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#pounditTuesday, January 18, 2022

Articles tagged: Miami Dolphins

Was Dolphins owner upset with Brian Flores for not tanking?

Brian Flores at a press conference

The Miami Dolphins surprised the football world by firing Brian Flores on Monday even though the head coach had posted consecutive winning seasons — the first time that happened for the Dolphins since 2002-2003.

Reports since Flores’ firing have ranged from saying the Dolphins have an upgrade lined up, to reports saying Flores lost a power struggle with the team’s general manager.

But here’s another rumor to emerge regarding the firing, and it’s one that will knock your socks off.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio published a story on Tuesday in which he discussed some of the dynamics of the Flores firing.

The overarching idea is that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross didn’t get the quarterback he wanted two seasons in a row. Florio reports that Ross wanted Deshaun Watson this season, but a trade fell through. Florio claims that Ross wanted Joe Burrow in 2020, but the Dolphins didn’t finish with a bad enough record to get the No. 1 draft pick. And that’s where the tanking talk comes in.

According to Florio’s story, Ross wanted the Dolphins to have the No. 1 draft pick in 2020. The Dolphins went 5-11 in 2019 — Flores’ first season with the team — and ended up with the No. 5 pick, which they used on Tua Tagovailoa. Burrow went No. 1 overall in 2020 and already is a star. Tua was recovering from a hip injury and has had mixed results as a pro.

The story alleges that Flores either didn’t get the hint that Ross wanted to tank or defied instructions to tank in 2019. Flores’ Dolphins went 3-2 over their final five games to finish 5-11 in 2019.

The story is so crazy it’s really hard to believe. An owner got upset with the coach for … winning?

Flores’ Dolphins were embarrassed so badly in their first three games, losing by a combined 133-16, that Flores couldn’t keep losing like that. He probably would have been fired and had his reputation permanently stained if that continued.

Instead, he finished out the season strong, then went an impressive 10-6 last season, and 9-8 this season. Flores is now viewed as a good head coach.

If the Dolphins indeed chose longtime GM Chris Grier over Flores, then that’s their mistake. Even if they didn’t get Burrow, they were in position to draft Justin Herbert in 2020, whom the Chargers selected with the pick after Miami took Tagovailoa.

The Dolphins could have had an excellent young franchise quarterback while also getting a head coach who finished strong and won games. It’s truly amazing that the Dolphins fired the guy who was their best coach in 20 years to keep the GM who took Tua over Herbert.

Ross better have a bigger move up his sleeve to justify the firing, otherwise the move makes little sense.

Report details heated exchange between Brian Flores, Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa at a press conference

The Miami Dolphins made the surprising decision on Monday to fire head coach Brian Flores. It sounds like the move was a result of Flores not getting along with several members of the organization, one of which was his starting quarterback.

Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel published a column on Tuesday criticizing the Dolphins for firing Flores for non-football reasons. In his story, Hyde mentioned how Flores and Tua Tagovailoa had some heated exchanges when things were not going well in Miami.

He described one verbal spat at halftime earlier this season.

From Hyde’s article:

It started at halftime with a meltdown in the locker room as their season melted down on the field. Coach Brian Flores was angry at quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s dismal half. He said things. Tua said things back.

Anger flew. The f-word – gasp – was traded. Tua said something about Flores not knowing how to talk to people. Flores said something about needing better bleeping play.

It should be noted that Hyde said the disagreements paled in comparison to some of the past ones involving Dolphins legends like Don Shula and Dan Marino. His point was that owner Stephen Ross should have found a way to improve the “communication and collaboration” Ross referred to when announcing on Monday that Flores had been fired.

The Dolphins drafted Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick two years ago, but it’s hard to believe a rift between him and Flores was the sole motivation behind firing the coach. If anything, it seems like the team chose longtime general manager Chris Grier over Flores. Grier has been with the Dolphins since he began as a scout in 2000. He was promoted to GM in 2016. Miami has made the playoffs just twice since 2002.

The Dolphins posted winning records the last two seasons. They finished 9-8 this year and bounced back after a 1-7 start. Flores should find another job fairly quickly and already has an interview lined up. If the Dolphins struggle next season, their decision to move on from Flores will look even worse.

Photo: Oct 15, 2021; Ware, United Kingdom; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) at a press conference at the Hanbury Marriott Manor and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins’ coaching change could end Deshaun Watson trade pursuit?

Deshaun Watson in pads

The Miami Dolphins were among the teams to make a coaching change on Monday, firing Brian Flores after three seasons. Miami’s coaching search will obviously have a huge impact on the direction the organization takes going forward, but the decision to fire Flores might already have signaled the direction they’re headed.

