The Miami Dolphins introduced the tenth full-time, and thirteenth overall, head coach in team history on Monday, welcoming Brian Flores to South Florida. A day after Flores won the Super Bowl as the defensive play caller and linebackers coach for the New England Patriots, he moved to South Florida and signed his deal to take over as the top coach for the Dolphins.
Flores joins the Dolphins after 15 seasons with the Patriots, starting as a scouting assistant and working in the front office for four years before moving over to be a special teams assistant coach, then an offensive assistant, and then over to the defense. He has worked with the safeties and the linebackers, as well as working as the de facto defensive coordinator this past year calling plays despite not having the title.
Flores began his introductory press conference thanking his family and the mentors he has had leading up to being one of 32 NFL head coaches. “It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours,” Flores said. “I just want to start by first thanking my wife Jenny and our three beautiful kids – Miles and Maxwell and Liliana. Say hi guys. Without them … I do all of this for them. Without the support of my wife and my family, this couldn’t be done. I’d also like to thank my parents. My parents, they’re back home in North Attleborough (Massachusetts). My mom – as a lot of you have read – she’s dealing with breast cancer. This would not be possible without the two of them – my mom and my father. They’ve been the rocks for me. My core beliefs, my foundation, started with them and I definitely wouldn’t be here without them. I’d like to thank the Kraft family and Coach Belichick. I was there for 15 years. It was an incredible experience. What a great organization and what a great place for me to learn and grow and just become the best version of myself. I’m very fortunate. I’m humbled by this opportunity and they’ve been incredible to me. My high school head coach is sitting right there. His name is Dino Mangiero. A couple of things about him: he’s another person … I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great mentors, great coaches, a great family, and he’s definitely at the top of that list. I can’t say enough good things about him. Some of the things I preach to my players now, I learned from him. There’s not a lot of fields in Brooklyn, but we found one over there. We found one for us to work on, to play on and get better on. I just want to say thank you to him.”
Miami’s head coach then started discussing his move to the Dolphins, and how he was prepared to stay in New England if the fit was not right in Miami. “As far as this opportunity, I’m humbled; I’m grateful,” he stated. “I wasn’t in a rush to become a head coach. I really wasn’t. I had a good job in New England. I wasn’t in a rush. I talked this over with Jenny and my family. We talked about it, we said, ‘We’re not going to be in a rush. It has got to be the right fit. It has got to be the right place. You have to have the right feel.’ And when I met with Chris (Grier, Dolphins general manager), Steve (Ross, Dolphins owner), Tom (Garfinkel, Dolphins president and CEO), Matt (Higgins, Dolphins vice chairman) and Brandon (Shore, Dolphins vice president of football administration), 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 the culture and build a winner here. I’ll do everything in my power and work as hard as possible to make that happen. So, thank you. This is a great opportunity for me and my family. We’re going to try to make the Dolphins and this community – this is a great community and great fan base – we’re going to try to make you proud.”
Flores discussed a little more specifically about the fit and comfort level that made Miami feel like the right job for him and his family. “I think our vision and our core beliefs and our core philosophy of how to build a team, they were aligned,” he explained. “That was one of the things for me, going through the process of interviewing. I told every team this – if our beliefs aren’t aligned, then don’t hire me, because if they’re not aligned, then it’s not going to work. If they’re not aligned, it doesn’t work.”
The media asked Flores about the various positions he held within the Patriots organization, and if those experiences will help him as a head coach. He replied, “I think when you’re in a leadership position, you’re dealing with all facets of the organization, so those experiences definitely helped me. Whether it was offense, defense, special teams, personnel, driving people around, getting dry cleaning – all of those experiences definitely helped me kind of understand the inner-workings of the organization and how to lead. I would say I really feel like there’s no job that I really haven’t done. I know what other people in the organization are going through. I respect everyone, their jobs and the way they conduct themselves and I think that’s really gone a long way for me.”
As for the short-term and long-term plans for the Dolphins, Flores explained, “I would say that every week, we’re going to go out there with the idea that we’re going to win a game. There’s going to be pain involved in that, too. There’s definitely bumps in the road. There’s no doubt about that. In this game, there’s ups, there’s downs. That’s part of this game. That’s part of leadership, dealing with adversity. There will be some pain. We know that. But there’s pain for every team. We had some this year in New England. We overcame them, and I think that’s the kind of attitude and resolve I want to see from a team that I’m coaching.”
He continued, telling the media how he plans to fix the 18-year playoff-win drought and 40-year span without winning Super Bowl. “You fix that on a day-to-day basis,” Flores said. “Everyone tries to improve every day. You take it one day at a time. There is a selflessness and a ‘put the team first’ attitude that you have to have, and that goes from the owner to the general manager to the head coach to the people who clean up at nighttime. If you can get everybody to buy into that, then good things will happen. I believe that.”
As for his personal philosophy, it really does center around simply being selfless. “I believe in hard work,” Flores stated. “I believe in putting the team first. I believe in having people, a group … I believe in team. I would say that. I believe that people have to work together. If you want to strive to do something great as a group, you’ve got to work together. So there is a selflessness in that. There’s a ‘put the team first’ attitude in that and obviously there’s a process and a structure to that as well, and I would say those were aligned from that standpoint. Overall, I can’t stray too far. Those are my core beliefs and that’s where I would go there.”
The Dolphins will now start building the coaching staff underneath Flores and start combining the front office’s views and plans for the offseason with what Flores would like. Some of the hires are believed to be known, including, Chad O’Shea, Patriots receivers coach, as the team’s offensive coordinator; Patrick Graham, Green Bay Packers linebacker coach, as the team’s defensive coordinator; Danny Crossman, former Buffalo Bills special teams coordinator, at the same role with the Dolphins; and, Jim Caldwell, former Detroit Lions head coach, as the team’s quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach.
Those hires have not been made official yet.