Dolphins expected to hire Patriots' Brian Flores as HC

The Miami Dolphins are keeping it in the division when it comes to their head coach search.

The Dolphins have focused their search on Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores for the position and are expected to hire him, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

New England is still in the playoffs, so the Dolphins can't strike a deal officially with him until the Patriots are eliminated, but they intend to secure his services when able, Rapoport added.

A three-year letter-winning linebacker at Boston College, Flores has worked for the Patriots since 2004, first breaking into the organization in the personnel department as a scouting assistant and eventually transitioning into coaching as an assistant in 2008. He's served in a variety of roles: defensive assistant, offensive assistant/special teams coach, safeties coach and finally, linebackers coach. This season also saw him take over defensive playcalling duties after the departure of Matt Patricia, and the results bode well. New England finished seventh in the NFL in points allowed per game (20.3).

Overall, one fact is clear: Flores has traveled a winding, blue, red and silver road to this point and has gained the experience necessary for a head coaching job. With the backing of positive reviews from multiple Patriots staffers, per Rapoport, Miami has deemed him ready to take the position.

He'll be stepping into a franchise that might be in the midst of some change. The Dolphins finished 27th in the league in points allowed per game (27.1), navigated a treacherous road that included the team being forced to start Brock Osweiler at quarterback, and stumbled down the stretch to a 7-9 finish. They are expected to do some internal rebuilding and the organization believes Flores is the man to lead those efforts as the face of the franchise, Rapoport reported.

Upon confirmation of his hiring in Miami, Flores will become the second Patriots defensive playcaller to be hired as a head coach elsewhere in as many seasons.

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