In hindsight, it may have been very wise for the Dolphins to not request the traditional post-London bye following their game against the Jaguars. With six days until the next game, coach Brian Flores doesn’t have to worry about possibly getting the Joe Philbin treatment from owner Stephen Ross.
In year three of the Flores era, the Dolphins have regressed, badly. They lost to only the second team to lose 20 games in a row, in the 102-year history of the NFL. And they unwittingly set up the nine-yard gain on fourth and eight that permitted Jacksonville’s game-winning field goal to happen, after calling timeout at a time when the Jaguars were preparing to throw the ball to the end zone.
They, ultimately, is Flores. He’s in charge. He pushed the team to the brink of the playoffs in 2020, and he’s now responsible for a free fall that may continue. The Dolphins are currently two-point home underdogs to the Falcons, who played last weekend in London and had two weeks to prepare for their next game.
Then there’s the Tua dynamic. Even if Ross himself wanted Tua, it was for the football operations (Flores and G.M. Chris Grier) to push back. To push Justin Herbert, the next guy taken after Tua.
Someone has to be responsible for the decision to put so much faith in Tua. Again, that ultimately may be Ross, but he won’t fire himself. He can, and he has, fired the people who work for him.
The Dolphins have seven games to go until their bye, and several opportunities to win are coming. The Falcons on Sunday, the Texans in Week Nine. The Jets in Week 11. The Giants in Week 13.
How many will it take to avoid a possibly bye-week farewell, along with an early start on looking for a new coach? That depends on whether Ross is truly ready to make a change. He has fired Tony Sparano, Philbin, and Adam Gase, since becoming controlling owner of the team. Sparano and Philbin went during their fourth seasons, and Gase was fired after finishing his third.
Whether the time comes for Flores during his third season, after his third season, or during his fourth season, there’s one way to prevent it.