It’s not official, but the Dolphins have zeroed in on the Patriots’ defensive playcaller.

It looks like he last open head coaching spot will soon be filled, with the Miami Dolphins closing in on Patriots linebackers coach and defensive playcaller Brian Flores. The 37-year-old Flores will be replacing former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, who was recently hired to the rival New York Jets.

If Flores does in fact land the Dolphins job, Flores will be tasked with rebuilding one of the worst defenses in the league this season. The Dolphins ranked 25th in defensive DVOA, 27th in big play rate, and 27th in sack percentage.

Flores has had a role with the Patriots since coming on as a scouting assistant in 2004. New England is the only NFL team Flores has experience working for.

Here are a few pros and cons to consider if Flores is hired by the Dolphins — a deal that can’t be finalized until the Patriots’ season officially ends. They’re set to play the Chargers Sunday in the Divisional Round.

The case for hiring Flores

  • Even though the Patriots didn’t have a great pass rush, ranking 31st in sack percentage, the Patriots still had a solid defense. New England ranked 16th in defensive DVOA and gave up 20.3 points per game this season, which was good for sixth in the league.
  • The Patriots pass defense got better under Flores, who assumed playcalling duties after former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was hired by the Lions. In 2017 under Patricia, the Patriots defense gave up 7.3 yards per pass attempt, 25th in the league. In 2018 that number jumped to 6.9 yards per attempt, which ended up being sixth in the league amidst an offensive explosion.
  • Flores has experience coaching just about every aspect of a football team. He’s been a special teams assistant, an offensive assistant, safeties coach, linebackers coach, and defensive playcaller.
  • Bill Belichick praised Brian Flores’ teaching ability during the 2018 preseason.
  • Miami has two young linebackers in Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker that played well this past season and Flores could be the coach they need to take their game to the next level.
  • Hiring Flores gives the NFL another minority head coach, after five of them lost their jobs at the close of the regular season.

The case against hiring Flores

  • Bill Belichick assistants haven’t gone on to have great success once they leave New England.
  • The Dolphins’ offense wasn’t anything to be excited about this season. Miami scored just 19.9 points per game, ranking 26th in the league. The offensive coordinator hire for Flores will be imperative to his hire.
  • If the Dolphins’ offense does have success over the coming years, their offensive coordinator will likely be poached as a head coach candidate to another team.
  • Flores only has one year of playcalling experience that came this past season. It’s unclear exactly how much influence he’s going to have on a play-to-play basis as a first-time head coach.

Brian Flores is a bit of a mystery as a head coaching candidate. He only has one season of playcalling experience and the success of his tenure will largely be on the back of the offensive staff that he fills out.

Miami also has a question at quarterback. If they don’t bring back Ryan Tannehill for another season, they’ll likely be in the market for a veteran quarterback and a rookie quarterback with their first-round pick, which is the 13th pick in the draft.

Perhaps Flores will be one of the few Belichick disciples that has real success as a head coach, but until the hiring is announced and his staff is filled out, it’s hard to be too positive or negative on Flores in either direction.

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