Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross rarely conducts media interviews these days, but he spoke via Zoom on Monday morning to address the firing of head coach Brian Flores after three seasons.
Ross touched on the reasons for the change, as well as other topics such as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, keeping General Manager Chris Grier, what he's looking for in a new coach and the Jim Harbaugh topic.
Here's a transcript of Ross' press conference:
“First, I'd like to thank Brian Flores for all that he's done to the Miami Dolphins. He’s a really good man. And I wish him the best and I'm sure we'll see him again is an NFL coach.”
Q: I'd like to ask you what role if any, the quarterback position played in this decision? Was there a question over whether Tua is your man for the future? How much does Deshaun Watson play into it? And was there disagreement over which direction you should go at quarterback?
“First of all, let me be clear, it played no role in it at all. I have a lot of confidence in Tua and I think the next head coach will work with him or whoever else. But I have a lot of confidence in him. I watched him grow. He's a fine young man, and he is right now our quarterback and that will be dependent upon the new head coach but I have a lot of confidence in Tua."
Q: Obviously the decision came as a shock for some of us. What went the decision to fire Flo and also keep Chris in charge?
“I mean, I've been looking at this over three years now and watching the organization grow and I think an organization can only function if it's collaborative and it works well together. And I don't think that we were really working well as an organization that it would take to really win consistently at the NFL level.”
Q: From a performance standpoint, how would you assess what Chris Grier has done in order for you to say that his job is satisfactory?
“Oh, if you look at our roster, we have a very fine, I think, an excellent roster of young players. This was all done in the last three years. We had an old aging roster before that was leading us nowhere but to mediocrity. And I think that if you look at our roster today, you see our salary cap, players we have I think we're well suited for the future.”
Q: Did you ever end up speaking to Deshaun Watson, I know there was a report that you were granted permission. And do you plan to explore acquiring Watson again this offseason?
“I have no plans. It will be up to the head coach in terms of what he does with the quarterback. As I said before, I have a lot of confidence in Tua, but it’s really going to be dependent on the next head coach and the direction that he wants to take at that position.”
Q: With your comments about the state of this rosters talent level, what more do you think that this roster can accomplish as currently constructed?
“I think one, it's the roster, it's the way the organization functions, communicates together and I think that really is very important to building a winning football team and sustaining that over the long term.”
Q: It sounds like this had as much to do with maybe communication issues or compatibility off the field as it did performance on the field?
“Oh, I mean, I think if you look at it, it's really communicate through collaboration. And I don't think there's any organization in this country unless you have excellent communication and collaborative efforts within the whole organization that you can win and sustain yourself in the long term.”
Q: Your thoughts on Jim Harbaugh? And do you have a coach in mind as you made this move?
“I have no coach in mind at this point. We're going to do a thorough review and interview process. And Jim Harbaugh, I love Jim Harbaugh. He had the opportunity once before to come to the Miami Dolphins. But he’s at the University of Michigan. That is my school I graduated from and I'm very involved in it. And I'm not going to be the person to take Jim Harbaugh from the University of Michigan. I hope he stays there. He’s a great coach."
Q: Is having an experience head coach important going forward or would you consider coordinators?
“I mean, we're gonna look for the best man. You know, certainly having the experience always helps. But if we find somebody that's exceptional, that's been a coordinator or some other position in football, I strongly will look at that very seriously. Our mind is open. We're just looking for someone that can work together and taking this roster and taking it to his next level.”
Q: Was there any indications from any players on the roster or even Chris that players did not want to play for Brian Flores or any other coaches on the staff?
“I'm not going to comment upon that. I mean, different people rub people different ways. But, I have to look at it in totality and everybody has their own opinions, but that was not the reason.”
Q: You mentioned collaboration a lot during this time. You hired the people that were put in place to collaborate? And so I'm wondering what your responsibility is for making that collaboration happen and your responsibility for having it failed?
"Oh, I'll take all responsibility. You know, I am the owner of the team. And if it's not working, it's really up to me. And this is why we're making a change.”