Vikings name Brian Flores defensive coordinator

The Minnesota Vikings have named Brian Flores defensive coordinator, the team announced Monday.

In 2022, the Vikings struggled on defense. The Vikings recently parted ways with defensive coordinator Ed Donatell after one season with the team.

The 41-year-old Flores will join Kevin O’Connell’s staff after spending the 2022 season as the senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In one season with Pittsburgh, Flores led a defense that gave up just seven rushing touchdowns, which tied with New England for the fewest allowed in the NFL in 2022. Pittsburgh’s opponents also had the league’s sixth-lowest completion percentage (61.3%).

Before his time with Pittsburgh, Flores served as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2019-21. Flores helped the Dolphins post back-to-back winning seasons (2020-21) for the first time since 2002-03. In 2021, Miami became the first team in NFL history to snap a seven-game losing streak with a seven-game winning streak. Flores led the Dolphins to a 10-6 record in 2020, marking only the second time the franchise has won 10 games in a season over the past decade. Miami’s defense finished sixth in the NFL that season, allowing 21.1 points per game, and led the league with 29 takeaways. 

Flores got his start in the NFL with the New England Patriots, coaching in all three phases of the game – offense, defense, and special teams – and helped the franchise win four Super Bowls – XXXIX, XLIX, LI, and LIII. He spent eight seasons (2011-18) coaching defense and seven (2012-18) as a position coach. The Patriots advanced to the AFC Championship game in all seven seasons with Flores as a position coach and won three of the club’s four Super Bowl Appearances.

In 2018, Flores helped New England win Super Bowl LIII in his first season as the defensive play-caller. Under his direction, the defense went from 17th to seventh in the league in passer rating, holding opponents to a 85.4 rating. 

NFL: Browns did not incentivize losing during Hue Jackson’s time with the team

In February, former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson accused the Browns of offering him incentives to lose games, a similar allegation that Brian Flores made against the Miami Dolphins.

On Monday, after an independent investigation, the NFL announced that the allegations made by Jackson could not be substantiated.

“Following a 60-day independent review into comments made by former Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson that the Browns paid or otherwise provided incentives to lose games during the 2016-17 seasons, former U.S. Attorney and SEC Chair Mary Jo White and a team of lawyers from the Debevoise firm determined that none of the allegations could be substantiated.

“The investigation found no evidence to suggest that the Browns’ Four-Year Plan or the club’s ownership or football personnel sought to lose or incentivized losses and made no decisions deliberately to weaken the team to secure a more favorable draft position.”

According to the the league, Jackson, who was 3-36-1 with the Browns during his three seasons with the team, did not meet with investigators.

“The comprehensive review included the full cooperation of the Browns and interviews with Jimmy Haslam and current and former members of the organization. While Coach Jackson initially agreed to meet with the investigators, he ultimately did not do so.

“Although unable to speak directly to Coach Jackson, the Debevoise team had access to his public statements and to his filings and testimony in a prior arbitration proceeding. The club also produced thousands of pages of documents, including emails, texts, internal memos and presentation decks as well as other material relating to club operations and the filings and testimony in the arbitration proceeding between the club and Coach Jackson.”

Giants say Bill Belichick does not speak for their organization, says consideration for Flores was ‘serious’

The New York Giants have responded to former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who sued the NFL, and three other teams, including the Giants, for racial discrimination.

According to the lawsuit, Flores believed his interview with New York was a “sham,” and the team interviewed him to satisfy The Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates.

The Dolphins fired the 40-year-old Flores in January after two consecutive winning seasons.

Here is a statement from the Giants on Flores’ allegations:

“Brian Flores has raised serious issues in the filing of his complaint. The specific claims against the Giants and Mr. Flores’ allegations about the legitimacy of his candidacy for our head coach position are disturbing and simply false.

“After we interviewed six exceptional and diverse candidates, the decision on who we would hire as head coach was made on the evening of January 28, one day after Mr. Flores spent an entire day in our offices going through his second interview for the position, meeting with ownership and other staff members, and receiving a tour of our facility. (See the itinerary below). There is additional concrete and objective evidence to substantiate we did not make our decision until the evening of the 28th.”

According to the lawsuit, before Flores’ second interview with New York, he received text messages from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, his former boss in New England. In those texts, which were allegedly meant for the newest Giants head coach Brian Daboll, Belichick said the following: “Got it – I hear from Buffalo and NYG that you are their guy. Hope it works out if you want it to!”

