Brian Flores Has a Deep Message for His Players

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When Brian Flores was hired to fix the horrendous defense, everyone expected it to be a stepping stone for the former head coach. The highly-regarded coach has already been on the receiving end of a lot of buzz for potential head coaching gigs despite his ongoing lawsuit against the league. What NFL owners think of him when job interviews begin remains to be seen.

Brian Flores Has a Deep Message for His Players

Through the first 12 games of his tenure in Minnesota, Flores has done a wonderful job overhauling the defense. His approach of either blitzing or dropping eight players into coverage could be a revolutionary strategy in the league. Quarterbacks never know what to expect before getting the ball, especially young players who are heavily confused. In addition, his players love playing for him, and he has built a great culture on the defensive side of the ball.

Brian Flores Has a Deep Message for His Players
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Of course, all of that raises the question of how long the coordinator will stay in this position. He was asked about his approach and potential interest in the next hiring cycle. The most interesting part is his heartfelt message to the players.

I understand the question, I really do. My message to our guys yesterday was we’ve got 35 guaranteed days. That’s all we got. That’s guaranteed. And I asked them to put everything into these 35 days. And I just can’t give that message and not heed that message so that’s where my focus is, on these guys, this team, these next five games because that’s all we really have.

All the other stuff, I asked them to block it out and I’m blocking it out myself because I think you got to lead by example and I’m certainly going to do that. I know that that’s out there, I’m not blind to any of that but I’m really focused on the task at hand.

Brian Flores
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores talks with defensive players Jerome Baker (55), Kamu Grugier-Hill (51), Brandon Jones (29), and Bobby McCain (28) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, November 15, 2020. (ALLEN EYESTONE / THE PALM BEACH POST)

The NFL is a day-to-day business. Players and coaches will leave after the season, some to chase down better opportunities and others because they were fired or released. Nobody knows that better than Flores, who had the first back-to-back winning seasons in roughly two decades as Miami’s head coach and was still fired.

For that reason, Flores will wait for the right opportunity and not just jump ship for any job. The second chance might be his last. It’s hard to imagine him taking over a franchise without a patient ownership group, a solid front office, and the guarantee of having a few years before his results are judged.

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When the defensive coach arrived in Minnesota, the hope was that he could take the suspect personnel and improve the unit to at least an average level by adding his defensive brilliance. Not many expected his group to become one of the best defenses in the NFL within a few months.

The Vikings rank 8th in points allowed, 13th in yards allowed, and 8th in yards per play allowed. They are also 8th in EPA/Play. After some rough performances early in the season, Flores has his defense ranking 2nd in EPA/Play since Week 4.

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Players have made a huge jump this year. Danielle Hunter, Camryn Bynum, Jordan Hicks, and Harrison Phillips all deserve a lot of praise, and so does Flores, who puts them in a position to succeed.

Entering the season, the Vikings were supposed to be an offensive juggernaut, but that changed when Kirk Cousins got hurt as the offense started to click. The organization now needs the defense to be the strong suit of the team, and indeed, Flores and his players have been keeping the team in games seemingly every week despite the offensive struggles.

Players and coaches try to ignore the future as long as they are competing, and fans should try to do the same as long as the team is alive. The Vikings will play at least five more games with Flores on the sidelines, and offseason matters belong in the offseason.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt