Miami Dolphins Press Conference 11-11-20 Brian Flores

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

FOXBOROUGH, MA – DECEMBER 29: Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins shakes hands with head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots after a Dolphins victory at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Head Coach Brian Flores

(Opening statement) – “I wanted to start by – today is Veterans Day, so I just wanted to shout out Adam LaChance, who’s on our strength and conditioning staff. He’s a veteran and I wanted to thank him for his service and all the veterans for their service. I just wanted to do that.”

(I wanted to ask with the changes that you guys made during the game to the offensive line, was that experiment, effort to improve, is it an open competition this week? T Austin Jackson’s return, how does that impact your offensive line?) – “It’s always an open competition. We’ve got a number of guys we feel very good about and there’s a few different combinations we could go with. Jesse Davis is someone who’s played multiple positions and played them at a good level. We’re also working in the young guys – (Robert) Hunt, Solomon (Kindley), Austin (Jackson) – and we feel good about all of them. We’ll see how practice goes this week and we’ll see the group that’s out there on Sunday.”

(It’s pretty obvious you’re no stranger to the whole tuning out the noise concept. That was obviously a big thing in New England and I think now that especially after this last win, you guys are dominating ESPN, NFL Network. You guys are the talk of the NFL right now. What do you say to a young team and a young quarterback to kind of tune out the noise?) – “I think the focus is – we all understand, I understand, that it’s there, that we’re being talked about. But really the only thing that matters is what’s going on in our building. I’m not sure how much anyone outside of our building really actually knows what’s going on inside the building, so the way we practice, the way we prepare, how we walk through. The only people who could really tell them the truth about how they played in a game or how they played in practice or how they did in a meeting are the people that are here. That’s kind of my message. I’m going to tell them the truth. I’m not going to blow smoke up anyone’s behind. They know that. We’ve got a whole half of a season left, so I think we need to focus on that and even more than that, this week – it’s a good team that we’re playing this week, the Chargers. Putting our energy anywhere else or listening to anything else in a lot of ways is less energy on a good opponent with a lot of good players and a lot of good coaches … Hopefully it doesn’t get to the point where they spent too much time on something else and not enough on the Chargers. They would feel the effects of that on a Sunday, so that’s my message.”

(I would like to get an update on the COVID situation. How many coaches, if any, will you be down in your walkthrough today for example?) – “We’re just following the protocols – the league protocols – so we’ll be down a few coaches. We’ve got guys who are going to step in and we’ll get those guys when we get them back. That’s kind of where we stand. As far as specific numbers, I’m not going to get into who’s back, who’s not back. We’ll be down a few today.”

(I know you guys did a lot of evaluation of Chargers QB Justin Herbert when you were trying to make your own decision in the draft. What have you seen from him so far and maybe has it even surprised you given your own homework on him?) – “He’s a very good player. He’s talented, big arm, athletic. He was very smart in the meetings when we spent time with him, so that’s not surprising. It’s not surprising at all that he’s having success. I think he’s got a good team around him. He’s well-coached. (Chargers Head Coach) Anthony (Lynn) is someone I have great respect for. I know he’s doing a good job. He’s got a tough, physical team over there. He’s (Justin Herbert) well-coached and he’s playing well, so it’s a big test for us and we know that. We’re going to have to prepare well all week.”

(What has pleased you the most about QB Tua Tagovailoa’s progress since he became the starter?) – “It’s the same thing that he did earlier in the year. His preparation, his focus, the way he asks questions, wanting to learn. All that leads into – I think to me, in my opinion – into an opportunity to have success on the field. I think if he just continues to prepare the way he has and even take it up a notch, because as a rookie, you don’t know what you don’t know. So in a lot of instances, he’s learning how to prepare, how to prepare better and I think that’s been the case even over the last couple weeks. He’s a sponge. That I like and he’s open to learning different things, learning from different views, whether it’s a defensive coach or an offensive coach or something in the kicking game. He’s doing well.”

(I was hoping we could get an update on WR Preston Williams. Do you envision him being able to practice this week or is this a long-term deal?) – “We ran some tests. Preston (Williams), he’s going to go to IR, so it’s a little bit more significant than we initially thought.”

(Obviously I’ll follow up on that important news. What does the loss for a minimum of three games mean to the team and how prepared do you feel some of the receivers who haven’t played a lot yet, such as WR Lynn Bowden Jr. and perhaps WR Antonio Callaway, are to contribute?) – “It’s a big loss. Preston (Williams) has made a lot of plays for us over the first half of the season; but we’ve got guys who will step in. Jakeem (Grant) stepped in for him last week. Mack Hollins stepped in and had a big play. Kirk Merritt was up last week, played well in the kicking game, played a little bit offensively. And you mentioned Lynn (Bowden Jr.). So yeah, I think it’s kind of how we have to approach this. Someone could be down for COVID, someone could be down due to injury. We need the next person to step in – a player, coach, whatever it may be. As a team, it’s 2020, so we need to take that approach and I think those guys will step in. We’ve got to get them coached up and put them in positions to have some success.”

(Is WR Preston Williams out for the season? And also, is WR Antonio Callaway close to being able to help you?) – “Preston is going on IR. Callaway, he’s on the practice squad and practiced for the first time last week. He’s had two days of practicing. I don’t want to speculate on how long Preston is out, but it’s enough that he’s got to go on IR. We’re still running tests and we’ll see where that goes.”

(With the young receivers, I know you’ve always pushed the rookies in term of their understanding and give them a role.  Now with such a huge role available, what do you hope to see from them?) – “Nothing changes on our end, from that standpoint. I don’t think you can just – hey, somebody went down so you go from playing 10 plays to playing 60 and that’s how it goes. We’ll try to split the reps in some form or fashion. I think some of the guys who have already been up and practiced in some of those roles – like I’ve mentioned, Jakeem (Grant), Mack Hollins, Malcolm Perry has been in there a little bit. I think to mix those with the young guys, there are a few different way we can do this. You don’t have to just put one grouping in there. We’ve got some tight ends who can play, we’ve got some backs who can play. You can only play 11 at a time, so it doesn’t have to be three and four wide receivers. I think everyone expects it to show up that way, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. I think we can handle that with the rest of the team. Again, it’s a team game. We’re going to need the tight ends, the backs, the receivers – like I said, it’s a different year. It’s a year of COVID. We’ve had some other teams who have been down multiple people at positions and not play. You adjust. We’ll adjust if we need to.”

(Yesterday we talked to Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey and we asked him about QB Tua Tagovailoa and he said he didn’t really see a difference in him as far as how he looked in college and his physicality. I wanted to ask you where do you see him in comparison to maybe what you were watching on tape, as far as his athleticism and his movement?) – “I think he looks good. I mean I haven’t seen the dead leg move from him in college. I thought that was a nice move he made the other day. I think physically, he looks good. He’s just got to continue to take care of himself. That’s part of being professional – from a nutritional standpoint, from a weightlifting standpoint and obviously from a preparation standpoint. All of those things are important. Is there a difference? I guess I’m not really thinking about it in those terms. I just think he looks like he’s healthy and he’s doing a good job with his preparation and leading the offense. He looks healthy to me.”

(What specialness, if any, is there for you when you get to coach against another black head coach? And also, this game you have Sunday will be the only time this year where two full-time black head coaches will go against each other. What do you think that says about the current diversity of head coaches?) – “I have a lot of respect for ‘A-Lynn’ (Anthony Lynn). I met him at a coaching symposium like two years ago. I went to him when I was a position coach. I met him at a symposium a few years back and picked his brain on a few different things. He probably doesn’t remember that; but I have a lot of respect for him as a coach, as a man. I think he has leadership qualities that are out of this world. His teams are tough. They are physical. And there are a lot of things that I took from him that I try to bring here, that I try to implement here. A lot of respect for him. As far as the second part of your question, diversity – let’s call it a head coach, a general manager, positions in the NFL – are something that people are talking about all the time. I’ve always said there are many, many worthy minority coaches in this league that have leadership qualities, that are smart, are great teachers and can help young people, or young men, become the best versions of themselves. I see that on a weekly basis when I talk to coaches on the field pregame and postgame. They are out there. They just need an opportunity. Thankfully I was afforded one. I think there are plenty of minority coaches out there who would take advantage of the opportunity if it presented itself.”