After the team ended the season so incredibly hot, many were surprised by Flores' firing. But to only look at the last eight games of this past season would be missing the forest for the trees.
Let's have a serious, grown-up talk about why Mike "McCoachin'' McDaniel is replacing Brian Flores as Miami Dolphins head coach.
“You cannot neglect the human element that always wins in this game.”— QB COLLECTIVE (@QBCollective) February 17, 2022
Frank Smith, Miami Dolphins OC
on the importance of a deeper personal investment in players to help them achieve their best. #FinsUp #WeAreCollective #OneVision pic.twitter.com/uTPRhydjcl
Human ResourcesFootball is still a people business. Teamwork and having the best folks pulling in the same direction makes the game a lot easier and gives those who succeed in those areas a significant edge. Brian Flores was terrible at this, constantly shuffling coaches he didn't agree with.
Flores fired an offensive-line coach just hours after arriving in Miami — a coach he'd hired. He had more offensive coordinators than years as head coach. It doesn't (and shouldn't) work that way.
Meanwhile, McDaniel has already assembled a respected staff that includes former Dolphins cornerbacks Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison.
Diversified ExperienceBrian Flores coached under Bill Belichick in New England from 2004 all the way up until his time in Miami. Flores saw things done one way: the Patriots' way.
Mike McDaniel served as an assistant coach for the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons, and San Francisco 49ers. McDaniel has apprenticed under some of the best brains in the NFL along the way, including San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and current Super Bowl champion head coach Sean McVay of the Rams.
Offensive ExpertiseThe Super Bowl used to be won with a strong defense and good running game. These days, it's all about who can score the most points and just be average on defense. Ever since Flores came to Miami, the Dolphins have been playing with one hand tied behind their back. They'd throw good defense on the field only to bring on a disastrous offense, which revealed more about the failures of the coaching staff than the players.
McDaniel is an offensive savant. This is exactly who the Miami Dolphins need at a time when they are trying to figure out if their quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, is the guy. Now, they can dedicate all resources to making the offense the best it can be, and let the talent on defense speak for itself.
Players SatisfactionAs mentioned above, the NFL is a people business. The product is people and their performances. Under Flores, players walked on eggshells. Former Dolphins players, including Kenny Stills, spoke of Flores as a man who made it his way or the highway.
Mike McDaniel, on the other hand, is loved by his former players and can give the Dolphins roster a jolt of humility and unity that has been sorely lacking. Under McDaniel, Dolphins players will be free to play looser, be themselves, and, finally, be backed by a coaching staff that prepares them for games.
ResultsFor some reason, the narrative defending Brian Flores's tenure in Miami is that his results were on the upswing. Did the Dolphins win eight of their last nine games of the season? Yes. Did they start the season by losing seven of their first eight? Also yes. That's the equivalent of a diet plan where folks eat a lot of pizza during the first half of the month, and then lose the extra pounds during the other half by fasting and jumping on the Peloton seven times a day. Flores should be judged for both halves of the season.
He leaves Miami with a 24-25 record. While that may look decent by Miami Dolphins standards, it's not. The standard should never be just a little bit better than your franchise's putrid track record.
Ultimately, the Dolphins decided to move on from a man who was a chore to be around, an average head coach, and, at the end of the day, one who wasn't good enough at convincing other quality coaches Miami was the place to be. Any high executive at a billion-dollar company wouldn't enjoy comfortable job security with these strikes on their résumé. Flores is no different.