After a decade of mediocrity, Miami is changing its method of operation.
“We’ve been operating under a philosophy that we had a good young roster and needed maybe free agents and draft choices and we’d be very competitive. To keep operating under that philosophy would be like the definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”
Though Stephen Ross’ end-of-season direct quote was presented rather rigidly, its perception was ambiguous. Some believe the only path to salvation from mediocrity is by a full tank job – a complete bottom-out. Others demand competitive results en route to building a roster that can experience sustained success for the first time this century.
Any news release, warranted or not, will be greeted with a semblance of vitriol.
So.. um, Ross is still making football decisions? Same old Dolphins.. smdh
— Rick Bastida (@rickB_finsfan) January 14, 2019
Chris Grier has identified the next Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins, Brian Flores. In addition to naming Marvin Allen Assistant General Manager, names rumored in connection to Flores and his staff are circulating.
The uproar, this time, stems from the same concerns developed during Adam Gase’s three-year stint in Miami: hiring based on previous relationships.
What is forgotten, however, is the commonality of these types of hires. Working in an industry for the better part of two decades is going to create cliques. Grier is filling out high-ranking roles within the organization with candidates he sees fit to run a smooth operation.
And that, therein, is where the deviation from past norms becomes readily apparent.
Even people within the organization struggled to define the chain-of-command under previous regimes. Multiple titles with shared input created a foundational feeding ground for finger-pointing.
Now, as General Manager Chris Grier combs through league staffers to make this team his own, Miami has a defined chain-of-command.
While Grier maintains final say over the roster, the acquisition of his own confidant (Marvin Allen) puts an experienced talent evaluator in his corner. A former colleague of Grier’s in New England, Allen spent a year in Buffalo in 2018. Prior to that, he was the Director of College Scouting (Grier’s long-time title in Miami) in Kansas City where his program drafted a litany of all-pros including Quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
This could spell bad news for the Dolphins present scouting staff. Grier was hired to oversee the entire operation, meaning change is imminent. Incumbent Director of College Scouting Adam Engroff, who has been with franchise for 20 years, finds himself in a precarious situation. Shake-ups are reportedly coming down the pipeline.
Next, Grier was been tasked with hiring the 10th Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins. Selecting Brian Flores, a 37-year-old assistant in New England, maintains the ladder of hierarchy. Though he will have an input, Flores will heed final say of the roster to Grier.
Finally, Flores’ staff.
Rumors of Flores’ selection has been accompanied with various potential assistants. From experienced former Head Coaches, to the interest in young, modernized coordinators, Flores’ proposed hires reinforce Miami’s amended operating procedure.
Repeatedly resorting to half-measures has kept Miami on the perpetual cycle of mediocrity. Forcing a Head Coach onto a G.M., or vis versa, the vision was never aligned.
Now, with Grier at the controls, the football operation in Miami will be an allied attack moving forward.
Brian Flores’ Pre-Draft Update
Get used to this mantra, Miami Dolphins fans: Adapt or Die.
You might not find it printed on training camp t-shirts for the team to sport around, but you can expect head coach Brian Flores to repeat this line often. It’s about to become ingrained in both us and the players.
Flores spoke briefly with reporters before the team finished up their 3-day “voluntary” workout and gets ready for the upcoming NFL draft.
If you’ve heard these kind of comments before, it’s because Flores has nailed the proper, cliche proper press conference etiquette. Answers are “insightful”, but vague. He gives you an answer while also laying out all other possibilities. That said, he’ll sometimes respond with some sarcasm and wit that’ll reassure you that there is a personality inside of him.
If there is one thing we can take away from Flores’ demeanor and message, it’s that he isn’t about to tolerate the type of locker room culture that festered in Miami under Adam Gase. There will be both accountability and self-reflection; and that’s reassuring after witnessing Gase deflect blame to everyone but himself.
With the most important day of the offseason just one week away, we take a look at what Flores had to say at his press conference earlier this morning:
On the Draft:
Most important measuring tool?:
“Combination of production. Height. Weight. Speed. Intangibles. Fit. There’s a myriad of things there. To say it’s just one thing that’s important…they’re all important.”
“Is one more important than the other, I’d say no.”
“It’s the total fit of the player and how we feel they’ll fit with our team.”
Combine/Visits, what do you get out of it?:
“Try to get to know the person, that’s a big part of this.”
