Adam Gase seems like a different and re-energized coach right now. Last season as the games and year went on, he looked like a coach who was defeated, frustrated, and someone who couldn’t wait for the season to end. The last straw came, when the Dolphins lost to the Buffalo Bills in a game in which the Dolphins played horribly and looked lost. Not to mention the week before vs Kansas City they looked even worse. The Dolphins had just come off a 27-20 win over the New England Patriots in Week 15 and a potential spring board to help the Dolphins contend for a wild card spot, but their performance in weeks 16 and 17 ended any chance the Dolphins had of making the playoffs. Gase knew he had to do some self-reflection and examination of himself and his team. The thing I like about Adam Gase is he self-evaluates himself and if he’s wrong about things he admits his mistakes. He isn’t as stubborn as some of our previous head coaches since Don Shula retired.
The first step Gase made was making changes on his coaching staff. There were stories I read that Gase would be at the office till 2am evaluating his coaching staff because he knew he had to shake things up. He brought it in a new offensive line coach, defensive line coach, running backs coach, and even an offensive coordinator despite Gase will call the offensive plays. Gase obviously felt those positions needed a new voice to motivate the players and coach them up better. Also bringing in an offensive coordinator who is familiar to him.
Gase had a voice in what the team did with the roster and like Christ Grier and Mike Tannenbaum, Gase knew changes were needed. The Dolphins got rid of talented players like Ndamukong Suh, Mike Pouncey, and Jarvis Landry. They also released Julius Thomas and Lawrence Timmons who were both free agents that didn’t work out last year. The team brought in Frank Gore, Josh Sitton and Danny Amendola to bring some veteran leadership and professionalism to the team to help with the younger player. The Dolphins added more speed on offense with Albert Wilson and also added Mike Gesicki to bring more play making ability. Gase likes to run a lot of bubble screen and short passes and adding more athleticism might help get more points and big plays. The Dolphins had a couple big additions on defense with Robert Quinn to help the pass rush and Minkah Fitzpatrick will give the Dolphins more flexibility in the secondary and potentially be the free safety the team has been lacking for a long time. Look the Dolphins weren’t lighting the world on fire on offense or defense with some of the player before so fix it even if it means cutting ties with more talented players.
The biggest thing Gase doesn’t have is any drama and having to put out fires in the locker room. Last year he had to deal with the quarterback situation when Ryan Tannehill went down. He had to answer questions about Jarvis Landry’s contract situation, which seemed to spill over into the locker room. There are no players holding out or griping about a new contract. He doesn’t have to worry about an assistant coach being caught on video snorting cocaine, which was very embarrassing to everyone with the Dolphins. He doesn’t have to deal with Timmons, who went AWOL on the team before the opener. The bottom line is he has players who want to be here and play football instead of players worrying about their contracts or questioning whether they want to be with the Dolphins.
Gase is going to have questions about Ryan Tannehill until he plays some games with live contact because of his reconstructed knee surgery. The bottom line here is Gase is behind Tannehill for better or worse. Tannehill is the leader of the offense and he has a better grasp of Gase’s offense running it. Gase also has the personnel that he wants in his offense. Sometimes it takes a good 3 years to get the players you want on your football team. Unfortunately, some coaches don’t get to year 3 to see that and have to make hay with what they have. Gase is a football man and is excited to get started. He has a swagger and confidence about him. This time of the year is when coaches should be excited, but for Gase it’s a chance to start over and put last season behind him. It’s also a chance for him to start a new season with the players he wants. Time will tell if these moves will translate into wins, but Gase really likes this team and he is as confident as ever.