Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores spoke with members of the media Monday in regards to how the team is coming along, dealing with COVID-19 and plans for the future.
Here are three takeaways from the press conference:
1- Flores: ‘We’ve got a long way to go’
When asked if players are in the shape he expected them to be in, Flores explained that the first week was an acclimation period especially when dealing with health concerns and keeping the team safe. He thinks guys are in “ok” shape but there’s always room for improvement.
On the subject of the defensive line and all of the new additions through free agency and the draft, Flores said he feels good about the players but they still need time to gel together, get terms down and put guys in the right places.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but they’re working,” Flores said. “They’re working pretty diligently and I’ve seen already some improvement in the first week and I’m sure they’ll continue to improve.”
2- Dolphins have a next-man-up mentality
Versatility will be a big part of the team in all phases of play in 2020, whether it’s on the offense, defense or special teams. This year especially with the possibility of losing a player or few as COVID-19 continues to strike rosters.
“A player may be this position in this group and this position in another group. I don’t think that changes,” Flores said. “I think that remains the same for our team and I imagine that is the way it is for a lot of teams. “
“We still need guys who can play multiple positions, and I think that’s even more important this year in a year where you can lose one, two, three or a group of guys. We’re going to need other guys to step in.”
As for the coaching staff, Flores was asked about his plan on handling staff members that contract the virus, just like Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson, who tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday.
Flores’ response: “”Everyone’s got a backup. Everyone’s got two backups. It’s something we’ve talked about. We’re taking the same approach we take with the players.”
“If I go down, we’re doing this, if the d-line coach goes down, we’re doing this and so on and so forth. It’s something we’ve talked about, but it’s not just on the coaches and players. It’s staff. It’s our strength and conditioning coach, head trainer, head equipment guy, nutritionist. You have to have a plan for everyone, especially in times like these.”
In an odd offseason headlined by the absense of the preseason, Flores and the Dolphins are not making excuses.
“It is an odd year, it’s a different year; but like I said last week when I talked to you guys, these are the cards we’ve been dealt, so we’ve got to play this hand,” Flores said. “There are going to be some obstacles but we’ve got to make the best of the situation. I think as coaches, as a coaching staff, we understand that. We have a plan in place, so we’ve put a lot of thought into trying to build a competitive team in a short period of time.”
3- Flores asking for Tua, Rosen and the rest of the team to improve every day
In regards to rookie Tua Tagovailoa, Flores voiced that the rookie quarterback, along with the rest of the rookie class are doing well.
He added that there hasn’t been much to evaluate yet, having just gone through walkthroughs up to today. Up until they start practicing and doing drills, he’ll be able to have an evaluation on the team.
And when asked about third-year signal-caller Josh Rosen’s future with the team, Flores said “the vision for Josh is the same vision for every player”.
He wants everyone to understand the new offense and get accustomed to their new teammates. Flores wants all of his players to improve every day and take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. This goes for Rosen and every player on the roster.
“Preston has worked extremely hard since the injury,” Flores said. “He’s worked his way back to where he was cleared for activity again. It’s walk-through right now, so there’s strength and conditioning in the morning.
For Williams, who played in eight games as a rookie, starting in seven, and recorded 32 receptions for 428 yards and three touchdowns, Flores wants him to learn and adapt to the new offense under Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey.
“He’s running, he’s lifting and we’ll see him in a walk-through setting; but again, for Preston, it’s a new offense so we’re learning the terminology, the depths on some routes and things of that nature.”
One day at a time is Flores’ main message throughout the press conference. The second-year coach expects his team to constantly improve as they continue to practice and conduct meetings at training camp.