For all the accomplishments Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has made— the culture change, the building of a roster, the leap in the win-loss record from year 1 to year 2, and 1 win away from a playoff appearance— he still can’t seem to settle the offensive coordinator position.
The Dolphins will be working with their 3rd offensive coordinator before starting the 2021 season. (Whoever that may be)
They will also be working with their 4th offensive line coach in that same span — Lemuel Jeanpierre.
And if it doesn’t worry you as a fan, it should. Because so far, Flores has shown an inability to create any stability for an offense full of young players who need to grow in this league. And as we learned from a 2020 offseason with limited training camp and no preseason, it’s the teams that have had that same core of players, same system, and the same quarterback that we’re able to start quickly.
To Flores’ credit, he has found offensive play-callers that are good enough for an individual season, but not for the longterm future.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) January 20, 2021
2019’s offensive coordinator, Chad O’Shea, had an aggressive and creative offense that was coming together towards the end of the regular season. Still, he was fired the day after the season concluded.
2020’s play-caller—the legendary Chan Gailey— whom Brian Flores fought to pull out of retirement, turned out not to be the right person for the job. After being paired with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the 117th time and supposedly being a better instructor of an offense for a young quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa. Gailey helped the team get to 10-6 with a ball-control offense and middle-of-the-pack Points Per Game. However, Gailey resigned after the 2020 regular season.
These aren’t coordinators that have had major success with the team, left for better jobs, and the Dolphins have promoted from within. No.
These are coordinators that haven’t been deemed fit to continue their duties, either by the fans, media, or the head coach that hired them.
The Dolphins’ offense for 2019 started rough. Mostly because of the talent and because that system was complicated, and the teaching of that offense by O’Shea was deemed subpar. So much so that players—including quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick— were fed up with it.
The Dolphins’ 2020 offense, led by a senior who was pulled out of retirement from his couch and not thinking about football anymore, was not a good first impression. However, after a couple of bad starts and rough games, it started to find its groove under Fitzpatrick. Until the Dolphins made a QB-switch, and under Tua Tagovailoa, had its ups and downs. Gailey’s offense was deemed too conservative and considerably out of date compared to the rest of the NFL. Fans and media also suspected Gailey of handcuffing Tua from the rest of the playbook.
But these are the men that Brian Flores selected. That Flores believed in. This leads to questions as to whether or not he will find the right man and system to have sustainable success.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) January 18, 2021
Flores knew O’Shea for 10 years in New England before he hired him to be Miami’s play-caller in 2019. Flores must’ve thought that was the right hire. He probably knew O’Shea’s ability better than anyone else. He was wrong.
Flores could’ve hired any young upcoming offensive mind to take over in 2020 for this young Dolphins team to take the next step. He chose a coordinator that coached the Cowboy’s Troy Aikman team and the Dolphins back in the late-90’s and early 2000’s. And if pulling an old offensive mind from retirement isn’t a demonstration of the amount of faith in that coach, then I don’t know what is.
People were skeptical about how long Gailey would stick around. Obviously, reuniting with Fitzpatrick was a huge selling point, but many wondered if he would remain to groom a young Tua. And as soon as rumblings started that Fitzpatrick may not be back in 2021, it turned out that Gailey decided to fly the coop.
Perhaps Flores believed with more offensive weapons and talent, Gailey could succeed in 2021 with Tua. But in the end, Flores was wrong in thinking a coach in his late 60’s and formerly retired would stick around long enough to groom a young quarterback. It seemed like Gailey joined the 2020 Dolphins for one last hoorah with his longtime gunslinging veteran.
Flores needs to find a coordinator who is going to stick around long-term. At least for 2-3 seasons to groom Tua and get his confidence up while playing in the same system with an upgrade of talent around him to succeed. He needs to find a creative, aggressive coordinator and knows how to be conservative when need-be.
In two years under Flores, the Dolphins players have played in two different systems. And one can argue if they played in the same system from Year 1 to Year 2, they would have that quick start and that extra win to make them 11-5 with a playoff birth.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) January 20, 2021
Also, consider Tua playing in his 2nd offensive system in 2 years. That’s not good for a young quarterback. That’s not good for his confidence that is already shaken, knowing the players and coaches in that locker room favored Fitzpatrick’s play over him. Tua may start slow again next year under a new play-caller and offense. And then the controversy may continue.
Playing in too many systems early on can ruin a quarterback. Look at Josh Rosen.
Whether or not you are a believer in Josh Rosen, you can’t deny the factors that have basically ruined his career since being a 1st-round pick selection by the Arizona Cardinals.
He played on two different teams in two different systems in his first two seasons, each one with a worse roster than the last.
In Rosen’s 3rd year, he had to learn Gailey’s system.
3 different offensive systems before the 2020 regular season even started.
And now I can’t even keep track of where he is and how many teams he’s been on.
Dolphins can’t afford to have that happen to Tua.