What we know about the Dolphins’ reported plans to hire Brian Flores

"Whenever the Patriots are done, I am told they do intend to make him their next head coach."

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2018, file photo, New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores watches his team warm up before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, in Foxborough, Mass. The Dolphins have begun their search for a coach who’s ready to lose a lot this year. Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores, the first candidate to interview for the Dolphins’ job, met with them Friday, Jan. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores watches his team warm up before a game against the Houston Texans this past September in Foxborough. –Charles Krupa / AP

Could the Patriots lose their top defensive play-caller two years in a row?

It certainly seems like it.

According to multiple reports Friday afternoon, the Miami Dolphins are planning to try to hire Brian Flores, the former Boston College linebacker and Patriots defensive assistant, to replace Adam Gase as head coach.

The Dolphins fired Gase, who went 23-26 over three years, on New Year’s Eve following the team’s 7-9 season.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reported Friday afternoon that the team had “narrowed the focus of their search” for a new coach to Flores. According to Rapoport, the 37-year-old linebackers coach, who took over the defensive play-calling duties following Matt Patricia’s departure last offseason (though the Patriots technically went without a defensive coordinator), has been the rebuilding Dolphins’ “favorite all along.”

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Flores was one of the first candidates to interview for the Dolphins job following Gase’s firing. According to Yahoo’s Charles Robinson, Flores “blew away” the team’s general manager, Chris Grier.

Since the Patriots are still in the playoffs, their AFC East rivals are currently prohibited from making a deal under NFL rules. They would have to wait until New England’s playoff run is over. But subsequent reports Friday evening make it sound as though the deal is all but official.

“Whenever the Patriots are done, I am told [the Dolphins] do intend to make [Flores] their next head coach,” Rapoport said Friday on NFL Network. “Though, of course, again, nothing official.”

The Miami Herald‘s Almando Salguero also quickly corroborated Rapoport’s report, citing a league source who said the Dolphins will try to hire Flores “as soon as the New England Patriots lose in the playoffs.” But if that effort somehow fails, their second choice is Dallas Cowboys defensive assistant Kris Richard.

Given the recent history of other attempts to poach Patriots assistants, it may be good to have a back-up plan.