“Sometimes people see players as just players. You want to know about their mom, their dad, who was an important person in their life. What kind of adversity they have faced before. Does that person fit your style as a coach, your locker room, the culture you’re trying to build as a team. When you sit down with a player, you’re just trying to get to know him.”
I think Dolphins fans know this all too well after the Dez Bryant/Jeff Ireland prostitution episode back in 2010.
Flores’ Influence in the Draft:
“Chris and I definitely work well together. We speak the same language….when we come together it’s the same (language)”
“Have had (and) will have discussions on different scenarios (throughout the draft)”
On his New/Hybrid Defense:
What kind of players do you need for your Hybrid defense?:
“We need good players.”
“I think as a coach, you get a good player, (and you ask yourself) what does he do well? You try and do that.”
“That’s the good thing about having a versatile scheme, it fits a good player.”
“You try and get the best player and I feel me and my staff can fit what we’re going to do around that player.”
“Some guys are going to have a better fit than others, but you have to put the whole fit together.”
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 17, 2019
On Identity of this Team:
“You know, call it what you want.”
“I’m going to get my team to play hard. Play together. Play with good fundamentals and technique. Play as a team. Put the team first. You have to try and get 11 guys to play together and that’s a hard thing to accomplish as a coach.”
“That’s my goal, you can call it whatever you want. ‘The Patriot Way’….to me, it’s just good football.”
Flores seems to understand that he’s going to live under Bill Belichick‘s shadow for awhile, especially if he is unsuccessful. Seems like he’s also getting a little tired of it….and I kind of like it. I’m glad he’ll have this chip on his shoulder to prove that he isn’t just a Belichick clone. Then again, judging by all Flores has gone through, he doesn’t need this chip to drive him.
Does he expect his players to be on time?:
“If you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late, and if you’re late you’re forgotten.”
“Is it a rule, no, it’s my personal mantra.”
“I have a lot of respect for time. I think it’s precious; we shouldn’t take it for granted. If you want to stay on schedule you have to stay on time.”
“We have a schedule, it’s laid out pretty well.”
There is absolutely no bull**** from Brian Flores when it comes to practice! That’s not to say Adam Gase or any of the other prior head coaches were more-lenient, but you get the feeling that Flores isn’t going to tolerate players who believe they are bigger than the team.
Gase showed a similar coaching style when he traded Jay Ajayi and released players like Byron Maxwell and Jordan Phillips, but that never translated to a productive locker room culture. It’ll be interesting to see how Flores’ style compares.
On His “Right-Hand Man”:
“Pick any of the 20 guys, they’re all my right-hand men.”
“We work well together. (We) try and put a staff together that embodies what I want our team to reflect.
“I want to be tough, I want to be smart, I want to work well together.”
On Mike Gesicki:
“Mike is a good, young player. Talented. Like everyone else on this team, there are places he can improve, develop, get better. As a young player, there’s a lot of room for development. Mike’s working hard. We see what everyone else sees: he has size, speed, can catch the ball.”
On Raekwon McMillian and Jerome Baker:
“Raekwon is big. Fast. Physical. (Has) good leadership. Smart. Can play a few different positions. (A) good, young player.”
“Jerome is another skilled player. Fast. Good tackler. Raekwon is a good tackler as well. Smart. Can do a few different things. Can cover; which, obviously in this league, going in a passing direction, it’s good to have an LB that can cover.”
“We’re glad to have them both.”
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 18, 2019
On Jake Rudock and Luke Falk:
“Like everyone else, they’re working hard. They are doing everything possible to try and improve their techniques, fundamentals. Footwork. Ball Handling. They’re doing a really good job. All 3 quarterbacks.”
“We’re excited to see what they can do moving forward.”
Flores couldn’t be more generic with the assessment of his players. Even going back to when he discussed Charles Harris at a previous press conference, Flores tends to speak about his players vaguely, as if to avoid tipping his hand in any regard.
From a player’s perspective, it’s nice to know your coach won’t throw you under the bus and will keep things private. From our fan perspective, it means we just have to go through every possible adjective and scenario with him. He’s not lying when one of them has to be true.
On his Mother’s Passing:
“It was hard. She’s someone I think about on a daily basis. Wish she was here to enjoy this with us, but she’s with me all the time.”
“She wouldn’t’ want me to dwell or be upset and she would want me to have peace.”
“I’m sad. I’m unhappy. I miss her. But I have peace knowing I did everything I can to make her proud.”
On New Surprises as a Head Coach:
“(I have had) A lot of conversations with head coaches around the league…one thing they said is something would come across your desk every day.”
