Right in the middle of getting geared up for this weekend’s divisional round showdown, Pats Nation found out late this afternoon that they’re reportedly about to lose one of their own.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first broke the news this afternoon:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 11, 2019
It has since been corroborated by guys like Bert Breer, one of the industry’s leading talking heads:
Source: The Dolphins are expected to hire Patriots LBs coach Brian Flores as head coach after New England’s season ends. @RapSheet first on it.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 11, 2019
First and foremost, congrats to Brian Flores, who is getting his first crack at running an NFL team at just 37 years old. Truly. This could be the opportunity of a lifetime. The trend in the league lately seems to be hiring fresh faces as opposed to falling on bad habits and recycling older, failed former coaches. With guys like Sean McVay (32) killing it out in Los Angeles, and others like Kliff Kingsbury (39, Arizona) and Matt LeFleur (39, Green Bay) being hired as first-timers just this week, I guess the news shouldn’t be so surprising.
Since first coming to the Pats as an assistant in the scouting department in 2004 – after a pretty solid career as a linebacker at Boston College – Flores has continued to ascend at a rapid pace, making his way onto the team’s coaching staff just four years later. He’s worn many different hats over the past decade, but he finally got his real shot at glory when he was given the responsibility of calling the defensive plays this year after Matt Patricia bounced to Detroit.
The fact that he’s only been in such a prominent position for such a short period of time makes the move even more interesting. But, in truth, he was even being looked at as a candidate by some teams last offseason, and his defense did allow the seventh-least amount of points per game in the league this year (20.7). And, again, teams around the league seem to finally be flouting the idea of “experience over everything,” and instead seem willing to roll the dice on newer guys with new ideas.
To be honest, though, the news has got to be a bit deflating to guys around the locker room right now. Here you are zoning in on the first postseason obstacle facing you in just two days, and you learn that one of your coaches is likely off to sunnier skies next year – win or lose.
Now, it is important to note that nothing is official yet. Flores has yet to sign any contract or issue any public statement regarding the news – and likely won’t say anything at all until, at the very least, next week – but the writing seems to be on the wall. He’s heading to South Beach.
I want to be clear that I am not criticizing him for taking the role, if he so chooses, and I really am happy for him. The timing is just a bit of a bummer – but, as they say, that’s showbiz, baby!
I’m sure, though, as a Belichick disciple, he knows how to ignore the noise and still get the boys ready for the Chargers on Sunday. We’ll be just fine. I’ll stop raining on the parade.
Congrats to Brian Flores. I’m just sorry that I have to hate you now.