Miami, Florida — It seems that this will be a long season for the Miami Dolphins fans. With many experts estimating this will be a tank season for the Dolphins in order to get the best draft placements, it won’t be a huge surprise if they go 0–16. The team’s head coach, Brian Flores, is at the helm during this transitional period, and he must have been aware that there were some difficult times ahead.
However, nobody quite thought it would be this hard — especially not Flores, who was appointed a head coach for the first time in his career after leaving the position of linebackers coach for the New England Patriots. On Sunday, the Dolphins opened up their season with a home game against the Baltimore Ravens. Flores’ first game in charge ended up with a massive blowout defeat, with the Ravens winning 59–10. This was the heaviest defeat in the history of the franchise and a very difficult beginning to the NFL’s 100th season.
The game was a rude awakening for both the Dolphins and Flores. On Monday, Flores spoke to the media about the defeat, saying that he was ready to do everything to help the Fins improve during his first year with the team. He said that the flaws were apparent on many levels: coaching, game planning, personnel, overall execution, etc.
Flores added that every team felt pain during every season, and the Dolphins needed to learn how to deal with it and pick themselves up. According to the coach, they mustn’t feel sorry for themselves and play the blaming game. Instead, they should regroup and try to improve.
Start of a Difficult Period
During the same press conference, Flores said the team had to go back up and get back to work. Although they didn’t expect to be in the fight for the championship, Flores said that they still must show a level of professionalism, and their goal had to be getting better and helping the team as the season went on. That was his message to the team.
Flores confirmed that he had talks with both GM Chris Grier and the owner Steve Ross, but he declined to share any details of the conversations. Before appointing Flores, Ross cautioned the fans that rebuilding the team was going to be a painful process. The opener proved Ross’ words were right; it just seemed as if Flores didn’t expect it would be this difficult.
The 49-point margin (worst in history) was not the only aspect of the game that was, simply put, horrible. Other stats showed as well that this was one of the worst games they ever had in their history. They also had most yards allowed (643) as well as the most points surrendered in a home game. They’ve never had it worse during the 53 years they’ve existed.
Compared to the Ravens’ 643 yards, the Dolphins managed only 200. Perhaps the biggest sign of their ineffectiveness was the way they handled the last quarter. After 45 minutes of game time, the score was already out of reach — 52–10. Nonetheless, despite there being nothing to play for, the Ravens held the ball for over 13 minutes. As a result, the Dolphins spent the last quarter with the ball in their possession for just 1:31!
Quick Change Needed
Next week, they remain in Miami with another home game at Hard Rock Stadium. However, the task in front of them will be even more difficult, with the reigning champions New England Patriots coming to visit. All the signs so far show it’s going to be another long Sunday afternoon.
Flores said that it was always terrible to see such a performance, especially for a defensive coach like him. He added that he would make sure the team wouldn’t “wallow” next week. Instead, Flores said, they had to try and turn things around, with a long season ahead of them. He was trying to remain positive, reminding everyone there was still a lot of football to be played. The goal was, simply, never to play like that again.
Perhaps in an effort to get the nickname “Miracle Man,” Flores claimed he managed to find positives in the game. The offensive line “played well in spurts,” and the coach was also impressed by the rookie receiver Preston Williams. Williams dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone in the second quarter. Furthermore, Flores praised some of the plays quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick made. He also added that veteran safety Walt Aikens showed amazing energy and gave maximum effort.
Talking about the performance, the coach claimed he knew what went wrong and what they needed to rectify in order to be in better shape. A lot of that comes down to pure game fundamentals and technique standpoint. The coach, together with his staff, needs to address those glaring issues as soon as possible, so there’s no time for sulking.
Uncompetitive Against Ravens
Two South Floridians led the Ravens’ offense — rookie receiver Marquise Brown and quarterback Lamar Jackson. They exposed the Dolphins’ defense, which kept being out of position throughout the game. The Ravens were a lot more physical than their hosts.
The Dolphins’ offense couldn’t keep up with the Ravens’ scoring prowess, with the offensive part of the team having to work on the problems of their own. One of the problems is the fact that they started two new offensive linemen who joined the squad less than ten days before the game.
Flores conceded he didn’t do enough to prepare the team for the beginning of the season. But he felt he saw the potential for improvement, with a lot of segments in all three phases they could upgrade through teamwork.
With the next game on Sunday against the mighty Patriots, there’s not a lot of time for the Fins to turn their season around. Although Flores spent 15 years with his next opponent, he said there was no time to sit around and reminisce about his personal connections with the Pats. Despite there being a lot of people within the New England organization that he personally knew, Flores said that his focus was solely on the Dolphins.