A look at who's up and who's down at midpoint of NFL season

Dolphins coach Brian Flores watches play during the second half Sunday against the Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz.

It was only two years ago when Brian Flores, now the Miami Dolphins coach, thought he might be the next Denver Broncos head coach. 

Instead, Denver President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway went with Vic Fangio. Now, with the Dolphins and Broncos meeting this Sunday in Denver, Flores recalled his 2019 interview with Elway and other executives this week leading up to the game. 

Flores, who went 5-11 as Miami's coach in 2019 and has since turned the Dolphins (6-3) around, says it worked out for both sides. 

“That interview was – I remember it vividly," Flores said Wednesday. "It was just great for me to – just from doing my own background work – learn more about the Denver Broncos and their history and the Bowlen family and the great history that they have there as an organization. I was excited to interview with them. I thought it went well. It was just great to meet obviously the executives there and spend some time with them.

"I think Vic’s a great coach. They’ve got the right coach and the right people in place. It’s a talented team, that’s for sure. It was a good experience for me personally.”

Flores, who was the New England Patriots linebackers coach before taking the Miami job, spoke highly of the Broncos despite their 3-6 record and specifically pointed out rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and Denver's young offensive talent. 

“Yeah, he’s going to be a good player. He already is a good player," Flores said of Jeudy. "There’s a lot of good youngster players there from (Tim) Patrick to (K.J.) Hamler to DaeSean (Hamilton) to (Noah) Fant, (Nick Vannett). They have good backs. The o-line plays well together."

Flores also spoke to the Broncos' current quarterback situation, which could play a major role in Sunday's game with Drew Lock being questionable with bruised ribs. 

If Lock can't go, it would likely be Brett Rypien's offense to lead, after helping the Broncos a 37-28 win over the Jets in Week 4. But Jeff Driskel could also see playing time, starting Week 3 at Tampa Bay when Denver fell 28-10. 

“You watch them all," Flores said. "They’ve both played, so there’s plenty of film on both quarterbacks, really all three; so we watch it and we evaluate those guys, their strengths and weaknesses in conjunction with our game plan, and see if the game is called differently with those guys in there."

Dolphins safety Bobby McCain said he won't only be watching film on Lock, Rypien and Driskel, but also offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. 

“They have different physical assets and some are better throwers, some are better on the move," McCain said, "But you have to look at the coordinator as well and what’s his tendencies and what he likes to do and what he likes to do with all three quarterbacks in the game. There may be a little change when (Drew) Lock is in the game or (Brett) Rypien’s in the game, so just understanding what they like, whoever’s in the game, just know what they like and know what their tendencies are.”

No matter who plays quarterback, Flores knows the Broncos will be prepared come Sunday. And that's enough for him to not overlook the franchise that nearly hired him. 

"They're well coached," Flores said. "This is going to be a tough test for us."

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