No, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke. (Although when I learned the Dolphins just re-signed Daniel Thomas again, I thought someone was fooling me). Instead, we want to seriously consider just how good the Dolphins can. be.
That’s CAN be. As in “might” be. No guarantees, no predictions. Just possibilities.
Let’s start with new head coach Adam Gase. I was not in favor of this hiring, and I’ve stated many reasons why. Just because people around the NFL think a guy will be a good head coach, doesn’t make it so. Just ask Clueless Joe Philbin. However, since we’re focusing on the positives today, lets see what Gase might bring to the table.
Let’s hope his offensive genius is a true thing. I haven’t heard a negative thing about the guy, so the hype just might be true. We know he will call the plays, and we know his offenses have been successful (albeit not championship-level) elsewhere. Maybe the fact that he will be the play caller AND head decisionmaker for the whole team on Sundays can be successful. I don’t think the Dolphins ever had such a scheme in place.
Maybe his youth will be an inspiration. Hopefully he commands respect from everyone the minute camp opens, and let’s hope he’s truly innovative. It’s a big list of hoppes and dreams, but it’s not impossible for Gase to have all these qualities.
Moving onto Ryan Tannehill. Can he get better under Gase? The truthful answer is “maybe.” Now that both Mike Sherman and his son-in-law are both back to coaching teenagers, this is Tannehill’s first year of not being babied by anyone in the Sherman family. It might actually help. Could hurt, of course, but that’s not the theme of today’s article here.
Tannehill has had the skill set and the teammates to have 4,000 yard seasons two years (nearly 3 years) in a row. Not shabby. His long ball improved greatly in 2015. His running ability was hampered by poor playcalling, and if Gase isn’t afraid to design some running plays for him, that could keep a ton of drives alive.
Ryan Tannehill’s football IQ?
Look at the photo above from the second New England game. Third and goal from the 1. Dolphins ran a read option, and RT handed off to Miller, who got stuffed. But look where RT is. Look at that daylight. He could have hopped in backwards on his fingertips with a refrigerator on his back. RT keeping the ball was the obvious choice. My God, how could he miss that!! Miami ended up kicking a field goal because RT was not smart enough to keep the ball on his rollout.
I’ve never liked his leadership, determination, or other intangibles, but in the spirit of keeping things positive, it’s at least possible that he was hampered by the coaching. Although I can’t see any coach telling him that he is forbidden from showing anger or emotion. I just don’t think the guy gets mad at himself or at his teammates, and I feel a strong QB needs that. We’ll see.
Mario Williams could be a beast, after taking a few years off to play some so-so defense in Buffalo. Cameron Wake might be ready for Week 1. Dion Jordan might finally shut me up. I would love to be wrong about him. Kong Suh might be a lot better in his second Dolphin year.
Ending the Miko Grimes era might be a benefit. Jamar Taylor might finally wake up and play some ball. The J.V. squad like Michael Thomas and Shamiel Gary might decide that they want to play in the big leagues.
Gase may keep his nose out of the defense, or he might be very active. If his offensive knowledge is as good as advertised, he could certainly help the D to recognize formations and all that sort of thing. I’ve never heard of any Dolphin defender in the last 4 years talk about Philbin’s defensive strategies or schemes. Instead, he stubbornly relied on guys like Kevin Coyle, win or lose. Mostly lose.
The offensive line could be another mess with zero depth, or it could be a vast improvement. If all the starters are healthy, doesn’t doesn’t mean we have it made. I think Albert is fine and James has promise. I realize that Pouncey is a Pro Bowler, but I’m still waiting to see him blow a nose tackle off the line consistently. I want to see him improve and help RT improve.