The Dolphins are mired in a five-game losing streak, and their disappointing defeat at the hands of the Jaguars in London last week has led to plenty of speculation about head coach Brian Flores‘ future in Miami. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Flores is indeed on the hot seat.
A 10-win effort in 2020 seemed to indicate that better days were ahead for the Fins, but Flores’ club has taken a major step back this year. Even last season, many players did not like Flores’ handling of then-rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa, who was yanked out of several games early in favor of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Of course, winning can ease a lot of tension, and while Tagovailoa has not been benched in favor of backup Jacoby Brissett this season — either in-game or otherwise — the 1-5 start to the 2021 campaign has intensified other issues in the Dolphins’ locker room.
For instance, Flores reportedly has a difficult time connecting with his players, and the constant overhaul of his coaching staff has also led to consternation. Said one source with direct knowledge of the situation, “[t]here is a really negative vibe down there right now. A lot of players do not trust (Flores). Flo thinks he is a player’s coach, with an open-door policy, but I know a number of players who would tell you they don’t really think he is approachable enough, or flexible.”
Many coaches who come from the Bill Belichick coaching tree unsuccessfully attempt to replicate Belichick’s business-like approach with the Patriots, and Flores — who coached under Belichick in New England for 11 years — is apparently no exception. La Canfora’s source added, “[t]here is still too much of that New England (stuff) going on. It just doesn’t work. There is a psychology to handling players and building a team, and you have to be able to connect and motivate. That’s not the vibe there. It’s pretty bad.”
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is concerned about the direction of his team, and he and Flores are rumored to be at odds over the potential acquisition of embattled passer Deshaun Watson. Obviously, Tagovailoa’s fate would be greatly impacted by a Watson deal, and while Flores has publicly endorsed Tagovailoa on several occasions, La Canfora says the third-year head coach and his staff have never really embraced the young southpaw.
If Miami is able to consummate a Watson trade, it does not sound like Tagovailoa would be part of the package heading back to Houston. La Canfora reports that clubs who have been connected to Tagovailoa in the past — a group that presumably includes the Texans — are not interested in acquiring him at this time.
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