Dolphins Assistant Says Team Was Not Expected To Tank When Brian Flores Was Coach

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Miami Dolphins running backs coach Eric Studesville said that his team, under the leadership of former head coach Brian Flores, was never ordered to lose games purposefully.

Studesville sat with ESPN and admitted that he wasn’t aware of any calls from ownership to tank in 2019, contrary to Flores’ legal action against the NFL and Dolphins franchise.

“From the top down, [the goal was] to win football games and prepare and get ready to go — that’s how it’s always been,” he told the outlet Wednesday.

Flores’ fiery claim against Dolphins ownership alleged that owner Stephen Ross offered Flores $100,000 per loss in 2019 to secure a higher draft position, concurrent to their “Tank for Tua” era.

Studesville said Dolphins’ players gave their full effort during games and practice that year, paying no mind to outside noise calling for them to lose and pick Tua Tagovailoa in the upcoming draft.

“That’s how I think this game is right,” Studesville said. “That’s what we do; that’s what I owe the game, every time we get a chance to compete, we do our best. There was never anything other than that expressed to us or to me.”

Flores finished with a 5-11 record in 2019, his first season as head coach.

Eric Studesville
Associate Head Coach/Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville and Tua Tagovailoa (1) of the Miami Dolphins look on during a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium on August 21, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Flores went 19-14 between 2020 and 2021. He was fired on January 10, 2022, after only his third year. He finished 9-8 in 2021 but missed the playoffs for a third consecutive season.

He filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL a month after his firing, claiming discrimination from a slew of NFL teams, with the Dolphins sticking out as one of the clearer targets.

Studesville stuck around as RB coach when former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel stepped in as Dolphins HC.

An NFL investigation looking into Flores’ claims found them unsubstantiated.

Still, the former HC maintained that Roger Goodell and the League had overlooked Black coaches and their opportunities for NFL head-coaching jobs.

Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks and former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton joined Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL in April.

Despite the support from Studesville, Miami’s Stephen Ross still isn’t entirely out of the hot seat with the League.

The NFL launched an investigation looking into potential tampering from the Dolphins, related to their interest in signing QB Tom Brady and head coach Sean Payton early in the offseason. Rumors floated that the three discussed a potential teaming up for 2022-23.

Based on their findings, announced Tuesday, the League fined Ross $1.5 million and suspended him for six games in the upcoming year. Miami lost their 2023 first-round pick and a third-rounder in 2024.

Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan that has watched every movie.


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