Grier drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 draft.
“I have great faith in Tua. The next head coach will work with him – or someone elseRoss said. “I’ve seen him grow. I think he’s a good young man.”
He said he has “no plans” to resume trade talks for Houston Texans star quarterback Deshan Watson, who did not play this season amid 22 civil suits alleging sexual misconduct, of which Two had alleged sexual harassment. Ross indicated that those decisions would be up to the next coach.
Ross reaffirmed his belief in Grier to keep him as general manager and said he was pleased with the choices he made with the roster.
“We have an excellent roster of young players,” Ross said. “All this was done in the last three years. Before that we had an old, aging roster that was taking us nowhere other than mediocre. If you look at our roster today, you will see our salary range, the players we have, I think we are well suited for the future.
Flores’ firing came as a surprise around NFL circles on Monday, as other teams also walked away from their coaches, such as the Chicago Bears with Matt Nagy, the Minnesota Vikings with Mike Zimmer and the Denver Broncos with Vic Fangio.
Disappearing again after the season, the Dolphins (9–8) had completed back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2003 and sweeping the Patriots for the first time since 2000. Sunday’s 33-24 win At Hard Rock Stadium.
Flores’ 24-25 record can be compared to other recent Dolphins coaches that did not last. His predecessor, Adam Gase, was 23-25. Joe Philbin was 24-28 years old. Tony Sparano went 29-32. Flores led a rebuilt roster when he joined Miami for the first time in 2019 – one that some believed he might not have won even a game – and surprisingly went 5-11 that first year. went ahead. Their 10-6 second season also exceeded expectations ahead of the 2021 campaign which fell short of playoff aspirations.
Flores was hired by the Dolphins on February 4, 2019. He came to Miami after 15 seasons with the Patriots as an assistant coach – spending most of his years on the defensive side – and scout.