Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross Was Right About Chris Grier — and Brian Flores Was Wrong

Chris Grier and Brian Flores couldn't coexist after three years running the Miami Dolphins together. Stephen Ross fired the right one.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Here at the Miami Dolphins’ marvelous training facility, the offices of the organization’s two most important football people — head coach Mike McDaniel and general manager Chris Grier — share a wall.

The close proximity means one man can barely send a text message without the other hearing.

“I’m sure he’s getting pretty sick of hearing late 90s, early 2000s rap, but he’s gonna have to deal with it,” McDaniel said Wednesday. “We take pride in that we’ve been fortunate enough to be in the NFL for a good amount of time, each of us collectively, and we realize how important it is to the entire organization, that the organization’s depending on us to be working together in a forthright manner. So, we do not take that lightly.”

The Right Man Won the Miami Dolphins’ Power Struggle

This time last year, there wasn’t such harmony between the Dolphins’ top scout and their head coach. The relationship between Grier and Brian Flores — McDaniel’s predecessor — had deteriorated over their three years together.

To say there was friction between the two men, largely due to Flores’ pugilistic behavior, is putting it kindly. There was a wall between the two — not just literally, but figuratively. And by the end, it was clear to owner Stephen Ross that one needed to go.

He ultimately picked Grier over Flores — even though the Dolphins had winning records in both 2020 and 2021. The decision was ripped at the time and triggered a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Dolphins and the NFL that is still ongoing.

But by any fair assessment, Ross did the right — and necessary — thing. The Dolphins are better off with McDaniel and Grier running things.

The culture is better. The quarterback — Tua Tagovailoa, the guy that Flores repeatedly tried to replace — is much better. The Dolphins are halfway to their first playoff appearance since 2016, and after trading for Bradley Chubb Tuesday, are positioned to make some noise.

MORE: The Dolphins Have Their Answer on Tua Tagovailoa

It turns out the players, or at least many of them, were not the issue in 2021. And credit Ross for realizing that — and acting accordingly.

“Coming in here on paper, I was intrigued, because, you know, to start 1-7 and to win football games is a tough task for a locker room,” McDaniel said, referring to the Dolphins’ terrible start to the 2021 season. “You see a lot of locker rooms divide and then implode.

“And then it started to make sense when I got here,” he continued. “There’s very talented players across the roster. But more than anything, you have these good human beings that have the right intent, and that are focused on above all things else, winning. And that is unique.”

“So I think a ton of credit should go to Chris and his staff because there’s a lot of quality players and people and it gets lost in all the mix,” McDaniel added. “But that’s what ends up winning in this league, people coming together as a team. So it’s been awesome. And that was just more of the same from my experience with him yesterday.”

Brian Flores Didn’t Know How Good He Had It With Chris Grier

This isn’t to say Grier has been perfect. He’s had well-documented, costly misses in the draft and free agency. But every meaningful move that has been made since he took over football ops in 2019 has come with his head coach’s consent — if not at that coach’s behest.

He sees his job as doing whatever he can to acquire the players that the head coach believes he needs to win. And the Dolphins’ two blockbuster trades this year — for Tyreek Hill in March and Chubb in November — are a reflection of that philosophy. McDaniel said he’s coveted Chubb for years and is thrilled that the trade could happen.

“I feel extremely fortunate to work with a GM such as Chris,” McDaniel said. “I feel very, very fortunate to be in the organization in general, all those things. Like I said, it was one of the overwhelming things when I was interviewing for this place is I could piece it together pretty fast. That there’s a lot of parts of this organization that a lot of head coaches aren’t afforded.

“So it’s awesome. We take it very serious, you know, the direction of the Miami Dolphins organization, and every decision that is made with that in mind. So there’s no such thing as overcommunication. And we wouldn’t allow it to be any other way, except for being 100% on the same page about anything that we’re doing.”

MORE: Is Tyreek Hill an MVP Candidate?

Grier hates the limelight, and when he does periodically speak to reporters — as he did Wednesday, a day after the NFL trade deadline — he is quick to swat away any praise.

But he deserves it. Nearly four years into the team’s rebuild, he has given McDaniel one of the 10 best rosters in the NFL, a group that could make some real noise in the playoffs for the first time in decades.

“I’m just doing a job,” Grier said. “I think we’re just trying to do everything we can. I have great support with Steven Ross and Brandon Shore and Mike and Tom Garfinkel.

“So I think just working through all that and Steve, being willing to listen and trust me to do these things, you know, is unbelievably supportive for me and I appreciate it and won’t forget it,” Grier added. “But I think for us if we want a job I don’t think any of us including myself would be happy unless we ultimately win a Super Bowl which is what every team is trying to do.”

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