New England Patriots

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Miami Dolphins have “narrowed their focus” to Patriots linebackers coach/de facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores as their next head coach.

Per NFL rules, the Dolphins are not allowed to make an announcement or formally negotiate a deal with Flores until after the Patriots’ season is over. That may explain the vague language in Rapoport’s original tweet. But it appears that the Dolphins have made their choice, and Flores will be on his way out of New England once the Patriots are done playing for 2018.

Flores has served as the Patriots’ defensive play-caller this season, despite not holding the official title of defensive coordinator. In that respect, he would jump from linebackers coach to head coach with the move to Miami.

The Dolphins’ choice of Flores goes against a current trend in the NFL of hiring offensive-minded head coaches. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels also received interest from the Packers and Bengals, but only accepted an interview with the Packers. They eventually went with former Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.

Flores’ departure would leave no clear candidate to assume play-calling duties for the Patriots defense. Special assistant Bret Bielema could be a candidate, and former Ohio State defensive coordinator & Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has been rumored as a candidate in the past.

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