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NFL rumors: Dolphins “expected to hire” Patriots defensive signal caller Brian Flores as head coach

Flores appears to be the frontrunner for the Miami job.

NFL: AFC Championship-Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Whew, news moves quickly. Per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Dolphins “are expected to hire” Flores once the Patriots’ season ends. SI’s Albert Breer confirms that the Dolphins are expected to hire Flores, too. Both Rapoport and Breer are former Patriots beat writers and are certainly tapped into the team.

The Dolphins can’t hire Flores until the Patriots’ season ends- and as we saw how things can change last year with Josh McDaniel and the Indianapolis Colts- so there’s still time for the story to change. Bill Belichick will probably approach Flores about retaining his services and promoting him to defensive coordinator after the Patriots’ season ends.

UPDATE: According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport and previously reported by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the Miami Dolphins have “narrowed the focus of their [head coaching] search” to Flores.

Florio previously noted that Flores was the “leader” for the Dolphins’ head coaching job, ahead of New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and Dallas Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard.

It’s pretty clear that the Dolphins want a defensive minded coach to lead their team and Flores is a great option. I wonder if Bill Belichick will step in to retain Flores and keep him away from a division rival.

Earlier this week, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels announced that he will return to the club in 2019 after once again being right at the center of head coaching rumors. Together with offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia’s indirect confirmation that he will also be back, this is good news for the overall stability of the Patriots’ staff. However, there is still not guarantee that it will look the same next year.

After all, one coach still appears to be very much in the race for a head coaching position: defensive signal caller Brian Flores. Multiple teams have asked the Patriots about interviewing him and it now looks like one of them has him atop their list of possible candidates to hire. According to a report by USA Today’s Mike Jones, the Miami Dolphins are “leaning towards offering the gig to Flores.’

The 39-year old is one of two coaches considered as Miami’s main targets, the other being Dallas Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard. As opposed to Richard, who served as the Seattle Seahawks’ coordinator from 2015 to 2017, Flores has never held a similar title in his career. While serving as New England’s play caller, he has not yet been named defensive coordinator — a role that officially remains open since the departure of Matt Patricia in February 2018.

It remains to be seen whether or not the Dolphins really feel confident going with a relatively unexperienced option like Flores (although one that has a diverse background in coaching and scouting) to fill the role vacated by the firing of now-New York Jets head coach Adam Gase. What’s also unclear is if he would even consider leaving New England at this point to take over a Miami team in flux that will face the Patriots twice a year.

After a playing career at Boston College, Flores joined the Patriots as an assistant and pro scout in 2003; he moved to special teams assistant coach four years later. In 2010, Flores worked as an offensive assistant before moving to defense the following year. In 2012, he became New England’s safety coach before finally taking over as linebackers coach in 2016 — a role he still holds today while also being defensive coordinator in the waiting.