JUST ADDED: Kyle Van Noy Has Been Cut

With two years under his belt, Brian Flores enters this season clearly as the man in charge of this team.

Season One was a wash, as no one knows what was going on with the tanking, and the Fitzpatrick/Rosen situation, etc.  GM Chris Grier seemed to be involved just as much as flores.  Flores played to win with a very limited cast, and he did so five times.  I think that was amazing, as 4 of those 5 wins were against decent teams.  Flores gets credit for having his men prepared and passionate to win.

I remember when he was hired, and I raised a lot of question marks about him.  Did Ross just hire another ANOTHER failed Belichick disciple who works great under Bill B., but fail on their own?  Just ask Matt Patricia or Bill O’Brien.  Did Ross give Flores too much power in enabling him to hire his buddies as coordinators?  Making defensive play calls is one thing…but how will Flores handle ALL the decisions from now on…what to do on 4th down, when to challenge, making offensive decisions, how to handle two-minute drives in close games when you need to make instant decisions yourself and not defer to Bill Belichick any more?

These are the things I brought up, and it seemed that Flores handled them all well.  I cannot recall huge strategic blunders that cost us any games in the last two years.  There was no Philbin Kodak Moment nor Adam Gase calling for 5-WR go-routes when we should be taking a knee.

Season Two showed a lot of improvement.  The players themselves were better, and that helped.  But Flores himself grew and learned, and it showed.  I give him huge credit for making the hardest decision a head coach has to make…and that is benching your quarterback mid-game.

We won the Raider game because Flores had the guts to bench Tua and get the spark we needed from Fitzpatrick.    However, with the good comes the bad.   In the Bronco game, Flores also benched Tua for Fitz, but in that case, Flores waited too long.   Denver was already too far ahead, and he allowed Tua to go 3-and-out on a few drives too many.  When Fitz came in, he immediately led us to a score.  He then threw an interception.  Yes, that ended badly.   But if Fitz had 2 or 3 more series against that crappy Denver D, I see Dolphin points.  Instead, Flores was gun-shy and let Tua play too long.  We ended up losing by 7.  To me, if Fitz had 2 or 3 extra drives, at least one of those would have led to a TD.

How important was that?  We missed the playoffs by one game.   Flores sat back and watched young Tua struggle and suffer way too long in that one game, and it cost us the playoffs.  That’s bad coaching.   But the outstanding part is that Flores learned.  He learned from his mistake, and he corrected himself in the Raider game.

The frustrating part of Adam Gase was not his bad play calling nor his awful coaching.   Everyone makes bad calls at times.  No, with Gase, the most frustrating part was he never learned from his mistakes.  Flores not only learned, but he corrected his mistakes.

In his first year, Flores played a few games like Madden 2021.   Too many fake field goals and going for 2-point conversions and things like that.   In his second season, the maturity was there.  He coached smarter, and it showed.  The number of wins doubled from 5 to 10.

If not for Covid, I am convinced the Dolphins would have made the playoffs.  In Week 17, the Bills led 28-6 at the half, and I understand that’s a lot.  But two factors came into play.  One is that Tua was struggling badly, and Flores would have certainly put Fitz in the game if he weren’t out with Covid.  Flores had benched Tua twice before, and common sense tells us that Flores would have done so a third time.  Could even Fitz erase a 22-point deficit?  Yes. Yes!   I say that because after halftime, the Bills put in their scrubs and third stringers.  They had nothing to play for anyway and decided to rest their starters.   I like Fitz’s chances against third stringers.

So we now enter the off-season of year 3.  We’re excited about the draft and existed to see if Tua blossoms.   I’d love to have Fitzpatrick back.  I’d love to get some incredible players in the draft.  I’d love a new free agent or two to replace some of our mediocre guys.  The next few months will answer many of those questions., and I can’t wait for the draft!

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  1. Found your site and is more accurate than the daily Dolphins Wire I read, which just repeats stuff that others have reported. At least you guys give your own views and not just duplicate other sites. Keep it up!

    1. Nice to meet you Dade. We’re not always right but everyone here is a die hard fan.

      Admin would you trade back at 3 and take what need is left or pick? If you pick would you go OT? I’m hoping for a trade back as I’d feel better about taking a WR, OT or LB or dline at that point assuming they are still in the top half of the draft. Tough call.

