NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores has endured a miserable start to the season. Today, the Patriots, the team he left in the offseason, pays a visit to Hard Rock Stadium.

THINGS you can count on: death, taxes … and Tom Brady calling this week’s opposition “a good team.”

The Miami Dolphins, this week’s opposition, are not a good team. That’s why they’re huge underdogs on their home field.

Makes sense, even though we know that Hard Rock Stadium has been a house of horrors for the powerful Patriots.

The defending champs have lost five of their last six games to the Dolphins on their home turf. Giving it some perspective: Brady and the Pats have lost five games at home — TOTAL — over that span.

The Dolphins, playing for new coach Brian Flores — he of the Bill Belichick tree — were drubbed 59-10 by the Ravens in Miami last week.

Numbers?

The Fish yielded 643 yards of offense, 265 yards rushing (5.8 yards per carry), 8.8 yards per play, a perfect 158.3 passer rating – and they had the ball for less than 20 minutes.

Then, during the week, dissension sprung up in the Flores camp with Minkah Fitzpatrick, the 11th pick in the first round of the 2018 draft, asking to be traded because he’s unhappy that Flores has asked him to play multiple positions.

So Brian, you wanted to be a head coach, eh?

Brown news

The Patriots reportedly learned Friday that Antonio Brown would not be placed on the NFL’s exempt list, which cleared the way for him to play right away. But then, a disturbing report emerged that further clouds the perception of this very talented football player.

Brown’s stepfather, Larry Moss Jr., told USA Today he doesn’t have knowledge of what happened to cause the lawsuit against Brown by his former trainer, saying, “I can’t tell you that he did what they said he did. But I know he’s very abusive to women.

“As far as just raping somebody, he just feels like he can have whatever he wants. He’s just empowered that way. So it doesn’t surprise me that this kind of allegation came out about him.”

Very disturbing. Brown also denies this, through his lawyer.

“A lot of things that Tony’s doing, nothing surprises me. I’m surprised that it took them this long to figure him out. Because he’s been this way since he’s been 12 years old.”

Coaching honor

Newarena.com has ranked the top 25 NFL coaches and you know who is No. 1.

The site said of Belichick: “While his fashion sense is rather atrocious, we can’t criticize Bill Belichick for virtually anything as it pertains to the sport of football. Since 2001, the Patriots — under Belichick’s guidance — have appeared in 13 AFC Championship Games (including the last eight in a row). Additionally during this time, Belichick has led the franchise to six Super Bowl titles.

“There’s never been a coach more adept at making halftime adjustments — nor a man capable of scheming to the point that the opposition’s best player is rendered useless. Simply put, Belichick defines what it means to be an elite head coach — regardless of sport.”

By the way, Bill Parcells was No. 11.

Despite saying he suffered 20 concussions playing football, Rob Gronkowski said, “It is fixable. I fixed mine. There are plenty of methods in this world that allow the brain to recover from severe damage. That is also why I would allow my kid to play football.”

Reminded by the NFL Network’s Mike Giardi on Twitter there is no scientific proof backing his claim, Gronk tweeted, “I agree & I am not saying I cured it. I am saying that I put in the time, the effort & willingness to find unconventional methods to improve my conditions. Sometimes the answers are not found in studies like this case. Anyone who isn’t willing to improve and think outside the box, will just stay the same. I want to grow.”

More Gronk: “To come back, they’re going to have to legalize CBD in the NFL. No matter what I say, people are still going to say I’m coming back — so, I’m coming back, but I’m not.” …

Notes and quotes

Sticking with head injuries, the late great Stan Mikita, who passed away last year, is the first Hockey Hall of Famer known to have suffered from CTE. “Stan Mikita was diagnosed with (two) neurodegenerative diseases that our research has shown are associated with a long career in contact sports such as ice hockey: CTE and Lewy Body Disease,” said Boston University Dr. Ann McKee. …

Josh Gordon says he’s in the best shape of his career and adds, “I’m excited, we’re all excited, to see what happens halfway (and) towards the end of the season. I think it’s going to be a huge upside.” …

Boston College was a 20-point favorite and Kansas, now coached by Les Miles, had lost 48 straight road games to Power 5 schools before Friday night. BC jumped to a quick 10-0 lead but the Eagles then got their doors blown off, losing 48-24. …

MLB has shot itself in the foot again. Seems the powers that be, the same folks that allow those rather embarrassing Players Weekend uniforms, deny the Mets to wear hats honoring first responders every Sept. 11. Pete Alonso, taking matters into his own – feet – had shoes designed for his teammates that did the honoring. Mets radio voice Howie Rose blistered the powers that be during the game – and, by the way, the Mets’ totals on that date? 9-11, of course. …

OK, how many times did you look for Friday night’s Red Sox game on NESN before you realized they had the night off? …

Love this stat from WBZ’s Michael Hurley: “This is really crazy, if Pro Football Reference’s indoor/outdoor split is accurate. Percentage of games played in dome/retractable roof: Brees: 52.7%; Manning: 48.9%; Brady: 8.2% — I knew it’d be a difference but not like that.”