The Giants responded to the texts from Belichick:

“The allegation that the Giants’ decision had been made prior to Friday evening, January 28, is false. And to base that allegation on a text exchange with Bill Belichick in which he ultimately states that he “thinks” Brian Daboll would get the job is irresponsible. The text exchange occurred the day before Coach Daboll’s in-person interview even took place. Giants’ ownership would never hire a head coach based only on a 20-minute zoom interview, which is all that Mr. Daboll had at that point.

In addition, Mr. Belichick does not speak for and has no affiliation with the Giants. Mr. Belichick’s text exchange provides no insight into what actually transpired during our head coaching search.”

Giants also added the following about Flores in their statement:

“It has been well documented how much research and due diligence we did on Mr. Flores as it related to his candidacy. John Mara called Mr. Flores two days after he was dismissed in Miami. Mr. Mara expressed to Mr. Flores in that January 12 call that once we had our new general manager in place, we would begin the process of hiring our head coach, and we wanted to meet with Mr. Flores because we considered him a serious candidate for the position. Mr. Mara and Mr. Flores then had their first formal conversation in a 25-30 minute zoom call on January 18 (at Mr. Flores’ request) to further discuss his candidacy.

“In between those initial conversations and Mr. Flores’ in-person interview on January 27, there were several other communications between Mr. Flores and members of our organization. This included a dinner with our newly hired general manager, Joe Schoen, the night before Mr. Flores’s in-person interview. The consensus from within the Giants organization after this dinner remained that Mr. Flores was an outstanding candidate, and we looked forward to sitting down with him in person the next day.

“Our hiring process and, most certainly, our consideration of Mr. Flores was serious and genuine. We are disappointed to learn that Mr. Flores was under the mistaken impression the job had already been awarded.

“In his CBS interview yesterday, Mr. Flores was asked if “clubs have the right to hire the person they think is the best qualified for the job or the person they feel is right for them?” Mr. Flores responded “They do. That’s very reasonable to me . . .”. That is exactly what we did.

“We hired Brian Daboll as our head coach at the conclusion of an open and thorough interview process. No decision was made, and no job offer was extended, until the evening of January 28, a full day after Mr. Flores’ in-person interview and day-long visit to the Giants.”

Giants interview former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores

On Thursday, the New York Giants interviewed former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. 

Flores, who coached the Dolphins for three seasons before getting fired by the team at the end of this season, is the sixth candidate to interview with the Giants’ front office, joining Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Lou Anarumo of Cincinnati, Dan Quinn of the Cowboys and the Giants’ Patrick Graham.

The 40-year-old Brooklyn native met with team president John Mara, chairman Steve Tisch, senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara and Joe Schoen, who was formally introduced yesterday as the Giants’ new general manager. 

Flores was 24-25 with the Dolphins. In his 2019 debut season, Miami lost its first seven games but finished 5-11, including a Week 17 victory against the Patriots that dropped New England to the third playoff seed and cost them a first-round bye. The following year, the Dolphins won nine of their last 12 games to finish 10-6 but did not qualify for the postseason. In 2021, Miami became the first team in NFL history to follow a seven-game losing streak with a seven-game winning streak. The Dolphins ended the season with a 9-8 record and out of the playoffs.

He began his coaching career as a special teams assistant for New England from 2008-09. In 2010, Flores served as an offensive assistant and worked with special teams. He spent his final eight seasons (2011-18) in New England coaching defense, first as a defensive assistant (2011), then as safeties coach (2012-2015), linebackers coach (2016-2017), and finally as the team’s defensive play-caller and linebackers coach in 2018.

During his 18 years in the NFL, Flores has contributed to victories in Super Bowls XXXIX, XLIX, LI, and LIII and seven AFC championships, all with New England.

Flores was a solid coach during his time with the Dolphins, and many were surprised he got fired. If he does not get hired by the Giants, Flores will definitely get an opportunity elsewhere.





Belichick, Saban, Flores, others react to the Giants hiring Joe Judge

On Wednesday, the Giants announced that they had hired former Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Judge.

The 38-year-old Judge will be introduced to the New York media at a press conference on Thursday.

Over the years, Judge has worked with such great coaches as Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, and on Wednesday, Belichick, Saban, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, and Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater gave their thoughts on Judge.

Here is what they had to say:

“Joe has done an outstanding job. He’s an excellent coach. He understands the game well, works extremely hard and is a very good teacher of fundamentals. Joe picks up concepts and coaching points quickly.  He is an exceptional leader and one of the best coaches I have been around. He has been responsible for coaching units comprised of nearly every player on the roster. That requires an ability to handle many moving parts, make constant adjustments and immediate decisions.  I appreciate Joe’s many contributions to our staff and team and wish him well.”

