Miami Dolphins

Tank is a four-letter word: Flores offended by talk Dolphins will intentionally lose

Brian Flores: ‘It’s about getting 11 guys on the same page’

Brian Flores, the newly announced head coach for the Miami Dolphins, talks to the media about how he plans to make his team work together during a press conference in Davie, Florida on Monday, February 4, 2019.
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Brian Flores, the newly announced head coach for the Miami Dolphins, talks to the media about how he plans to make his team work together during a press conference in Davie, Florida on Monday, February 4, 2019.

Brian Flores is offended by the mere suggestion that the Dolphins would tank for Tua.

Flores, speaking at his first coaches’ breakfast at the NFL annual meeting Tuesday, went off on the topic.

“I think the term tanking, I think it’s disrespectful to the game,” Flores said. “I really do. I don’t like that term. I don’t like when people use it. This game has done a lot for me personally. I’ve said this before, football really leveled the playing field for me as a person. It’s really the one thing that leveled the playing field so to disrespect the game and use that term, it stirs something inside of me — to put that nicely.”

Tanking, for those who haven’t followed any Dolphins news the last two months, is when a team intentionally loses to get a high draft pick the following year. The 2020 draft looks to be stocked with high-level quarterbacks, and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa is for now at the top of the class.

And given how the Dolphins have constructed their roster this offseason — their quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, could not get a starting job anywhere else — the narrative has grown that the Dolphins are indeed tanking for Tua.

That narrative is wrong, both Flores and general manager Chris Grier have said here this week.

When asked if Grier, during Flores’ job interview, said that the team plans to take a step back this year to improve its long-term fortunes, Flores responded:

“No. My conversations with him have been about, obviously, rebuilding the roster. But at the same time, he knows and everyone knows that I’m always going to go out there and try to win every game that we play, so yeah, it struck a nerve. I think it will always strike a nerve, because I think it’s disrespectful to the game. To even say that is – I’ve heard it multiple times – I do think it’s a disrespect to the game. Quite honestly, I won’t stand for it. That’s where I’m at. I’m going to leave it there. I’m going to try to win every game.”

Flores added: “I’m going to go into every game trying to win. That’s always going to be my objective. I’m going to go into anything I do trying to win. I’m going to instill that in everybody I come across. So, no, there’s no tanking. You can write that over, and over, and over again.”

Fair enough.

But with a bare-bones roster, the Dolphins might simply be bad organically.

That’s what oddsmakers believe. One sportsbook has the Dolphins 100-to-1 to win the AFC East in 2019, a factoid Flores did not know until a reporter brought it to his attention

“My focus, and it’s a daily focus, is thinking about this team and how to improve it, how to maneuver the pieces, and I don’t mean just the team, I mean overall in the organization to put the best product on the field,” Flores said. “I don’t read headlines or get into all of that. The goal is to improve every day. The goal is to work hard. The goal is to put the players in the best position to do what they do well. And my experience has been that will yield a good performance or some productivity.”

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