"It starts with being smart, fast and physical."
Brian Flores has an established reputation across the league; a message perpetuated by new linebacker Kyle Van Noy. One year into his Dolphins tenure, word has gotten out that Flores has turned Miami into a destination for the lunch-pail types: the players that embrace the grind and understand that taking shortcuts only suspends success.
"I'm excited to work with Coach Flores," defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah said. "He wants the best for the players. He wants us to come in here work, keep our head down, focus on the field and do what's best for the team."
That mentality creates a respect that travels both ways – from coach to player and from player to coach.
"I respect the coach," Van Noy said about what attracted him to Miami. "'Flo' is a really, really good coach. I respect what he's all about. I respect his coaching and what he brings to the table."
It's not just what Miami's second-year head coach brings to the football field. It's the genuine love and respect he feels for the guys that resonates with his current and former players.
"[Brian] Flores is a great leader," linebacker Elandon Roberts said. "He cares about you as a person and your family."
Several of Flores' former players were eager to join his program, and not just players from his former linebackers room or the defenses he used to oversee. Players that were around Flores in any capacity, such as from the offensive side of the ball like new Dolphins center Ted Karras, want to play for him.
"I really believe in what Coach Flores is building," Karras said. "I want to get in on the ground floor and help him build it. He has a tough attitude, loves the game, wants to win and prepares to win. Those are qualities that we share."
The reach of Flores' respect doesn't stop with the players, it reverberates throughout the coaching staff. According to new Dolphins linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill – who credits Flores for his draft day phone call in 2016 – he knew his position coach was destined for bigger things.
"You could just tell by his demeanor," Grugier-Hill said. "Not just from the players, even the other coaches had big respect [for him]. He ran most of the individual drills, the walkthroughs. He just had that swagger to him."
The rest of the league took notice as the 2019 season bled into 2020. New Dolphins safety Clayton Fejedelem recognized something special being built before he arrived in Miami.
"You watch the film and you see a team that was always getting better," Fejedelem said. "There's a chance here that we're building something special and I want to be part of that; everything that Coach Flores has been doing."
New defensive end Shaq Lawson experienced it by playing against a Flores-coached team twice in the 2019 season.
"They played us hard both games when I was in Buffalo," Lawson said. "[Flores has] a great program going. He brought his guys in and he's running it the right way."
Bringing in players that can relay that message to the locker room is an important part of the process. Signing with the Dolphins has empowered Byron Jones to elevate his leadership skillset by becoming a vocal leader for a young team.
"What I really like about this Dolphins team is that it's young," Jones said. "For me, this will be a new challenge not just in terms of leading by example but leading with my voice. This was an opportunity to do that. That, to me, was an exciting challenge. I believe in what Coach Flores is doing. I spoked to a bunch of coaches about him and everyone had nothing but good things to say about him, so I know he's building something special and I want to be a part of it."
Like Jones, new Dolphins running back Jordan Howard has never played for Flores, but his contacts around football echoed that same message.
"From talking to people, they say that it's [a great] atmosphere," Howard said. "They love the program coach Flores is building."
The primary goal of the program is to win football games, a trait shared by Miami native and new Dolphins offensive lineman Ereck Flowers.
"He's an upbeat guy," Flowers said. "He's ready to win."
Smart, fast, and physical. Those, along with toughness and discipline, will be the hallmark of Brian Flores' Miami Dolphins – a message that has already resonated with the 10 newest members of the program.
To listen to the full-length interviews with each of Miami's free agent signings, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield wherever you get your podcasts.