In an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” Monday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport outlined the power struggle that had taken place within the organization over quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s future. Flores was a known admirer of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, and Watson wanted to go to Miami to play for Flores. General manager Chris Grier, however, had drafted Tagovailoa and was invested in the current quarterback’s success. Owner Stephen Ross also seemed to side with Tagovailoa, as he refused to approve a trade for Watson after the Texans quarterback failed to settle his legal issues.

In other words, Flores apparently lost a power struggle over who the quarterback should be going forward. With that in mind, it stands to reason that the Dolphins will want to bring in a coach who sees Tagovailoa the same way Grier does. That could certainly mean that the Dolphins will no longer be serious suitors for Watson, which would significantly change the quarterback’s trade market.

There do appear to be other suitors popping up if the Texans do trade Watson. The Dolphins have been the favorite all along, however. That may not be the case anymore.

Photo: Aug 17, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) before a game against the Detroit Lions at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins owner offers interesting quote on Jim Harbaugh rumors

Jim Harbaugh in a Michigan hat

If the Miami Dolphins fired Brian Flores with Jim Harbaugh in mind, they certainly are not willing to admit it publicly.

The Dolphins made the most stunning move of Black Monday when they parted ways with Flores, who just led the team to a second consecutive winning season. Rumors immediately began to swirl that they must have fired Flores because they are planning to pursue Harbaugh, who may be entertaining the idea of leaving Michigan to return to the NFL.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, a Michigan alumnus, was asked about the Harbaugh speculation on Monday. He said he doesn’t want to be the one to pull Harbaugh away from his alma mater.

Of course, Ross could never admit the Dolphins already have their next head coach lined up. That would be a violation of the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for coaching vacancies.

If Harbaugh decides he is leaving Michigan, Ross would almost certainly love to have him. That is different from Ross convincing Harbaugh to bail on the Wolverines.

It’s unclear if Harbaugh would actually leave Michigan following his best season with the program. He may just be trying to secure a bigger contract from the school after taking a pay cut last year. If he does talk with NFL teams, the Dolphins and at least one other team will likely want to interview him.

Photo: Aug 31, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh before the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Did Dolphins fire Brian Flores with Jim Harbaugh in mind?

Jim Harbaugh in sunglasses

The Miami Dolphins made the most shocking move of Black Monday when they fired head coach Brian Flores. Many assume they must have made the decision with a replacement in mind. Could that replacement be Jim Harbaugh?

Harbaugh is rumored to be entertaining the idea of leaving Michigan to return to the NFL. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, a Michigan alumnus, is a big Harbaugh fan. Some within NFL circles believe Ross and the Dolphins must already have Flores’ replacement lined up, and Harbaugh makes the most sense.

According to one report, the Flores firing had nothing to do with Harbaugh potentially being open to an NFL return. ESPN’s Jeff Darlington said Flores would have been out in Miami regardless due to his deteriorating relationship with general manager Chris Grier and others.

Some are also skeptical that Ross would want to pull Harbaugh away from his alma mater. Ross is one of Michigan’s biggest boosters. The football program appeared to finally turn the corner under Harbaugh this season by defeating Ohio State, winning the Big Ten and reaching the College Football Playoff.

Harbaugh may be simply angling for a bigger contract from Michigan, but there have been reports that the Dolphins and at least one other team are interested in him.

Flores posted back-to-back winning seasons in Miami. The Dolphins finished 9-8 this year despite starting out the season 1-7. He should have no problem finding another head coaching job in the NFL.

Photo: Nov 16, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Flores fired as head coach of Dolphins

Brian Flores

The Miami Dolphins finished the regular season on a high note with a win over the New England Patriots on Sunday. They then began their offseason with a stunning move.

The Dolphins announced on Monday that they have fired head coach Brian Flores.

Flores finishes with a record of 24-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins. Miami won eight of its last nine games this year to finish 9-8, giving them back-to-back winning seasons under Flores.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that there was a “power struggle” between Flores and Dolphins general manager Chris Grier.

Flores should have no problem finding another NFL head coaching job. He was highly respected during his time as an assistant with the New England Patriots. He then turned things around in Miami after going 5-11 in his first season. Flores managed to post consecutive winning seasons despite Tua Tagovailoa’s slow development and injury issues.

It’s possible the Dolphins fired Flores with one potential replacement in mind.

Video: Patriots screwed by terrible unnecessary roughness call on fake punt

Patriots commit a penalty against Dolphins

The New England Patriots got off to a slow start in their game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, and a bad call late in the first half didn’t help.