Speaking of the Sox, here’s a NESN headline no one around here wanted to see: “Red Sox Look To Play Spoiler As Team begins Two-Game Set vs Phillies.” …

Wake Forest topped ACC foe North Carolina 24-18 Friday night. But here’s the thing: it was not a conference game. The schools, located near each other but in different ACC divisions, didn’t want to play each other once every seven years and it is believed they became the first Power 5 programs to face off in a non-league game. …

Fun fact: The A’s struck out 16 times Wednesday and 17 times Thursday at Houston – and won both games. They rebounded from a 15-0 shellacking in the series opener with three straight wins – 21-7, 5-3 and 3-2. After the third win, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted: “Congratulations to the Oakland Athletics, who will be making a return trip to the American League wild-card game. They have 15 games left, all vs. teams with awful records — 6 vs the Rangers, 4 vs the Mariners, 3 vs the Royals and 2 vs the Angels. See you in October.” …

Pats rookie Chase Vinovich: “They said the backups on (NFL teams) are as good if not better than any tackle that you’ll face in college, and that kind of put things into perspective. But I’m pretty decent at football as well, so I like to think I can at least give them a run for their money.” …

The retiring Bruce Bochy has been a big league manager from 1995-2019. There was a point this week, through Monday, where his overall record was 1,995-2,019. He was also 1,044-1,044 with the Giants. You can’t make this stuff up, folks. …

As the Bruins opened camp, Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe tweeted, “Gentleman Jim Martin. Confirms he has stepped down from his PA role at B’s home games. ‘It’s just time--simple as that,’” said Martin, 67, who plans to use the time to enjoy family more, particularly four grandchildren.” So, no more “Tuuuuuuka Rask.” Good luck, Jim. …

More Sox: Mike Hazen, now the GM in Arizona, and who had to be on the minds of people around here as a potential Dave Dombrowski replacement, agreed to an extension with the D-Backs Friday. …

A reminder of what’s coming up for the Pats: at Dolphins, vs. Jets (with QB Sam Darnold down with mono), at Bills, at Redskins, vs. Giants. You see a loss in there? …

From SoxNotes on Twitter this week: “Most leadoff HR by Red Sox from 2007-19: Mookie Betts – 20; Everyone else combined – 20 (Ellsbury-10, Aviles-2, Lugo-2, Pedroia-2, Benintendi-1, Drew-1, Holt-1, Scutaro-1).” …

Aaron Judge, asked if he was OK after running into the right field wall in Detroit Thursday, said, “Oh yeah. Did you ask the wall?” …

Trading Demaryius Thomas to the Jets means Belichick has now completed at least one trade with all other NFL teams. …

The Red Sox have 21 pitchers. Has anyone added up how many voices we’ve heard on Sox radio and television this season? …

Stephon Gilmore on how Brown is looking in practice: “You see it. He’s a great player. Competitive, smart. He can do it all. I’m happy to have him on our team.” And Julian Edelman said, “Quite frankly, he’s a really good football player. He works his tail off. He practiced this week. I think with a player like him, a player of his caliber, he’s going to raise the bar and raise the intensity of practice because he’s so good for other guys to see. He’s a really good football player and I look forward to playing with him.”…

Red Sox manager Alex Cora on Dombrowski: “I have nothing but respect for Dave. A very likable guy. And I told him this morning he’s a big part of what’s going on in my life right now and I know he’s going to impact my life in the future.” …

Having covered Tom Laidlaw when he was with the New York Rangers, I was excited to see the former defenseman, now 61, is on the new season of “The Survivor.” Prediction: Laidlaw’s presence will force me to watch that reality show for the first time. …

Interesting note from last Monday’s Sox-Yankees game at Fenway: Austin Romine and Jackie Bradley Jr. both reached base all four times up – Romine with a homer, double and two walks and Bradley with two singles, a double and a walk. …

By the way, three of the four games against the Yankees did not sell out at Fenway. …

Column pal Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram tells us Dombrowski leaves with the highest winning percentage (.588) of any Sox GM. Theo Epstein (.575), Mike Port (.574) and Joe Cronin (.550) are next on the list. …

Gotta say I like Bob Costas‘ idea for baseball: go back to a 154-game regular season, make the wild card round 2-of-3, with all three games at the higher seed, and then go to best-of-seven in all subsequent rounds. …

Count WEEI’s Lou Merloni among the multitude slamming Sox ownership for not meeting the media after firing Dombrowski. He tweeted: “No press conference? That’s a bad look. How does ownership not address this? You’re the Boston Red Sox and you fired your GM that just won 119 games and a WS and you leave it to your Manager and players to answer questions? Bad look.” He’s right. …

Darrelle Revis, now retired, was asked by Michael Kay on Kay’s radio show in New York on Friday if he misses football. He said football was “a longtime girlfriend – she broke my heart,” because he couldn’t keep playing. …

Alex Ovechkin, 33, is 237 goals away from Wayne Gretzky‘s all-time goal record. “Of course it matters, but like I said, I’m not going to score 300 goals in two years,” Ovechkin told Sportsnet. “It’s going to take five or six years. I have to be healthy enough to do that. I don’t want to play just for that record. I want to be healthy, I want to have fun, I want to enjoy the moment when I’m on the ice.”

So, Odell Beckham Jr. wears a $189,500 watch on the field. He’s been told not to do that but says he will do it anyway when he returns to New Jersey on Monday to play the Jets. “If anybody else would’ve worn the watch, or if it was a $20 watch, it wouldn’t have been no problem,” he said. He wears the watch everywhere, saying he’s wearing it in game, “The same way I wear it every day, at practice, I go here, I go there. I’ve been wearing it. Take a shower with it on. It’s just on me.” …

Mets reliever Paul Sewald took the loss in last Sunday’s game against the Phillies – falling to 0-14 in his big league career. …

Beckham says Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams ordered players to “take (Beckham) out” in a 2018 preseason game. Asked about it Friday, Williams quipped, “Odell who?” …

Thanks to NESN’s Zack Cox for pointing out that Philip Dorsett has caught the last 20 regular season passes thrown his way. Impressive. …

Finally, we go to Dupont again, this time tweeting on last Sunday’s Pats-Steelers game, “National TV audience sees idyllic, dreamy shot of Boston Harbor — which is about an 8½-hour drive from Foxboro on an average biz day.”

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.