Longo: All eyes on Brian Flores against the Pats

In the grand scheme of things, a blowout of AFC East proportions is expected.

The Miami Dolphins, hustling and scrapping behind the mad scientist, Hahvahd man, Ryan Fitzpatrick, are as cute and quaint as it gets in these parts.

But there is much more to this potential waltz into the bye week for your New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

Today, we get to see if Brian Flores is something as a football coach or just another Romeo Crennel, Matt Patricia, Charlie Weis, falling wistfully into my lawn, a useless, but fortunate leaf dropping off the Bill Belichick coaching tree.

Flores has accepted plenty of media pats on the back this fall, taking Fitz and a stack of mis-Fitz to a near-handful of victories. This one is for the thumb, though. And every hand needs a thumb.

Flores has followed the Belichick 2000 mold, cleaning house while attempting to build an attitude and a competitive mindset in Miami.

That’s why it matters. It’s an easy tell. If the Dolphins come to Gillette and leave kicking and screaming, ring the bell. If they go quietly into that good night?

Just toss Flores on the Tony Sparano-Cam Cameron-Todd Bowles scrap heap.

Other than the horrifying choices for headwear on the sidelines this fall – it must be his trademark like Bill’s ‘hoodie’ – Flores has said and done a ton of good things.

He didn’t attempt to make chicken salad out of Arizona draft bust Josh Rosen. He went with Fitz, who is at the least adequate and when he’s on, darn entertaining.

This week has been no different. He’s speaking like it matters … because it does.

“A lot of the focus will be on us and continuing to get better and to end the season on a high note,” said Flores. “I know there’s a lot of stuff at stake for them and maybe not so much for us, but I promise we’ll give everything we have and we’re going up there to try to win the game.”

After so many seasons of pathetic football emanating from Miami, the Meadowlands and Buffalo, it’s so tough to believe in anything non-New England in the AFC East.

I haven’t bought Buffalo all year, and I have zero respect for the Bills once this pathetic schedule they played this season is done.

They will be pummeled in Houston and return to mediocrity.

The Jets? Still in shambles. Remember, Adam Gase was run out of Miami for his work, only to land in New Jersey.

But the Dolphins have a chance. They have draft picks, mega cap space and a decent little nucleus to build around. Do they have a coach, though?

We find out today.

Hector Longo can be reached at 594-1253 or by email: hlongo@