Miami jumped out to a 14-0 lead before the Patriots appeared to come up with a big fourth-down stop late in the first quarter. The Dolphins attempted a fake punt, and punter Michael Palardy did not get to the first-down marker. However, Patriots special teamer Brandon Bolden was flagged for unnecessary roughness for hitting Palardy in the head area.

The problem is replays showed that Bolden didn’t even make contact with Palardy. Here’s the video:

Unfortunately, the play was not reviewable. You can see why the referee thought Bolden made contact, but he didn’t. The flag should have been picked up.

Instead of a turnover on downs, the Dolphins were awarded a first down. They finished the drive with a field goal to take a 17-0 lead.

Report: 2 NFL teams could pursue Jim Harbaugh as head coach

Jim Harbaugh in sunglasses

Jim Harbaugh is once again being linked to an NFL return, and a new report names two teams that could have serious interest in the Michigan coach.

The Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins could both make a run at Harbaugh, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Harbaugh has ties to the Raiders organization and is well-liked by owner Mark Davis, though Davis is also pleased with the job interim coach Rich Bisaccia has done this season. Regardless, the chance to lure Harbaugh could prove tempting to Davis if it is plausible.

The Miami Dolphins may also have interest in Harbaugh. That is largely driven by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, a Michigan alumnus and longtime fan of Harbaugh. Miami’s interest in Harbaugh is serious enough that his name was brought up earlier in the season when the organization considered a midseason coaching change. If Brian Flores is not retained, it makes sense that the Dolphins could look that way again.

What we don’t know right now is whether Harbaugh would be interested in an NFL opportunity. He just led Michigan to the College Football Playoff after beating Ohio State, the two most notable accomplishments of his Wolverines tenure to date. On one hand, he may want to stay and build on that momentum. On the other, his stock is high right now, and one recruit’s father has claimed that the NFL is still lingering on Harbaugh’s mind.

Harbaugh is appealing because of his track record of success, having taken the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in his first NFL head coaching stint. If a team wants him badly enough, it’s possible his head could be turned, though it’s probably still unlikely.

Photo: Nov 16, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins used rare defensive formation to beat Ravens

Madden engage 8

The Miami Dolphins frustrated and confused the Baltimore Ravens en route to an upset win on Thursday night. They did so with a rarely used defensive approach, and Lamar Jackson and company simply could not adjust to it.

Jackson told reporters after the game that the Dolphins ran “cover zero” most of the game. One variation of that defense is “engage eight,” which is extremely popular in the “Madden NFL” video game series. Basically, Miami committed to the run and pressuring Jackson by acting like they were eight defenders into the backfield on several plays. Jackson admitted his opponent’s approach worked masterfully.

The Dolphins rode the defense to a 22-10 victory. Jackson threw the ball a whopping 46 times but completed just 26 passes for 238 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He rushed for just 39 yards, and the Ravens had 94 rushing yards as a team.

As you can see in the video below, the Dolphins faked like they were sending eight defenders on most plays. That obviously confused Jackson and the Ravens.

The Tennessee Titans used similar formations in their playoff win over the Ravens two years ago. Logan Ryan even made the “Madden” reference after that game.

The Ravens are obviously going to have to adjust. After seeing how well Miami’s game plan worked, other teams are sure to replicate it.

It’s not easy to come up with a defense that stymies Jackson, and plenty of coaches have alluded to that in the past. Brian Flores has had a disappointing third season with the Dolphins, but he deserves a lot of credit for Thursday night’s effort.

Reason Dolphins did not trade for Deshaun Watson revealed

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson was not traded prior to the Nov. 2 deadline despite rumors that teams were exploring deals for him.

One of the teams interested in a Watson trade were the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins did not complete a trade with the Houston Texans for Watson because of one big reason.

Jay Glazer reported on FOX’s pregame show Thursday night that the Dolphins were requiring Watson to settle all of his lawsuits before they traded for him. Glazer says the Carolina Panthers, who were also interested in trading for Watson, did not have that requirement.

Glazer says the Dolphins were willing to part with the draft picks the Texans were seeking. However, the big hurdle was Watson not settling. Glazer implied that the attorney representing Watson’s accusers were using the Dolphins’ interest in Watson as leverage in settlement talks, further complicating matters.

So, to recap, Glazer says the Dolphins were not scared away by all the allegations Watson is facing. Glazer also says the Dolphins were not scared away by Houston’s trade price. But the issue was the Dolphins wanted all cases to be settled.

The attorney for the accusers actually said all this last week. He also took things a step further and said the Dolphins even wanted at least one of the women to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Watson is facing civil lawsuits from 22 women who accuse the Texans quarterback of inappropriate sexual behavior. He is also the subject of a grand jury investigation.

Photo: Aug 17, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) before a game against the Detroit Lions at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports