While some would disagree, the Dolphins have a lot of talent entering this season, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
We have a strong crew of running backs and some fast and eager wide receivers. A decent offensive line and a mobile quarterback. A couple of great prospects at tight end.
I know Ryan Tannehill has his critics, and I’ve certainly been one. But I feel this offense has more talent than the others Tannehill has inherited, and I look forward to seeing what he can do with it.
But…the team will only go as far as Adam Gase allows it to go. He has proven nothing in his 2+ seasons here, and I need to see a massive improvement this year to give him my support. Even the best players in the world will go nowhere if their coach just doesn’t get it. By contrast, mediocre second-string backups like Nick Foles and Case Keenum win championships when they have strong playcallers…more on that later.
Let’s start with Gase’s play-calling. My regular readers know my typical gripes. Too much passing, too many predictable plays, trying to fool the opponent instead of driving the ball down their throats.
It seems like whenever the Dolphins have a 3rd-and-one or 4th-and-inches, Gase never runs a QB sneak. I have counted about 3 QB sneaks in the past 2 years under Gase. He simply refuses to just plunge forward for a yard.
Instead, Gase has this infuriating and unsuccessful habit of calling for 5-wideout, shotgun sets. Sure, we get a first down now and then, but many times we fail. Gase is trying to show off his vast intellectual superiority by making the defense guess, but it doesn’t work.
Another thing that never worked were the frequent bubble screens to Jarvis Landry. Now that Landry is gone, I hope the play is gone as well. It fooled no one.
Landry whined that he wanted the ball more, and I absolutely take his side over Gase’s side. In the Pro Bowl, a bunch of coaches who don’t even know Landry and who only had a few days of practice with him told him to run some long, go-routes. He did it and got some huge receptions for long gains.
I know it’s only the Pro Bowl, but my point is this: some coaches know how to use talent, and some don’t. Let Landry run long, and you get long gains. Have Landry run screen passes, and you get short gains. It doesn’t take a scientist to see Gase’s stubborn, failed logic.
Speaking of stubborn, I’m compelled to mention Jay Ajayi. You remember Jay. A Pro Bowl, 1,000-yard rusher whose only “crime” was he wanted to carry the ball more. Imagine a RB who wants the ball. Imagine a RB who wants to plunge ahead on 3rd-and-inches instead of being benched for Damien Williams. Imagine a guy who averages 4-5 yards a carry questioning why Gase benches him on all the important plays.
If your coach is successful and always correct and the team is winning, then shut your hole and don’t sass him. But if your coach is just a stubborn know-it-all without any history of winning…well, you get the point. Adam Gase wants to get rid of Ajayi? Management should have said, “Uhhh, no.”
Gase is often quick to point out that guys miss their assignments, and this is true. They miss. But when it happens consistently, it’s time to try new plays instead of trying the same thing over and over and over. So when his offensive line is getting run over, then leave an additional player in to block. Don’t have 5 wideout sets…which leaves only 5 men on the o-line. The defense will rush 6. We lose, Adam. You lose.
I wrote several columns about our Week 17 loss to the Bills, a loss that Adam Gase simply handed away.
It was infuriating to see Adam Gase hand a playoff appearance to a hated division rival. Gase experimented with his old friend David Fales and newcomer project AJ Derby, among others.
Instead of actually trying to win the game, Gase allowed the scrubs to play. I severely question if this man has a winning attitude.
In that same game, the Bills lined up fat, slow Kyle Williams in the backfield, and the entire universe knew they were going to hand the ball to him. They did, and the Dolphins barely tried to stop him; by that point, the D had all but given up, knowing that their coach had given up much earlier.
We had a chance to knock the rival Bills off their pedestal, but instead Gase handed them a ladder.
Which leads us to Gase’s #1 enabler, Stephen Ross. Where was Ross to veto the Ajai trade? Where was he when Gase didn’t feel like competing in Week 17?
Where was Ross when Gase conned us into signing his old Bear friends like Fales and Jay Cutler, or when Gase put $7 million into the pocket of his ol’ Bronco pal Julius Thomas?
These were clearly unproductive players who no other team wanted. No one. And then came Adam Gase. Suddenly they were wanted. And Ross allowed it.
A few years ago, a former Dolphin and Super Bowl champion named Doug Pederson was ripe for the picking to become a head coach. Unlike Adam Gase, Pederson had played football. He was a champ. He was a Dolphin. We coulda had him.
Instead, Mr. Ross listened to all the “genius” comments and all the “Quarterback Whisperer” comments surrounding a guy named Adam Gase, who never played the game. Who never won anything as a coach. Who was a great coach only because he told you he was a great coach.
Two years later, we saw Doug Pederson dismantle the Patriots and win the Super Bowl. We saw Adam Gase give a free win to the Bills. Pederson hired seasoned NFL veterans like Frank Reich to turn his offense into a Super Bowl champ, while Adam Gase hired such famous luminaries as Dowell Loggains and Clyde Christensen to run his offense.
And Ross allowed this nonsense.
Pederson hired Jim Schwartz to run his defense, a former tough NFL head coach who knows the NFL. Gase brought in his unqualified, inexperienced pals Vance Joseph and then Matt Burke.
It’s not a coincidence. It’s not hard to predict. You hire a Super Bowl champion and a couple of veterans with true NFL experience to run your team, and you succeed. You hire an arrogant unknown coach and allow him to hired other inexperienced unknowns, and you get mediocrity.
The way Gase handles his roster is questionable too. Any casual Dolphin fan has watched DeVante Parker drop passes for several years. He refuses to jump for a ball, let alone fight off a defender for a reception. Balls bounce off his hands at an alarming rate, and often end up in the arms of defenders.
Yet despite all of that, Gase lets him play. Meanwhile, Jakeem Grant is an exciting fireplug who catches up to every ball near him. Leronte Carroo is big and strong and fends off defenders. But Gase keeps them on the bench. Not only that, but Gase is always fast to defend Parker, always mentioning that Parker is nursing a sore foot or something. It’s funny how a sore foot makes your hands drop passes all the time. Only in Gaseland.
When a player hurts his team, isn’t it fair to give someone else a chance? At least for a game or two? Or for even a play? Obviously, the answer is yes, except for Adam Gase. Gase makes excuses, not changes.
We’ll know early on in Week One if anything has changed for Adam Gase this year. We’ll know if his playcalling has evolved or if we’re stuck with his predictable nonsense again. He has a lot more tools, and better tools, this year, but I’m not convinced the guy know how to use them. He has another season to shut me up and prove me wrong.