Brian Flores is an uncommon bright spot in the Bill Belichick coaching tree.
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is one of the youngest head coaches in the NFL at 39 years old, but he has spent most of his adult life learning from one of the best to ever do it in Bill Belichick. In 2004, Flores was brought to New England as a scouting assistant and worked his way up the ranks to become a position coach with the team and eventually to his most recent spot with Miami.
While Belichick is widely recognized as one of the greatest head coaches ever, his coaching tree is a bit lackluster. Names that come to mind include Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Josh McDaniels, Bill O’Brien, Jim Schwartz, Matt Patricia, Joe Judge and Flores. Current NFL head coaches Mike Vrabel and Kliff Kingsbury are also indirectly tied to the Belichick coaching tree, as they only played for Bill and never coached under him.
Where did all of these former coordinators and assistants end up? Crennel never panned out as a head coach, as he is currently with O’Brien in Houston as an assistant HC. Mangini only made one playoff appearance in five years leading the Jets and Browns. McDaniels never caught traction as a HC in Denver and ended up back in New England. Schwartz also made one postseason appearance in five years in Detroit, but is now the defensive coordinator in Philly. Patricia is struggling as the leading man in Detroit. Judge is taking the reins with the Giants starting in 2020, and Vrabel and Kingsbury are leading two of the most intriguing teams in the league with Tennessee and Arizona, respectively.
And then there is Flores. Outside of Judge, Kingsbury and Vrabel, he’s the only other Belichick disciple who holds one of the 32 head coaching jobs in the league in 2020. While he only went 5-11 in year one, things are starting to look bright going forward. He seems to have his future franchise quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa, and his defensive prowess with such a young group can show through sooner rather than later.
In addition, Flores actually took down his mentor in Week 17 of 2019 in an overtime victory in New England. Knowing that the rebuild is going to take time, Miami is giving Flores the keys to molding a culture that mirrors the one where he was an assistant for four Super Bowl championships.
2020 looks to be a big year for Flores. With a lot of unknowns in the AFC East, the Dolphins can creep up and surprise some people. If Miami is not yet ready to compete, then it can play spoiler similar to how it did in 2019. With Flores leading the way, be on the lookout for Miami to be one of the upstart teams in the league.