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Ex-Lions coach Jim Caldwell a sounding board for Dolphins' Brian Flores

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Jim Caldwell

Indianapolis — Jim Caldwell is back in the NFL after a year away, serving on Brian Flores' staff in Miami as a quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach. 

At the NFL Combine on Wednesday, Flores was asked about the importance of adding a coaching veteran like Caldwell to the Miami staff.

"Jim specifically, he’s definitely been a sounding board and somebody — again, he’s done it," Flores said. "So, ‘What’d you do in this situation when you were wherever you were?’ It’s something that was important to me to have someone like that on staff. Again, if I’m going to tell my team not to have egos, it’s got to start with me. So I don’t have an ego from that standpoint. He’s been really great to work with."

Flores, 38, is entering his first season as a head coach, after a one-year stint as the Patriots defensive coordinator. He got his start with the Patriots in 2004, as a scouting assistant, and worked his way up through the organization's ranks, replacing Matt Patricia for the 2018 season, after Patricia left to replace Caldwell in Detroit. 

Caldwell, 64, embodies the key characteristics Flores was seeking when building out his staff. 

"I wanted our coaching staff reflect what we want from our team -- smart, tough, guys who can communicate well," Flores said. "If you embody the qualities that we’re looking for, if you’re mentally tough, if you’re smart, you’re very intelligent, if you communicate well, if you put the team first, if football is very important to you, you’ve probably got a shot at being a part of what we’re trying to accomplish. That’s across the board. It’s not just coaches. It’s from the top down. (General manager) Chris (Grier) and I are aligned with that mind. Those are the type of people we want in the building."

It remains to be seen whether Caldwell will be working on revamping the career of Ryan Tannehill, charged with developing a first-round draft pick, or both. The Dolphins have been discussed as a possible landing spot for Heisman winner Kyler Murray.

Asked about the Oklahoma standout, Flores responded with glowing praise

"I think he had a phenomenal year this year," Flores said. "I think he’s a great athlete. I think he’s a very good player."