Football teams are said to take on the personality of their coach. There are many ways to describe Brian Flores but perhaps no word embodies how Flores leads his team more than meticulous.
Most elements of football have varied degrees of control. The receiver can control his route, but he can’t control how the defensive back defends him. That example is evergreen across every individual matchup on the gridiron.
One thing that is comprehensively under a team’s control is penalties. Since his arrival in 2019, the Dolphins rank among the best in the NFL in both penalties committed and limiting yardage assessed from those fouls.
Veterans Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kyle Van Noy spoke on Wednesday about the team’s approach to limiting those mistakes well within the Dolphins’ control.
“In terms of a clean operation and avoiding the pre-snap penalties, that’s been a theme,” Fitzpatrick said. “The things we do in practice to eliminate some of those bad habits, preaching fundamentals and the small things like penalties we can avoid, just understanding that those things are not acceptable.”
“Taking on Coach Flores’ philosophy and being a fundamentally sound team that doesn’t make mistakes,” Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy said. “Mistakes are penalties and we want to limit those as best as possible. We’ve done a good job of that this year. If they’re calling it tight than we have to tighten up and if they’re calling it loose we can be more aggressive.”
Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post wrote about Miami’s ability to limit penalties under Flores.
But what goes on behind the scenes is driving that success. Flores and his staff spend a lot of time — this year, on Zoom calls and in person — actually going through the precise language of the rules.
“I’ve learned some stuff that I’ve been playing football for 20 years and didn’t know,” Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones said, before the season.