Brian Flores

Brian Flores definitively puts Dolphins QB controversy to rest

Brian Flores is many things, but there is at least one thing he is not. He is not particularly fond of repeating himself. Undoubtedly, that’s a trait he shares with the majority of the world. Who wants to say the same thing over and over as if no one heard you the first time? But it seems that the Miami Dolphins head coach has been dealing with this for the past two weeks, as rumors swirl about the status of QB Tua Tagovailoa.

To be clear, Brian Flores has been saying the same thing all through the offseason. Apparently, in his mind only, Flores has been abundantly clear. All of the outside noise, it doesn’t matter. All of those rumors regarding acquiring Texans star QB Deshaun Watson, more noise. But ever since Yahoo Sports’s Charles Robinson reignited the firestorm with his report of Miami discussing a trade with Houston, it’s been hard to ignore. Flores directly addressed this issue on Tuesday.

“I think there’s always rumors. There’s always speculation.” He said Tuesday. “There’s always some form of distractions and I think as a team we’ve got to block that stuff out and play. I thought they did that yesterday and I think that’s something that all players deal with in the National Football League. There’s always something going on. There’s always something that – some form of speculation or controversy and we just block it out, ignore it and move on.”


But the speculation continued, and it even reached a point where Flores felt compelled to make a statement to the entire team.

A statement that Flores would prefer remains in-house.

“You guys know this, I don’t really get into conversations I have with the team, players.” Flores said on Wednesday. “Those conversations are private. Like I’ve said before, I think it’s just common courtesy to keep those conversations between myself and the player or the team. I will say that Tua is our quarterback, I think he’s had a good training camp, I think he’s made a lot of progress. I think he’s made a lot of improvement and we’re pleased with where he is. He’s going through his preparations for New England the way he should be, and that’s where we are as a team.”

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Now that should have been enough. He said Tua Tagovailoa is the starting quarterback. But speculation continued, because Flores still hadn’t outright said that Miami was not interested in Deshaun Watson. So again the question was asked. Is Tua Tagovailoa the starter? And again, Flores repeated himself. This time though, the frustration came through.

“I don’t know if I can be more clear. I don’t know how many times – I don’t know how much more clear I can be here.” Flores said. “Tua is the starter. Do I need to say it again? I will.”

Later that same day, Tua Tagovailoa added his own comments. He made it clear he appreciated his coach coming up to bat for him.

“I think it means a lot with it coming from the head coach. The support that I have from him and from the team, it means a lot. But for me, I’m just focused literally on trying to get our guys ready for next week.”

Even if Brian Flores doesn’t say the specific words everyone’s looking for, the message is clear. Not to mention the message has been consistent all offseason long. The answer is always the same. Tua Tagovailoa is the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. Maybe there is some truth to the rumors that owner Stephen Ross wants Deshaun Watson.

On the other hand, several reports came out that Ross won’t force football decisions and has faith in Tagovailoa. That should be the end of the discussion. Brian Flores is as clear as he can possibly be. He isn’t going to make an official statement about Deshaun Watson, no matter how much anyone pries. He’s been consistent about that ever since he arrived in 2019, and he reiterated that philosophy last Sunday after the Bengals game.

“Reports (and) speculation are not things we really get into. Look, I understand the question; but as I’ve said in the past, any conversations we have or don’t have with other clubs are going to be internal. I’ve been pretty steadfast about that – with our players, with other clubs – and that will remain the case.”

Will this satisfy the skeptics who still insist the Miami Dolphins aren’t happy with Tua Tagovailoa? Probably not. But Brian Flores isn’t going to change his personal philosophy just to appease the media or the fan base. However, there is a counterargument. Why would Brian Flores be so evasive about Deshaun Watson, and yet so definitive about Xavien Howard when rumors swirled around him?

Everyone will remember last month when Brian Flores went on record to tell the media to write down they didn’t want to trade Xavien Howard. He couldn’t have been more clear. So why not do the same now for Tua Tagovailoa and Deshaun Watson?

The simple answer: He’s been clear about Tagovailoa. But Watson is not on the team. Therefore, Flores is not commenting. Is it the best strategy? That’s up for debate. Nevertheless, that’s who Brian Flores is, and everyone just needs to accept that.

The easy way to make this all go away, obviously, is for Tagovailoa to become the player he was in college. All preseason signs point to that being the case this season. If Miami wins games, if the offense looks good, the Watson talk will vanish into the ether. If he struggles, however, Flores has a lot of repeating himself to look forward to. He’s put down the rumors every which way, but there’s only one thing that will kill them.

As the old saying goes: Winning cures all.

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung

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