Brian Flores explained his decision to fire offensive line coach Pat Flaherty one week into training camp by expressing concern about the lack of communication and cohesiveness he had witnessed from the Miami Dolphins offensive line.
The unit struggled during the first two padded practices of training camp and rather than wait to see if their performance would improve, Flores decided to hand it over to Dave DeGuglielmo, a well-respected assistant he targeted before hiring Flaherty in February.
Flaherty is a Delone Catholic High School graduate.
“I went with my gut,” Flores explained. “I’m always going to do what’s in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins, and I think that was the case with this move. As a team we need to move forward. The easy decision would have been to do nothing and hope it gets better.”
Flaherty, a 19-year coaching veteran who spent the previous two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, said only left tackle Laremy Tunsil had locked up a starting spot based on the first week of camp.
“There is no one specific incident, at the end of the day I felt [DeGuglielmo] would be a better fit. He is someone I targeted,” Flores said about his reasoning for making the move. “For me, this team, and our staff that was the right move to make.”
Flaherty has a long and successful background on both the NCAA Division I and NFL levels. He is best known for coaching the New York Giants offensive line from 2004 through 2015. The Giants won two Super Bowls during that period.
Flaherty still has family in the McSherrystown area and annually holds the Mason-Dixon Linemen Clinic at Delone.
The Dolphins had hired DeGuglielmo as an analyst earlier this summer, and the 16-year coaching veteran, who had ties with Flores from their time together in New England, had been assisting with practices since the offseason program began.
DeGuglielmo coached Miami’s offensive line from 2009-2011, working under the late Tony Sparano before he and his coaching staff were fired. He returned to Miami in 2017.
Flores says Fitzpatrick likely starter: In a related note, Flores also said Ryan Fitzpatrick has become the front-runner in the Dolphins’ quarterback competition ahead of Josh Rosen.
Speaking before practice Tuesday less than a week into training camp, Flores said Fitzpatrick has run the offense well, shown great leadership and been more productive. But the first-year coach said the competition involving the two Dolphins newcomers will continue.
Fitzpatrick, who is entering his 15th NFL season, worked with the first team throughout offseason drills. This year he can become the first player to throw a pass for eight teams.
Rosen had a rocky rookie season last season after being drafted in the first round by Arizona. Miami traded for him in April.
The Dolphins began camp without quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the first time since 2011.