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CBS SPORTS — The Bill Belichick coaching tree is on the verge of producing yet another head coach. This time, it’s Brian Flores’ turn to leave New England in search of his own opportunity, which will apparently come within the AFC East.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Dolphins are targeting Flores to replace Adam Gase as head coach.

 

Before zeroing in on Flores, the Dolphins also considered Cowboys passing game coordinator and defensive backs coach Kris Richard, according to USA Today’s Mike Jones. They’ve apparently targeted Flores, but they can’t officially hire him until the Patriots‘ season ends. On Sunday, the Patriots will host the Chargers in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Flores, 37, has been with the Patriots for 11 seasons. Officially, he’s the team’s linebackers coach, but he took over defensive play-calling duties when Matt Patricia left to take the Lions head coaching job a year ago. He just doesn’t have the defensive coordinator title. So, this will likely be the second-straight offseason the Patriots are losing their top defensive assistant.

Plucking an assistant away from Belichick has become a popular practice, but it isn’t usually successful.

 

In Miami, Flores would be inheriting a 7-9 team that went 23-25 under Gase, who rebounded quickly by getting the Jets job. Defensively, Flores has a ton of work to do to fix a unit that finished this past season ranked 29th in yards allowed, 27th in points allowed, and 25th in defensive DVOA. The offense will also require fixing. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is under contract through 2020, but questions about his long-term future in Miami have persisted after yet another uneven season.

There’s a reason the Dolphins’ job opening wasn’t considered to be all that attractive. The Patriots are still the Patriots, and the Jets and Bills appear to have found their future franchise quarterbacks in Sam Darnold and Josh Allen. The AFC East has long been an awful division the Patriots have repeatedly breezed their way through, but the two New York teams appear to be climbing their way back to competitiveness just as the Patriots are beginning to show cracks. The Dolphins, meanwhile, don’t have their future franchise quarterback or a talented enough roster to overcome pedestrian quarterback play.

Before Flores can worry about fixing the Dolphins, he’ll be more concerned by the threat the Chargers pose to the Patriots’ defense on Sunday. But a difficult task awaits him in Miami if he does accept an offer that appears to be coming.

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