      1. Author

        Trading Back. Ahhh, such a tricky thing to get into! I’m not opposed to trading back, if there is a definite plan in place. I think it all comes down to the plan. I think the Dolphins wee interested in Tua as early as 2018 when he came onto the scene. In the 2018-19 off season, they made the mass overhaul and got rid of Tunsil in exchange for two #1 picks. I still think Houston was insane for doing that, and history has proven me right. Anyway, with Tua in mind, they decided to make the big rebuild early. They didn’t exactly tank on purpose in 2019, but they stayed in the top 5 to get the man they wanted all along. And it worked. Even if Tua busts, at least the Dolphins had a player in mind for 2 years and stuck with him to get what they wanted. I applaud that determination and that foresight. So now with the #3 overall pick (thank you, again, Houston)…it all depends on if we have a man in mind.
        If we have a guy in mind–then do not trade back. Take the man you want. Our front office has been a lot better lately in finding good talent, and I trust these guys more than previous administrations. If they want Micah Parsons, then take him. If they want Penei Sewell, then take him. BUT….if they are 50/50 on some of these guys, then trading back would be beneficial.
        For example, there is no way to determine which WR is the best. There are so many available in this year’s draft, and several of them are Top 5 material. If we don’t get LSU’s Chase or Alabama’s Smith at #3, then trading back to get Waddell or Marshall is just as good. If your goal is to get a star WR, then you’re not losing that much by trading back. But if you have a specific WR in mind, then you must hold your position and take that man.

        1. Yes I can agree with that prognosis. If they love Sewell for instance you can’t risk trading back and hoping that he’s there. I can respect that decision but if they love 4-5 players they must try to trade back as getting another second and first next year would be huge. Possibly more if someone is desperate! I think they’d still end up with a top notch player at a position of need so why not if that is how it plays out.

          I can see reasons to pick various positions but some are more valuable money positions like LT. Trading back I feel more comfortable going WR or LB and it seems there are no top ten DE’s in this draft which sucks. Either way trading back makes it easier to pick in more ways with less risk at stake. Just my thoughts. I’d like to hear what others think as this is a huge decision in this franchise.

    2. Author

      Yes, thanks for visiting Dade. Come back often and tell your friends. Interesting note about the Dolphins Wire. I too have noticed that they just repeat what other news already covered. They don’t really give any analysis or opinions like our reader here do.

  2. Welcome aboard Dade. I live in the next county north-in Broward. I try to go to 1 or 2 games a year at Hard Rock stadium. I met Admin at the Dolphins – Bengals game in the 2018 season.

    The Miami Herald is still floating the possibility of a trade for Watson. I really think this a a bad idea and hope that it is only a smokescreen.

    I think Flores is doing a great job. He has something the last two coaches couldn’t get from players- respect. This will be a great season coming up and I hope our starter is Tua.

  3. Author

    ” He has something the last two coaches couldn’t get from players- respect.”
    Well said, my friend.

      1. I double that Flo has proven to be a leader of men which can mean a lot more than simple X’s and O’s.

        I also agree on Watson unless it’s a steal they should stick to the plan. Even Mahomes had trouble with no oline it’s a team game they need to assemble a solid team around Tua and he’ll do well. This is why sewell may be a great pick a great oline makes even an average QB good. Similar to Dak he looked great and when the oline was injured you can see the difference.

        1. Exactly. Stick to the plan. Tua will only get better. Beef up the line and he will shine.

        2. Author

          True, Mahomes was used to an awesome group of linemen the last 3 years. When injuries dented that line, the kid couldn’t even get one touchdown drive. 3 field goals. Uggh.

  4. Author

    The DeShaun Watson trade rumors are heating up again. I saw some posts about how fans are 50/50 on this. Seriously, I don’t know one single fan who wants to dump Tua plus 3 first-round picks in exchange for Watson. The fans would go crazy with anger if our upper management made that horrible deal. And yet apparently 50% of fans want this? Who are they?

    1. Personally they are nuts and I’ve seen a few. Houston had some talent and still stunk. Mahomes oline went South and he looked average. So how does this make sense when it’s a team game and the Fins need to still build up a team? I know you need a QB but if Tua isn’t the guy it won’t matter if they don’t have a team!

    2. I listed to WQAM with Joe Rose in the morning and their analysis states they should as a minimum “explore” the possibility of Watson coming to Miami. There was also a photo floating around of Watson with Christian Wilkins and Baker??? can’t quite remember so that circulated some of the hoopla. Rose does say that Tua will improve but I get the impression he’s not completely sold on him.

    1. They should definitely look interested even if they’re not so they can build up his value in case the Jets are thinking about it. May as well make them pay if they make an offer! !!

  5. Even if Watson is the best QB from a physical standpoint, we know he’s a whiner and complainer when he doesn’t get his way.
    Also, reader Sean reported that X Howard is wanted for questioning in a shooting. Great.

  6. I am happy with Flores for sure. What I have noticed is his players fight for him. Even last year when we were 0-7, I never saw them quit. He has made ballsie decisions as well. Give Tua a real off-season and I think he will be much improved. As for DeShawn Watson, I do like him, but what has to be given for that to happen, I would give it to move up for Trevor Lawrence! But I saw plenty of promise in Tua this year.

  7. Forget all the rumors, Houston has already said many times that they are not going to trade DeShawn Watson. Best scenario is that Watson will probably sit out next season. I don’t believe the Dolphins are interested in making another outrageous trade like the Colts did with Philadelphia.

