When the Dolphins signed head coach Adam Gase this past summer there seemed to be a lot of confusion throughout the fan base. They just had gotten done licking their wounds after a disastrous season where nearly the whole entire coaching staff was fired by mid-season and the players had to improvise during the remainder of the season. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out well. But Miami had to move on from the Joe Philbin era and find their next captain to steer the ship. Surprisingly that next man would be Adam Gase. He had never been a head coach in the NFL.
The restless Dolphin fan base were left scratching their heads. They hadn’t been in the playoffs since 2008. They felt like canned tuna and they wanted change. And they wanted it fast.
The Dolphins seemed they had already been down this road before. Nick Saban, Cam Cameron, Tony Sparano, and Joe Philbin were all rookie head coaches. Only Tony Sparano was able to produce a trip to the playoffs, but it was short lived with a quick first round exit back in 2008. In the end, they all failed and were replaced.
So how could Adam Gase turn around this once storied franchise? He had only been a QB coach and offensive coordinator for a few NFL teams and during his college years he interned under Nick Saban which is a name that most Dolphin fans cringe at. On top of that the Dolphins roster looked depleted of talent and didn’t look very salvageable. Ryan Tannehill had regressed. The offensive line had allowed him to become the most sacked QB over 4 seasons. The defense which had a lot of money invested into was one of the worst in the NFL at stopping the run. The only postive of hiring Gase was the fact that he was known as a “QB whisperer”. He got the most production out of the short-lived start Tim Tebow and mediocre Jay Cutler. Peyton Manning had his best season under coach Gase.
Miami is now 5-4 and in playoff contention. They have won 4 straight games. The defense held the high-octane offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers to only 15 points. It’s notable to say Miami put up twice the amount of points that the Steelers put up that day. They had pulled off a stunning come from behind win against a physical team in the Buffalo Bills who had always been a tough team for Ryan Tannehill to defeat. The Dolphins defense ripped through the Jets weak offensive line and made it a tough day for Ryan Fitzpatrick. And then we have the impressive road win against the San Diego Chargers. Ryan Tannehill led the Dolphins to a late victory with a QB rating of 130.
So how did Gase awaken this team? Gase has done something the past few coaches never did and that is hold players accountable. Besides Gase’s reserved personality like Joe Philbin, Adam Gase will not sugar coat anything when players are not playing as expected. This was evident when Jay Ajayi was left home on Miami’s first game of the season against the Seattle Seahawks. This raised many eyebrows not only in the locker room but amongst the fan base. Ajayi was upset he wasn’t awarded the starting RB role and he made it vocal how he felt. Gase left him in Miami. Since then the man that took his starting position has retired (Arian Foster) and Jay Ajayi has awoken. He’s had two back to back 200 yard games and remains a focal point of Miami’s dynamic offense. It was known that Gase called out 2nd year WR Devante Parker and criticized him for poor conditioning. Mario Williams and Byron Maxwell were benched at 1 point as well.
Gase has shown confidence in Ryan Tannehill since day one of training camp even though the fan base seemed to be lackluster towards their starting QB after 4 mediocre seasons. Under Philbin, like many players Ryan Tannehill was a chained dog. He was not encouraged to use his athletic abilities which was an attribute to Tannehill’s game. He was not able to audible or throw down field. Gase has given Ryan Tannehill the freedom he needs and deserves. He’s been given the freedom to audible and throw down field. And he’s been encouraged to run with the football more. He has not thrown an interception in 4 games. Tannehill is showing much improved pocket presence thanks to the big three who have managed to stay healthy (Offensive lineman: Brandon Albert, Mike Pouncey, and Ja’Wuan James). Most importantly Tannehill is showing confidence.
Landry continues to be a threat, but not the only WR that happened to catch the football which seemed to be a recurring part of Miami’s one-dimensional passing game. Kenny Stills has emerged as another threat for secondary’s. And Devante Parker put on a show this past Sunday who has been silent the whole season.
It’s notable to say Gase made the decision of releasing offensive linemen Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas following a horrific showing during the loss to the Titans. In came the unicorns and it was history. We also can’t forget the decision to insert Cameron Wake and Andre Branch into the starting lineup for the defensive line. This has helped DT Ndamukong Suh tremendously and has taken pressure off the secondary which remains suspect after Phillip Rivers picked apart for the first 3 quarters of Sundays game.
It’s time to give credit where credit is due. Adam Gase has done a phenomenal job so far at getting the most out this Dolphins roster. He has learned from his mistakes. At the beginning of the season he was using numerous running backs and abandoning the run too early. Now the running game is a staple of Miami’s offense and has given it new life. He has settled on 1 RB in Jay Ajayi. The running game has opened up Miami’s passing game and Jarvis Landry is not the only WR who seems to be getting the football. Gase’s new found plan has taken pressure off of QB Ryan Tannehill. And finally, the defense is able to have time to rest. Before the defense was playing more snaps than the offense because Miami was relying heavily on the passing game. When it came time for the defense to come up big late in games they were unable to simply because they were too gassed. At the beginning of the season Miami was not running the ball which allowed other teams to control the clock. Miami seems to control the clock almost every game now.
Adam Gase has showed toughness for the first half of the season. It didn’t start off well by any means, but Gase was resilient. Now, Gase has the Dolphins playing old school football now which is a formula that not only wins regular season games, but playoff games as well. Go ahead. Sue me. I said the “P” word.