The crisis moments have outnumbered the victories and all the hard work has produced none of the desired results. So as his team takes a bye weekend respite, how does Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores evaluate the work he and his staff have done so far?
“Not good enough,” Flores said Wednesday morning. “That’s the first thing I would say. We got to do a better job. It starts with me, getting this team ready to play — specifically in the second halves, just talking about the last two games.
“And putting our guys in positions to make plays, there’s been instances when we have and we haven’t made the plays on the field. But at the end of the day we can always do a better job as a coaching staff.”
The Dolphins are 0-4. The chances the team will go on a winning streak at any point this season are dim. But Flores takes solace that, so far, he and his staff are keeping the organization from fracturing.
“Each person in the building takes responsibility,” he said. “This isn’t a finger-pointing team or a make-excuses team. We all look at ourselves individually, players, coaches, personnel. Everybody looks at themselves and tries to get better. I think that’s the best way for a team to grow.
“I think the one thing about this place is there’s a lot of ... there is no finger-pointing. There is no placing blame. We’re all kind of rallying around each other, knowing each coach and player is working their butts off to help this team win. And I think if we keep up with that, we’ll be just fine.”
Aside from the losing, Flores has managed other issues — some of his making, most not — that would test even a veteran coach.
Before training camp began, defensive lineman Kendrick Norton lost an arm in a traffic accident, which ended his career. Receiver Kenny Stills went rogue on social media during the preseason, calling out team owner Stephen Ross for supporting President Trump, whom Stills does not support. Then multiple players including Kiko Alonso and Minkah Fitzpatrick demanded to be traded. Flores also fired offensive line assistant Pat Flaherty four days into training camp for reasons he has never specifically detailed.
So, yeah, it has been hectic for Miami’s first-year head coach.
“It’s been about what I thought,” Flores said. “I know this is not an easy, coaching in this league is not an easy thing dealing with different personalities, especially in this role, players, coaches, and dealing with different individuals. But it’s something I enjoy.
“I love what I do. I love coaching. It’s a passion of mine. And I’m fortunate I get to be in this position. You’re not going to ever see me feeling bad for myself. ..And I think if we keep doing the things we’ve been doing -- these guys have been practicing hard, I see improvement and I see a lot of good things -- we’re not seeing a lot of results, but hopefully in time if we just keep doing the things we’ve been doing and keep continue to believe in what we’ve been doing, things will turn out the way we want them to be.”
So how has Flores grown since this season began? He spends every day trying to get a young roster to grow. What has he learned?
“About myself? Yeah, I think I’m always on a quest to get better and improve and I’ve always kind of seen myself as a resilient person, someone who goes through and deals with adversity and has dealt with adversity,” Flores said. “I try to impress that upon the team. I think we have a team full of guys who can deal with tough times. I would say we’re going through that right now.
“But at the same time, I think tough times make you better. They make you stronger. I think that’s happening for myself personally and this team and organization.”