    1. Author

      Well, rumors that say “we are not trading him” are just as unreliable as any others. Nick Saban’s lies immediately come to mind.
      If the Dolphins are not interesting in Watson, then they are doing a brilliant job of pretending to be in the mix so that the Jets pay more for him!
      As far as the Eagles and Colts, this is the second year in a row the Colts are reaching out for a so-so QB, whose best days may be behind him.
      The Eagles dumped the QB and the head coach who won them a Super Bowl just a few years ago. Nick Foles earned that job, but the Eagles decided Wentz was a star and kept him instead. Now Foles is gone and the Eagles got virtually nothing in return for Wentz.

      1. ADMIN, Houston saying they’re not interested in trading Watson isn’t some reported rumor.

        1. Author

          Yes, they are saying it, and that part is no rumor. I meant that who knows if they are honest about what they say.

  8. Author

    Armando at the herald has a pretty convoluted article about judging the Dolphins’ recent drafts here: https://www.yahoo.com/news/final-grade-chris-grier-dolphins-180841399.html

    He’s wrong, as usual, in saying that Raekwon McMillan and Codrea Tankesley as busts. Sure, both guys didn’t become stars, but neither was a true bust like Dion Jordan, for example.

    Also, inexplicably, Armando says the jury is not in on Minkah Fitzpatrick. Uh, yes it is. He’s had two full seasons with the Steelers, and he’s been an All-Pro both times. The jury is indeed in, and the kid is a superstar. We gave away a true stud, no two ways about it.

    1. Well, in all fairness, Stinkah made it clear he didn’t want to be in Miami.

      1. Author

        Yes, that’s a tough call. Do you bend a little and listen to the player? He tells you he is a safety and can excel and become an all pro if you just let him play safety. And you reply that you’d rather have a so-so cornerback than an All Pro safety. I know that overly simplifies it, and none of us were in those discussions. But that was it essentially.

    2. I hated that trade at the time and still hate it now. Basically what we did is trade Minkah for Austin Jackson. And while I am not saying Austin Jackson was a “bad” pick…. it says something that we still see Penei Sewell mocked to us in a lot of mock drafts. I think Austin Jackson has the potential to be an above average starter at a very key position. Is that worth giving up a perennial All-Pro safety with a knack for making game changing plays for? I like Flores, and I like what he’s doing but that doesn’t mean every move him and Grier have made were the right moves by any stretch of the imagination.

      1. Author

        I’m sure behind-closed-doors converations with Minkah had a lot to do with it. I mean, was he politely requesting a chance to play safety, and Grier/Flores said “No. Reshad Jones is better than you and he will be starting here for years to come”
        Or did Minkah say, “I refuse to play in this bullshit system.” And then Grier.Flores said, “No, please reconsider.”

        Neither side really bad mouthed the other, so who knows.

        1. Hard to say with Minkah but he definitely wanted out no idea why though. He was touted as a versatile defensive player which Flo likes and had him doing then he magically didn’t want to move around. Either way the Fins did gain a contract year and if Jackson ends up being a decent starter at a very important position it can still work out for both teams. They did ok considering the guy wanted out.

  9. Kyle Van Noy was just told he will be released (if they can’t find a trade partner)…. pretty shocking development. I really thought he was a cornerstone of their defensive turn around last year. Clearly a salary cap move I guess as it will save them close to 10 million next season but since they weren’t in terrible shape as far as the cap goes it makes you wonder what they have up their sleeve (are they planning to pursue a big name receiver? Aaron Jones?) and how will they fill that defensive hole?

    1. Author

      Yes, this one is a puzzler. My first reaction is to ask “Why?” He played well and seemed to be a respected leader. The team does not need to cut costs, so his salary–although a bit high–is quite affordable. This seems to make us weaker. HOWEVER, I have gone through these scenarios before with other players. WITH Van Noy, we didn’t make the playoffs, we gave up a ton of points to the Bills in Week 17…our most important game of the decade. So it’s not like he was the key component in a dynasty. He was a very good player on a very average team. I liked the guy, but we can’t over-state is value. This certainly makes the prospect of drafting Micah Parsons at #3 more interesting.

      1. Yes surprising as he was a leader but maybe with Van Ginkel playing well they thought that they could use the money elsewhere? Its not like Watt’s an option anymore but maybe WR as a vet is more of a sure thing?

        Will be interesting indeed but I’d still like them to trade back even if its only a few picks unless they really want a guy like Parsons or Sewell. Maybe even that TE he’s getting a lot of talk about being a generational player and could be better than a WR. Crazy stuff.

      2. Well I’ve been touting Parsons for months so if this means picking him up and getting a top flight FA receiver…. I could definitely get on board with that. I still think we’ll miss his veteran leadership on a very young defense but we’ll see what moves they continue to make in free agency.

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