The news we've essentially known for weeks is now official: Miami's new head coach is Brian Flores.
"Two things that stand out immediately when you meet Brian are his football intelligence and leadership skills," Dolphins GM Chris Grier said, per a press release from the team. "Brian is widely respected throughout the NFL. He paid his dues in New England working in personnel, on offense, defense and special teams, which helped him build a great understanding of what it takes to win. If you talk with anyone who has played for him or worked with him, you will hear about his ability to lead and get the most out of people. Brian sets a high standard for his players and coaches and we are completely aligned with our vision on how to build a successful organization."
Flores shined in his first season as de facto defensive coordinator of the Patriots, especially late in the season. New England held opponents to just 15.6 points per game in its final six contests (including all three postseason games), managing to shut down the high-powered Chiefs for a half of football before Kansas City adjusted and nearly wrested the AFC crown from the Patriots. His banner game came with two weeks of preparation under the direction of Bill Belichick, bottling up a Rams offense that was second in the NFL in scoring and drew praises from all corners for its effectiveness. That unit scored just three points against the Patriots.
A variety of stunts and different defensive looks confused Los Angeles' offensive line, allowing pressure up the middle and frazzling Goff through three quarters. By the time Goff started to get on track, the damage had already been done, and a Stephon Gilmore interception effectively ended Los Angeles' hopes in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever.
Statistically over the course of the entire season, the Patriots weren't all that imposing defensively. But as Flores and his defenders became more comfortable with each other, the unit strengthened, helping New England become a ground-pounding offense and a complete defense that lacked stars but predictably did its job well. That approach produced yet another Lombardi Trophy.
It has also earned Flores a head-coaching opportunity, and he won't even have to leave the AFC East for it.
"I wasn't in a rush to become a head coach. I really wasn't," Flores said during his introductory press conference Monday. "I had a good job in New England. I wasn't in a rush. I talked this over with (Flores' wife) Jenny and my family and we said 'we're not going to be in a rush. It's got to be the right fit, it's got to be the right place,' we had to have the right feel. When I met with (GM) Chris (Grier), (owner) Steve (Ross), (president and CEO) Tom (Garfinkel), (vice chairman) Matt (Higgins), (VP of football administration) Brandon (Shore), we came out of that and Jenny will tell you, I was excited when I came out of that meeting. That's where I wanted to be. I'm thankful that I'm a part of this organization now.
"We're going to do everything possible to win games and build culture and build a winner here."
Flores takes over a Dolphins team that parted ways with Adam Gase after three seasons. Gase produced an AFC Wild Card berth in 2016, but followed it with consecutive losing seasons as the Dolphins battled injuries in each of his final two campaigns. Miami's swift descent into the abyss at the end of 2018 was the final blow to Gase's tenure in South Florida.
Prior to serving as the defensive play-caller in 2018, Flores coached linebackers from 2016-2018 and was a defensive assistant in New England since 2011. Flores has been part of the Patriots organization since joining as a scouting assistant in 2004.