Report: Brian Flores 'Not Shy' About Telling Tua Tagovailoa He Preferred Mac Jones

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 13, 2022

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 4: Head coach Brian Flores watches as Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins throws the ball during the training camp at the Baptist Health Training Complex on August 4, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores reportedly ripped Tua Tagovailoa to his face, noting he preferred fellow Alabama quarterback Mac Jones instead.

"I don't think [Brian] Flores was shy about telling [Tagovailoa], 'Hey, I should have picked Mac Jones.' I don't think he was shy about telling him that. In fact, I know that he wasn't," Michael Lombardi said on The GM Shuffle podcast (h/t Zack Cox of NESN).

Lombardi—a former NFL executive with several teams, including the New England Patriots—said Flores directly criticized Tagovailoa in a conversation during the regular season.

"If I'd have knew you were going to be this bad, I would have picked Mac Jones," Flores told the quarterback, according to Lombardi.

Flores was fired Monday despite a 9-8 record this season and 19 wins over the last two years in Miami.

Tagovailoa was selected No. 5 overall in the 2020 draft and has been up-and-down ever since, totaling 27 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 23 games.

Miami ended the season with a dramatic turnaround that featured eight wins in the final nine games, but Tagovailoa still only had nine passing touchdowns in eight games during that span.

The 23-year-old sat behind Ryan Fitzpatrick for part of his rookie season and was benched again after he took over the starting job.

Miami could have upgraded at quarterback in the offseason with the No. 3 overall pick, but the team instead traded back and selected receiver Jaylen Waddle with the sixth pick.

Justin Fields (No. 11) and Mac Jones (No. 15) were taken after the Dolphins made their pick.

Jones has especially impressed with the Patriots, where Flores spent 15 seasons before landing Miami's head coaching job. The rookie quarterback finished the year with 3,801 passing yards and 22 touchdowns in 17 starts, helping New England to a 10-7 record and a playoff berth.

It's hard to tell if the Dolphins would have been better off with Jones under center, but Flores' blunt nature in dealing with Tagovailoa might have damaged his reputation within the locker room and front office.