FOXBOROUGH — There are very few secrets between Bill Belichick and Brian Flores. The latter cut his coaching teeth and earned his defensive chops during countless film sessions, meetings, practices, and games under Belichick.
Flores joined Belichick’s Patriots staff in 2004 as a scouting assistant after a solid playing career at Boston College and joined the coaching staff in 2008. He held myriad titles in all three phases of the game, culminating his tenure as defensive play caller in 2018 when the Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl.
Following that win over the Rams, Flores took the Dolphins head job, and he’ll square off against his former mentor for the sixth time Sunday in Miami Gardens. He holds a 3-2 edge in the series.
He often sounds like his old boss, generally keeping the focus on the game or task at hand, and never spills bulletin-board material during chats with the media.
Flores was asked this week if there was a leadership quality that Belichick possesses that sometimes gets overlooked.
“His consistency is something maybe people don’t talk about,” said Flores. “Having been in that building, I think that’s something you see on a day-in-day-out basis. As far as how the day-to-day approach, he expects from players, coaches, and everyone in the building, you hear the same message really on a daily basis.’’
Flores acknowledged the teachings and wisdom he gained with the Patriots is something he falls back on as he continues to put his own stamp on the Dolphins.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been out of there now,” said Flores. “I’ve certainly grown more of an appreciation for my time there and the things I’ve learned with more time being there. I think a lot of those things I try to apply here on a day-to-day basis.
“Bill is a great coach, but I’d say consistency and messaging is one thing that isn’t talked about enough.’’
Davon Godchaux, who grew up in Louisiana and spent the first four seasons of his NFL career in Miami, said Belichick reminded the team to take snowstorm precautions in anticipation of Friday’s forecast.
“I plan on waking up like an hour [early] and defrosting my windows and leaving early,” he said. “I’ve never been in a snow drive on the way to the practice facility, so I look forward to seeing that. I’ve got to get up early and make sure I’m not late to meetings and be on time.
“He already gave us the snow speech, so I don’t want to be that guy.”
As for helping his teammates prep for the weather in South Florida, Godchaux said hydration is the key. He said it’s important to do it before leaving, on the flight, and once you land.
“If you’re not hydrating, you’re cheating yourself,” he said.
A different team
When these clubs met in Week 1, the Patriots appeared poised for a come-from-behind win when Jonathan Jones picked off Tua Tagovailoa midway through the fourth quarter. However, a Damien Harris fumble at the Miami 11 killed the drive, and the Dolphins ran out the clock for a 17-16 win.
Tagovailoa said he’s seen a big difference between that Patriots team and the one headed to the playoffs.
“I think they found their rhythm playing with each other,” he said. “They have a good front, they have good ‘backers, they are a good overall team in three phases.
“It’s going to be challenge to me; this isn’t the same team that we saw in early September. They look a lot more confident, so it’s going to be a challenge for us.”
Dugger sits again
Safety Kyle Dugger missed his second straight practice with a hand injury. If Dugger and fellow defensive back Myles Bryant (reserve/Covid-19 list) can’t play, the Patriots would likely elevate safety Sean Davis, who was one of four practice squad protections this week. Davis also was called up for the Dec. 6 game in Buffalo … Receiver Kristian Wilkerson, defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale, and tight end Matt LaCosse also were protected … Veteran linebacker/special teamer LaRoy Reynolds was signed to the practice squad. He was briefly with the team in the spring … Rookie linebacker Ronnie Perkins returned to practice, opening a 21-day window for him to be activated … The Patriots listed 10 players as limited at the chilly, outdoor practice: Harris (hamstring); receivers Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers (thigh); center David Andrews (shoulder); left tackle Isaiah Wynn (hip); linebacker Dont’a Hightower (knee); defensive lineman Christian Barmore (knee); safety Adrian Phillips (knee); special teamer Cody Davis (wrist); and kicker Nick Folk (left knee).