coach SPEAK
Dolphin Digest|August 30, 2021
Head coach Brian Flores offers his thoughts on a wide variety of topics, including Jakeem Grant and his value as a returner, what the new linebackers will bring, and Jacoby Brissett’s team-first attitude
Brian Flores

Q. What was the thinking in making changes in the linebacker room? What did you hope to accomplish in terms of skills you wanted to add? Are you happy with the group now that you have after obviously adding a handful of players at linebacker?

BF: Yeah, we made a couple of additions to the linebacker room — Duke Riley, (Benardrick) McKinney – and yeah, we like the group. They work hard, they’re tough, they’re smart, they’re competitive, it’s important to them. Going back to the spring and OTAs, it’s a group that works well together, or they’re trying to work well together. They’ve all got a different skill set that we can potentially use, whether it’s pass game, pass rush, run defense, kicking game. Again, (it’s) a very competitive room. The new guys plus ‘Bake’ (Jerome Baker), plus (Elandon) Roberts, plus (Calvin) Munson, plus (Sam) Eguavoen – I think it’s a competitive group. If we continue to just build and take it one day at a time and try to improve every day, we’ll hopefully have a solid group.

Q. WR Jakeem Grant was able to attain All-Pro status for his performance as a kick returner and punt returner. How do you value and balance a player’s ability in that area, even if he’s not necessarily say a starter at the receiver position?

BF: I think there’s a lot of value in having an explosive returner who can flip the field and flip field position and score. I think we all see the value in that. Jakeem obviously is very explosive. He’s obviously productive, not only as a returner but as a receiver as well. We’re happy to have him. We’ll keep working. Obviously there’s a lot of competition in that room.

Q. What level of growth have you seen from QB Tua Tagovailoa as far as the deep ball?

BF: I think it’s something he’s placed an emphasis on, and we’ve placed an emphasis on. Not pushing the ball downfield but taking advantage of those opportunities if they’re there. Like always, we want to have good fundamentals, good techniques, good mechanics, go through his progression, and if it’s there and it’s open, we can throw them open and take a shot. We’re not going to make them if we don’t throw them. I think he’s taking more shots downfield and I think hopefully he’s gaining more confidence that he can make some of those throws. But at the same time, not every throw is going to be a 50-yarder or a 60-yarder. You’ve got to make good decisions.

Q. How much of a priority was improving the run game and then improving the run defense this offseason when you talk about how you were going to build the 2021 team?

BF: I think you always want to improve on a lot of areas. Obviously, in every area. But, yeah, run defense is important. I think that’s always kind of a standard, “Hey, we want to be good against the run, force them to be one-dimensional and play defense that way.” I think every defense — high school, college, pros — is saying the same thing from that standpoint. So, yeah, there’s importance placed there.

Q. After adding DL Adam Butler to mix with DT Christian Wilkins, DT Raekwon Davis and DT Zach Sieler, are you comfortable with the number of defensive linemen that you have that you can alternate in this heat to rush the passer? And what did you like specifically about Butler?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM DOLPHIN DIGESTView All

Q&A with Miami Dolphins Legend Richmond Webb

I was lucky enough to interview the legend, Richmond Webb. For those Dolphins fans who live under a rock, Webb is one of the greatest Miami Dolphins players ever and their greatest left tackle of all time.

10+ mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

To do list

GAME PLAN

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Putting the pieces together

Analyzing the 53-man roster

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

You're in Safe Hands with the Dolphins Safeties

After an off-season where the Miami Dolphins had daily drama surrounding who would be the quarterback, which coordinator was really calling the plays, and does their number one pick have a limp, went into Foxborough and did something they’ve only done once since 2008.

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Xavien Howard worth every penny

The Miami Dolphins were in the news daily during the offseason, but it was mainly regarding starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Head coach Brian Flores talks about the Raekwon Davis injury, beating New England Week 1, Tua Tagovailoa, Noah Igbinoghene and more

COACH SPEAK

9 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Offensive line an early season concern

PARTING SHOTS

1 min read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Jaylen Waddle is as advertised

The 2021 first-round pick has been a bright spot for the Dolphins

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

Can Miami tackle their tackle issues?

The Miami Dolphins currently have a 2020 first-round pick, a 2021 second-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick, and a player who has started 56 games for them over the last four seasons to choose from at right and left tackle.

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

AROUND THE AFC EAST

The race for the AFC East crown gets started

2 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021