Flores Shoots Down Notion of Momentum ... And He's Right
The Dolphins ended last season as a competitive team, winning five of their final nine games and capping things off with the spirited comeback victory at Gillette Stadium against the New England Patriots.
But the reality is that what happened in November and December will have little, if any, bearing on what transpires for the Dolphins starting in September.
Simply put, the notion that momentum can carry from one season to the next is pretty much bogus.
That's what Dolphins coach Brian Flores believes, and that's what history suggests.
"I don't there's any (carryover), to be honest with you," Flores said Monday during a Zoom media session. "I think 2019 is the past and every year is a little bit different. This year is no different from that standpoint. The things that happened a year ago — good or bad — we're just kind of focused on getting better each and every day. Last year is last year. Just trying to improve, get better, build some team chemistry and learn and grow as a team right now. Not really worried about anything that happened a year ago."
Tight end Mike Gesicki expressed that same sentiment in his offseason media session after he was asked about his strong finish to the 2019 season, which included the game-winning catch at New England.
"It was great for our team to finish the season on that note and everything like that," Gesicki said, "but it’s something that, at this point, is just another play in the past, and (we) are just kind of more focused on hopefully helping this team win more games in the future just because that’s kind of where I’m at right now, just kind of focusing on this offseason and moving forward to whenever training camp rolls around and to be ready to go in there and compete."
A quick look at some Dolphins history certainly would serve as a cautionary tale against expecting too much after a losing season that ended in a positive way.
Take 2006, for example.
The previous year, in Nick Saban's first season as Dolphins head coach, the team won its last six games after starting 3-7 and entered the offseason with a lot of momentum — if you believe in that kind of thing.
Well, the 2006 season was the Daunte disaster and the Dolphins stumbled to a 6-10 finish that ended with Saban's departure for the University of Alabama.
More recently, it was the 2012 season that followed a similar pattern.
The previous year, the Dolphins rebounded from an 0-7 start to go 6-3 in their final nine games and finish 6-10. In 2012, Ryan Tannehill arrived as the first-round pick and the Dolphins went 7-9 in Joe Philbin's first year as head coach.
So when you think about the Dolphins going 5-4 after starting 0-7 last year, plus the arrival of a first-round pick at quarterback (this time Tua Tagovailoa), you can see the similarities.
This isn't to suggest the Dolphins are headed for a 7-9 season like they had in 2012 or a 6-10 finish as in 2006. This exercise is simply to point out that while the 5-4 finish of 2019 was enjoyable, it will have no bearing on what happens in 2020.