Michael Lombard Says Brian Flores Told Tua He Wished He'd Drafted Mac Jones
"I don't think [Brian] Flores was shy about telling [Tua Tagovailoa], 'I should've picked Mac Jones.' ... In fact, I know that he wasn't. You know, remember I said there was commentary between the head coach and Tua during the season and I wouldn't reveal what the conversation was? Well the conversation was, 'Hey. If I'd have known you were going to be this bad, I'd have picked Mac Jones.'" - Michael Lombardi, on his podcast
Before we go a step further, I have to issue this disclaimer, from the source himself:
Then, I'll have to go one other step further and ignore any suggesting this isn't what Flores said, assume these words represent the spirit of what Flores believed, and keep commenting on it like it is, in fact, the gospel truth. Or at least the general truth. Even if Lombardi was simply paraphrasing.
Anyway, it would certainly explain a lot. Why Flores got fired, for one. When a team is in the middle of Year 2 of a rebuild around a quarterback they spent the No. 5 draft pick on, and the coach has no faith in him, and is in fact showing quarterback envy for a younger guy from the same school he regrets not taking, an owner has a decision to make. Either move on from the player you're paying $30 million to, or get rid of the coach and bring in someone who does believe in him. Or will pretend to believe in him, in order to land the job.
Let's keep in mind in all this, that Lombardi is one of the most insidery of Belichick insiders. He's been on Belichick's staff in both Cleveland and New England, and therefore is presumably on good terms with Flores as well. Maybe not to the point B-Flo is calling him to pour his heart out to him necessarily. But it's reasonable to assume they're on professional speaking terms. Which is why I give this a lot of credibility.
More to the point, it's credible because it makes sense. Especially the part about the Dolphins building an offense around Tua. Only to discover the limits of an RPO system: 22nd in the league in points, 22nd in the league in yards. Meanwhile, they look at New England, where Mac Jones had them 6th in points in just his rookie season, and it's got to be damned near impossible for a guy like Flores to feel anything other than regret he didn't grab Jones while he had the chance. After all, the Dolphins were sitting on the 18th pick. And it would've have cost them an exorbitant amount to move up from there to 14 (the Jets traded up into that slot, so it was available) to get him. Then they could've had a Bama reunion between Jones and No. 6 pick Jaylen Waddle, instead of having to reinvent the pro offense with that gadgety stuff.
And this bad, bad juju for the Dolphins. Because not only did they lose a promising, respected young head coach in the deal, they're stuck with Tua. And, won't be able to hire anyone to replace Flores unless he'll commit to making it work. Meanwhile the Patriots get to keep Josh McDaniels and let him further develop Jones to challenge Josh Allen for AFC East QB supremacy in the years to come.
Again, we don't know for sure that these conversations took place. Whether this is verbatim what was said between the coach and QB in Miami, a paraphrasing or merely speculation. But on the Jerry Principle of Uncertainty, when I'm not sure what is true, I always choose to believe what I want to believe. In this case, these things were said. That Flores is right. And the Dolphins are in the familiar position of being a clusterfuck for years to come. Once again.
I love being in this division.