Miami Dolphins

As Dolphins huddle with Flores for second time, they remain largely a mystery

Video: Miami Dolphins new General Manager Chris Grier

The Miami Dolphins formally announce the hiring of new general manager Chris Grier at their training facility in Davie, Florida. Video by Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald Staff.
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The Miami Dolphins formally announce the hiring of new general manager Chris Grier at their training facility in Davie, Florida. Video by Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald Staff.

Wednesday is another important day in the Dolphins’ coaching search, with the team formally meeting with Brian Flores a second time.

A league source characterized the get-together in New England as an interview, but in reality the job already belongs to Flores, assuming he doesn’t back out. He just cannot formally accept it until after the Super Bowl.

Flores and Chris Grier were expected to discuss staffing and plan out the next two weeks.

It’s a strange time for the Dolphins, as the man they want to someday lead them to the Super Bowl prepares for the championship game — as the de facto defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.

Meanwhile, Grier and his staff have spent the week in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, scouting draft-eligible players during the day and largely keeping out of sight at night.

While other coaches and personnel men spend their nights here rubbing (and occasionally bending) elbows, Grier has characteristically kept a low profile.

The Senior Bowl is a time for gossip, but not a ton of information about Grier’s plans for the team has circulated league circles this week.

Which again, is probably how he wants it.

The same goes for Flores, the 37-year-old defensive assistant who is not well known outside of Patriots headquarters.

“I have not really crossed paths with him, but I’m sure, knowing his background, he’s more than ready for this opportunity,” said Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who called plenty of Patriots games during his nine-year stint on “Monday Night Football.”

One team executive shrugged his shoulders when a reporter asked him his off-the-record thoughts on the hire. There’s just not a ton of information about him.

But Stephen Ross should get credit, the source continued, for finally having a clear chain of command in Miami. Grier will report to Ross, and Flores will report to Grier. That’s the way some Ross confidants have suggested he run his team for years, but Ross never could bring himself to do it. Joe Philbin and Adam Gase both answered only to the owner, inevitably creating conflict and even dysfunction at time.

Time will tell if this new arrangement works better than the last.

But if there disagreements between Grier and the man he intends to hire, don’t expect them to leak out into the press. Both come from the Bill Parcells/Bill Belichick coaching tree, and Rule No. 1 is to say as little as possible, at least publicly.

This will be a more buttoned-up organization. Just ask Dolphins players. Even they have heard little from the team about its direction since the season ended three and a half weeks ago.

Will Xavien Howard get a new contract? Is Ryan Tannehill in their plans for 2019?

For now, that’s just another mystery for a team with plenty of them.

Tannehill knows how to read a boxscore and a salary cap ledger, and he can do the math. He must fear his time in Miami is coming to an end. But again, no one has told him that directly.

Insiders expect the Dolphins to cut Tannehill before the start of the league year. The belief is the team will try to find a trade partner, but will likely have no luck. Reasons? Tannehill’s contract (he’s owed more than $38 million in the next two years), his medical history (he has missed 25 games in the last three years) and his production (he ranked 20th in passer rating and 21st in yards-per-pass in 2018).

It is believed that Tannehill would consider taking a financial “hair cut” to make a trade more feasible, but that would only be if the Dolphins send him to a team he prefers.

There are as many as nine clubs that could need quarterbacks in 2019, and logic suggests that Tannehill will draw some level of interest from teams like the Bengals, Jaguars, Broncos, Giants and Redskins.

A person familiar with Tannehill’s mind-set, however, insisted he would not want to go to a team as a backup. He wants, at the very least, the chance to compete for a starting job, which makes sense. While he never became a star in Miami, there’s no doubt that he’s one of the 32 best quarterbacks in the NFL.

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Adam Beasley has covered the Dolphins for the Miami Herald since 2012, and has worked for the newspaper since 2006. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications and has written about sports professionally since 1996.
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