–Bill Belichick, Head Coach, New England Patriots

“Joe did a fantastic job for our program early on in our tenure in Tuscaloosa. He went on to have a lot of success on Bill’s (Belichick) staff in New England. Joe is one of the brightest young coaches in our profession, and I think he will do a tremendous job as the head coach of the New York Giants. They are getting an extremely smart football coach who is very loyal, organized and diligent about getting the job done. We wish Joe and his entire family the best of luck with the Giants.”

–Nick Saban, Head Coach, University of Alabama

“It has been a real joy working with Joe over the past eight years. Joe’s commitment, work ethic and love for the game are incredible. His intelligence and knowledge of the game set him apart. We have shared many personal and professional mountaintop experiences together. I’m thankful for the time he coached me and know that without his contributions my personal NFL experience would not have been the same. I wish him nothing but the best moving forward. He will always have a fan in me.”

–Matthew Slater, Special Teamer, New England Patriots

“Joe is a coach I have a lot of respect for after working alongside him for seven seasons. He has great attention to detail and leaves no stone unturned in his preparation. His units were always well-coached and among the best in the league. I wish him success in New York.”

–Brian Flores, Head Coach, Miami Dolphins

“Joe and I worked together for three years when he was an assistant at Alabama.  He was high energy, had great attention to detail, and was always wanting to learn more about all aspects of the game.  He’s been recognized for a while as an up and coming coach and I think the Giants are a great fit for him and he’s a great fit for the Giants.”

–Kirby Smart, Head Coach, University of Georgia

Stills on Flores playing Jay-Z songs during practice: ‘I don’t think a little bit of Jay-Z is going to really ruffle my feathers’

Miami Dolphins WR Kenny Stills continues to kneel before every game during the National Anthem and recently, has been very critical of rapper Jay-Z’s recent partnership with the NFL.

On Tuesday, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores decided to play eight straight Jay-Z songs during practice, which some felt was in response to Stills’ criticism of Jay-Z. However, Stills was not bothered.

“It was just music, was my reaction,” Stills said after the Dolphins’ victory over Jaguars on Thursday night. “We play music at practice every day, and Coach (Flores) kind of came up to me during practice, and was like ‘we’re going to be playing Jay-Z today,’ and that was it.”

Stills revealed why Flores decided to go with that particular playlist.

“We talked about it in house, and he handled it in house, but for the most part I think it was just him trying to see if I could handle if someone was going to heckle me, or play Jay-Z music in another stadium, if I was going to be mentally strong enough to withstand that type of treatment I guess,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with this since 2016 – music, boos, racial slurs, so I don’t think a little bit Jay-Z is going to really ruffle my feathers that bad.”

After the Dolphins’ victory over the Jaguars, Flores revealed the method behind the madness:

“So after the playlist was done, what you guys don’t know is I walked up to Kenny in front of the entire group and said, this is a challenge to you to get open, catch the football and make plays for this team regardless of what’s going on outside of this building,” Flores said.

“The next day – because there was a lot more attention paid to this than I ever would have imagined – I got up in front of the team, and I told them that I support Kenny. I support Kenny. I support the player protests. I mean, quite honestly, they’re bringing attention to my story. So let’s talk about that. I’m the son of immigrants. I’m black. I grew up poor. I grew up in New York during the stop and frisk era, so I’ve been stopped because I fit a description before. So everything that these guys protest, I’ve lived it. I’ve experienced it. So, yeah, I applaud those guys who protest. So whether it’s (Colin) Kaepernick or Eric Reid or Kenny (Stills), I applaud those guys. I told Kenny that in our meeting, in front of the entire team. So that’s where I stand on this thing, and I think it got – it got way more press than it needed to.

“I’m trying to challenge one of my players, and I’m going to do that how I see fit. Look, what these guys protest about is important. I lived it. I experienced it. I don’t know how many people have, but I lived it. So I understand why guys protest, and it’s important. But you know what else is important to me? That guys perform. There’s 89 guys in that locker room who are counting on Kenny to get open, catch the football, and perform for this team, and that’s important to me. If anybody’s got a problem with that, then we’ve just got a problem. We’re going to agree to disagree.

“I feel like that’s important, and that’s where I stand on this thing. Whatever scrutiny or media or whatever I get, then that’s what I get. I believe, and that’s it. Look, the player protest, I lived it. I mean, I don’t know how many people in here have, but I lived it. So that’s where I’m at on that. It was a challenge to Kenny to perform regardless of whatever’s going on outside. I would say – and I’ve said this to him – he hasn’t performed to that level over the course of this training camp as I’ve seen him. So that was a challenge.”

Stills will definitely get heckled throughout the season, and in reality, you practice to prepare for all situations, including taunting, so on some level, you have to give Flores credit for recognizing the moment, and using it as a teachable moment.