Why did the Dolphins fire Brian Flores? Power struggle with GM Chris Grier leads to coach’s departure

The biggest impact of the NFL’s “Black Monday” is on. The Dolphins are parting ways with Brian Flores after just three seasons.

Flores, 40, was seen as a rising star among NFL coaches. He posted a 24-25 record during his three seasons in Miami, but his last two seasons were winners and during the first, the Dolphins had arguably the worst roster in the NFL. It was an achievement that they were 5-11, as there was legitimate talk that they were a 0-16 team.

Flores never made the playoffs with the Dolphins, but had a 10-7 season in 2020 and missed the final spot as a wild card. Additionally, the Dolphins’ defense improved each season under his supervision from a lower-tier unit than an average but opportunistic group. They finished first in takeout in 2020 and eighth in the category in 2021.

Regardless, Miami has decided to leave Flores after a 9-8 season in which its team won eight of its last nine games. Why did the Dolphins choose to part ways with Flores? Here’s what we know about Miami’s decision.

Why did the Dolphins fire Brian Flores?

Dolphins issued a statement to shed some light on their decision to part ways with Brian Flores. Owner Stephen Ross hinted that there were some organizational conflicts that led to their parting ways with Flores.

“Today I made the decision to part ways with Brian Flores,” Ross said. “After evaluating where we are as an organization and what we need to improve, I determined that the key dynamics of our soccer organization were not working at the level that I wanted and I felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins. I believe that We have a young and talented roster and we have a chance to be that much better in 2022. I want to thank Brian for his hard work and wish him the best in his future. “

So what were these “key dynamics” that were “not working” in Miami? According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, there was “frustration and tension” between Flores and general manager Chris Grier.

“This has been simmering for the last, I would say more than a month,” Rapoport said during an appearance on “Good Morning Football.”

What followed as a result of those troubles was a power struggle. Grier, who has been with the Dolphins since 2016, won.

On what issues did Flores and Grier collide? As Rapoport reports, it was about the team’s lack of success in using their generosity of draft capital to improve the team.

“You look at some of the personnel moves that the Miami Dolphins have made and haven’t made, certainly the frustration is understandable,” Rapoport said. “Several first-round picks haven’t paid off and it seemed, as far as coach Brian Flores is concerned, that certainly could be things that could be done better.”

The Dolphins have had six first-round picks since Flores joined the team. They have been a mixed bag. The 2019 and 2021 classes produced some solid pieces on Jaylen Waddle, Jaelan Phillips, and Christian Wilkins.

However, the 2020 class has not been that strong. Tua Tagovailoa seems unproven, especially compared to Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, while Austin Jackson has struggled as a starter on the offensive line. And his third first-round pick of that draft, Noah Igbinoghene, was largely a healthy scratch during his second season.

As such, Flores had a reason to be frustrated. But evidently Ross didn’t see it that way and chose to stay with Grier instead of Flores.

“This was always going to be one way or another,” Rapoport said of the situation. “It was going to be Flores or Grier. Obviously, a big surprise that Brian Flores is the one who ends up out.”

Who will replace Brian Flores in Miami?

One name immediately caught the attention of Dolphins fans upon learning of Flores’ departure. Jim Harbaugh is considering returning to the NFL after leading Michigan to the college football playoff last season.

Ross, the owner of the Dolphins, is a Michigan man and previously tried to lure Harbaugh to Miami, so he was supposed to come back to find Harbaugh during this training cycle. However, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reports that Miami is not targeting the Michigan coach and will instead turn its attention elsewhere.

It’s unclear exactly what qualities the Dolphins will be looking for in a new coach, but it stands to reason that they are looking for someone with an offensive background to help Tagovailoa develop during the third year of his rookie contract. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has been a hot name in the coaching market for years, so he could fit in with the Dolphins.

If the Dolphins are looking for a more proven coach option, Jim Caldwell is in the market. He served as an assistant head coach and quarterback coach with the Dolphins in 2019 and would be a safe option to help fix Miami’s offense. Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien could also be considered.

How Brian Flores’ departure impacts Deshaun Watson’s draw

The other element of this firing is how it could affect the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes. Rapoport reports that Flores’ presence was one of the main reasons Watson was willing to give up his no-trade clause to join the Dolphins. Now that possibility is less certain.

“Brian Flores was a big reason Deshaun Watson wanted to be in Miami,” Rapoport said. “With Flores gone, is it still like this? Has that changed? Is it much more open in the Deshaun Watson draw that will take place in March? There are a lot of questions in the future now.”

Maybe if the Dolphins hired a coach Watson respects, like Bieniemy, he would still consider going to South Beach. That said, will the Dolphins want to go after Watson without Flores? Or will Grier stick with his Tagovailoa draft pick while he seeks his balance? Time will tell, but Watson’s suitor list may have dwindled by one due to the Dolphins’ decision.