INDIANAPOLIS — Head Coach Brian Flores touched on a variety of topics during his media session at the scouting combine, and one of them was his coaching staff.
Specifically, Flores was asked about an incoming coach and one who just left.
Perhaps the most significant addition to the coaching staff in the offseason was that of longtime coach Chan Gailey, who was hired as offensive coordinator.
Gailey will be in charge of the Dolphins offense for a second time, reprising a role he filled in 2000-01. He's also been offensive coordinator with the Broncos, Steelers, Chiefs and Jets, and head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills.
"Having coached against him in years past, he was always someone tough to deal with schematically, good situationally," Flores said. "I've heard many great things about him as a teacher. The big thing for me is always teaching. He's a great teacher and this time that he's been here, I've seen more and more of that. I'm excited to have him."
The Dolphins announced more changes to the coaching staff last week, but an opening was created when Karl Dorrell, who was promoted to assistant head coach/wide receivers coach, left to take over as head coach at the University of Colorado.
"I'm very excited for Karl," Flores said. "I think it's a great opportunity for him. He and I had some very conversations about it. I think he was happy here with the Dolphins but it was an opportunity that I was very supportive of and he wanted it. Like I said, all our coaches are, if it's something that they want, then I'm going to be supportive of those guys.
"As far as assistant head coach, we're still kind of in the process of looking to replace Karl and all the things he was doing well with us. We'll see how it goes. It's still early in the process."
Gotta have "it"
As the Dolphins evaluate quarterbacks at the combine, they obviously would like to find a prospect with the best possible combination of physical attributes and intangibles.
The physical attributes, of course, are size, arm strength and mobility, while the intangibles would include leadership, intelligence and love of the game.
But then there's that undefinable characteristic known as the "it" factor.
"I think that's something everyone talks about," Flores said. "Does he have that factor? Do guys rally around him? That's something you see watching the film, but you get to know the player, you get to know people around him, his coaches. Anybody who has had an effect on (him). You want to get to know them and have those conversations and I think it's a feel. You may feel like a guy has 'It.' (Another person) may not. As a group, myself and (GM) Chris (Grier), we spend a lot of time talking about a lot of things. If we feel like a player has that, we feel like it's something every organization is looking for. It's an important piece. But it's different. Everybody has a different thought process and opinion on that."
So, is having "it" a requirement for Flores?
"I mean the good ones have it, so yeah."
Representing the cause
Flores showed up at his media session wearing a black T-shirt with a large message that read, "FIGHTER," and below it, "DOLPHINS CANCER CHALLENGE."
Flores, of course, has been a big supporter of the DCC, which will be having its 10th edition Saturday.
"Just supporting the function the Dolphins are going to have this weekend," Flores explained. "It's a 5K walk or run and bike. I think it's a tremendous cause to raise a lot of money for cancer research. The Dolphins have done a great job supporting the fight against cancer, and I'm going to support it the best way I can."
Flores, whose mother passed away from cancer last year, will not be able to attend the DCC event Saturday because he'll still be in Indianapolis for the combine.
The status of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's right hip just might be the biggest topic at the 2020 NFL combine and he provided he encouraging update during his media session Tuesday.
Tagovailoa, who was injured in November in a game against Mississippi State, said he expects to get full clearance from his doctors when he meets with them March 9 and anticipates being ready to be a full participant for his future NFL team's OTAs.
Tagovailoa said he was planning on having his own Pro Day on April 9.
"This rehab process has been gradually getting up as far as workouts with what we've been doing," Tagovailoa said. "Just strengthening all the parts around the hip, the glute, hamstring, quad. Just being able to be ready that once March 9 hits and we're cleared to go, I'll be able to do everything."
Strong sales pitch
General Manager Chris Grier is happy with the progress the Dolphins organization has made over the past year, and he believes that will serve as a strong selling point to potential free agent targets.
The Dolphins, of course, closed out the 2019 regular season with five victories in their final nine games, including the thrilling 27-24 come-from-behind win at New England in the regular season finale.
"I think last year … at the end of the year, going up to New England, beating New England like that with New England playing for something, that was really important," Grier said. "Everyone was telling us, 'Lose for a draft pick.' It didn't make any sense. You're going to have a team that's going to be competitive, tough, smart and we're building it the right way with a coach that's going to lead us to good things in the future."
It's also going to help when veterans trying to choose their new team see all the assets the Dolphins have at their disposal as they move forward.
"I think it's a big piece," Grier said. "People want to see you're trying to do things to win. I think what we've done and what we've acquired, I think for any player, especially for a young player, they're going to be excited about the opportunity to come in with a lot of picks, a lot of good, young players and build and grow with them and to create something special."
Clemson's Tee Higgins, who is among the top wide receiver prospects in the 2020 draft, gave big kudos to the school's formidable 2018 defensive line for setting a great example for their younger teammates.
That defensive line featured three first-round picks in the 2019 NFL draft, one of them being Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.
"Those leaders, they taught the young guys the ropes," Higgins said. "When those guys left, the young DL came in and just took over, kept it going."
At 6-4, 216, Higgins is among the biggest wide receiver prospects, and he had an interesting math formula to describe one of his strengths: "Obviously I'm a tall receiver and I'm gonna win a 50-50 ball 80-20 my way."
They said it
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love when asked to what NFL player he would compare himself: "I get asked that a lot. I'd say Patrick Mahomes, based on arm talent and what he can do. I'm not saying I'm Patrick Mahomes … calm down. But Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, guys who can make plays."
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow on his thoughts on the Dolphins: "They have a lot of assets and it seems like they have begun to build a team that can be successful. I don't know a lot about it. I'm just coming in Year 1 as a rookie. You guys know more about it than me. They seem to be doing the right things."