“(That’s) kind of my approach coming in, being adaptable. A mantra of our team: ‘adapt or die’.”
“Part of (the job) is allowing other people to lead.”
Dolphins Live: Coach Flores meets with the media ahead of voluntary minicamp. https://t.co/9ttTAJHL2R
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 18, 2019
Miami Dolphins 2019 Vegas Slant Schedule Breakdown
Future opponents are known years in advance in the NFL. With the exception of two games decided by divisional standing finish, fourteen opponents are determined based on the schedule rotation. The order in which those games will occur, like everything else the NFL does, has become a primetime event.
While the luck of the draw factors heavily (in-season injuries, particular teams playing their best/worst ball at a certain time of year, etc.) the order of the games provides intriguing details.
Traveling for a Thursday night game, for instance, is an extreme disadvantage for the visitor. The infamous “trap game” can occur when a team faces a lesser opponent before taking on a heavyweight. Lastly, for a team like the Dolphins, weather implications are always worth noting.
This column refers to the favors, or lack thereof, that the NFL gave the Dolphins based purely on travel, trap games, etcetera.
Week 1 – BALTIMORE RAVENS – September 8, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Ravens Sandwich Game: Week 2 Cardinals
September victories are difficult to come by for teams visiting Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins haven’t lost such an affair since 2015 with a multitude of early-season upsets under the franchise’s belt this century (2014 vs. New England and 2005 vs. Denver, most notably).
Baltimore’s ground-and-pound attack could have a converse affect, however, as the Dolphins defensive conditioning will have to be on-point from the word go.
Week 2 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – September 15, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Patriots Sandwich Games: Week 1 vs. Pittsburgh, Week 3 vs. NY Jets
New England’s 2018 meltdown in Miami came one week prior to a trip to Heinz Field. Now, the Pats will travel back to Tom Brady’s house of horrors in Miami one week after kicking the season off in primetime against those same Steelers.
This won’t serve as a trap game given the recent outcomes of games between these two teams, but Miami is catching the Pats at the right time. Over the last two seasons New England are just 4-4 in the first quarter of the schedule (September games), a .250-point decrease in winning percentage from their cumulative record.
Week 3 – @ Dallas Cowboys – September 22, 1:00 EST AT&T Stadium
Cowboys Sandwich Games: Week 2 @ Washington, Week 4 @ Saints
This is a classic trap game for the Cowboys. Coming off a game with its biggest rival, then heading to the toughest building to play in, in the NFC, the opportunity for Miami to steal a road win against a sleep-walking favorite is in the cards.
Week 4 – Los Angeles Chargers- September 29, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Chargers Sandwich Games: Week 3 @Texans, Week 5 Broncos
The early time slot for a west coast team is one of the biggest advantages, statistically, in football. The Chargers historically struggle in Miami but the talent discrepancy is probably too great for any of these advantages to factor in.
Week 5 – BYE WEEK
After a week-11 bye last year, Miami gets the burden of an early off-week. The Dolphins will play out the string for 12 weeks with zero breaks in between.
Week 6 – Washington – October 13, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Washington Sandwich Games: Week 5 @Patriots, Week 7 49ers
A let down following a potential beat down in New England bodes well for Miami. Washington is probably the one team on this entire schedule that Miami can matchup with from a talent perspective.
Week 7 – @ Buffalo Bills – October 20, 1:00 EST New Era Field
Bills Sandwich Games: Week 6 BYE, Week 8 Eagles
Miami’s first game against a team coming off a bye, in a building that has only provided the setting for one Miami win in the last five years, this one stacks the deck against the Dolphins.
Week 8 – @ Pittsburgh Steelers – October 28, 5:25 EST MONDAY Heinz Field
Steelers Sandwich Games: Week 7 BYE, Week 9 Colts
Another game, another opponent coming off of a bye. The Steelers will have the benefit of a 15-day break prior to lacing it up for Miami in primetime. The Dolphins road primetime woes should be noted as well – Miami are 0-for-it’s-last 8 in those games.
Week 9 – New York Jets – November 3, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Jets Sandwich Games: Week 8 @Jaguars, Week 10 Giants
The Adam Gase game will certainly have both teams on notice. The man that holds a grudge like no other will certainly have this date circled on his calendar, as will the countless Dolphins players that grew tired of Gase’s shtick. This might be the most entertaining football game Miami plays all season.
Week 10 – @ Indianapolis Colts – November 10, 1:00 EST Lucas Oil Stadium
Colts Sandwich Games: Week 9 @Steelers, Week 11 Jaguars
With a potentially crucial divisional game on-deck with the Jaguars, the Colts could fall victim to overlooking Miami here. The Colts are a difficult out in that building and are quietly building up one of the most talented rosters in the AFC.
Week 11 – Buffalo Bills – November 17, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Bills Sandwich Games: Week 10 @Browns, Week 12 Broncos
Divisional games rarely adhere to traditional trap procedures. Ideally the Dolphins would catch the Bills in September, but the week-7 trip to Western New York offsets the lack of weather advantages. This game should see peak effort from both teams.
Week 12 – @ Cleveland Browns – November 24, 1:00 EST First Energy Stadium
Browns Sandwich Games: Week 11 Steelers (TNF), Week 13 @Steelers
Somehow the NFL has this strange scheduling procedure where teams play each other twice over a three-week period. Cleveland sandwiches its two games with the Steelers with a home date against your Miami Dolphins – that’s the ultimate trap.Cleveland’s benefit comes from having 10 days to prepare for Brian Flores and Miami.
Week 13 – Philadelphia Eagles – December 1, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Eagles Sandwich Games: Week 12 Seahawks, Week 14 Giants
With a pivotal NFC matchup on the front end, and a divisional game on the backend, Philadelphia is in a potential trap game situation. The Dolphins home field advantage serves as another beneficial factor in this game as the weather contract between Philadelphia and Miami, in December, is stark.
Week 14 – @ New York Jets – December 8, 1:00 EST Met Life Stadium
Jets Sandwich Games: Week 13 @Bengals, Week 15 @Ravens (TNF)
The game before a road trip on a short week typically favors the opposition – that’s the spot the Adam Gase finds himself in here when the Jets welcome Miami to the Meadowlands. With two NFC games bookending this game for the Dolphins, this is a great spot for Miami to steal a road win.
Week 15 – @ New York Giants – December 15, 1:00 EST Met Life Stadium
Giants Sandwich Games: Week 14 @Eagles, Week 16 @ Washington
This is a trap game for both teams, believe it or not. A non-conference game, sandwiched by two divisional games, has the makings for a let down on either side. If the season plays out as expected, this game could have massive implications on the race for Tua Tagovailoa.
Week 16 – Cincinnati Bengals – December 22, 1:00 EST Hard Rock Stadium
Bengals Sandwich Games: Week 15 @Patriots, Week 17 Browns
Like the previous game, this might set up as a draft positioning game. Both teams that figure to finish at, or near, the bottom of their respective divisions, playing out the string with rookie coaches, there isn’t much of an advantage to take away from this one.
Week 17 – @ New England Patriots – December 29, 1:00 EST Gillette Stadium
Patriots Sandwich Games: Week 16 Bills
For the second consecutive year, the Patriots finish the season with two divisional home games – seems fishy, doesn’t it? The only potential saving grace here, for the ‘Phins, is that New England could have the AFC East wrapped up, as they typically do every year.
This is, no doubt, a difficult road to hoe for Miami. The order of the games, the stacks of road trips, it’s a lot to put on the plate of a first year head coach trying to set a foundation.
The troops of the tank train should be satisfied with this gamete — it likely puts Miami in a hole that will be difficult to climb out of, especially given Ryan Fitzpatrick’s medical history.
For more on this schedule, tune in to the Locked On Dolphins podcast – your daily dose of Miami Dolphins football.
Miami Dolphins Complete 2019 Schedule
Before ESPN, NFL Network, local beat writers – before anybody on the scene, Locked On Dolphins broke the 2018 Dolphins schedule. 2019 is shaping up to be the same. Keep it locked on this thread for updates from our source in the industry to get you the latest on Miami’s 2019 slate.
After the schedule release we will break things down with a column similar to the last year’s analysis.
Tomorrow’s Locked On Dolphins Podcast will be all about Miami’s 2019 schedule.
|5||—||— BYE WEEK–||—|
|8||10/28||@ Steelers||8:15 MNF|
*BOLD denotes home game
- Brian Flores’ Pre-Draft Update April 18, 2019
- Miami Dolphins 2019 Vegas Slant Schedule Breakdown April 17, 2019
- Miami Dolphins Complete 2019 Schedule April 17, 2019
- Chris Grier Updates Status of Miami Dolphins – 4/17/19 April 17, 2019
- Miami Dolphins Voluntary Workout Update – 4/17/19 April 17, 2019