The Dolphins made the first Head Coaching hire of the new season by making Adam Gase their new head coach, signing him to a 5 year deal (usually they are 4 year deals). Instead of going with an old retread like Mike Smith or Doug Marrone, they go with the young innovative mind who will help fix the offense and adapt to the times.
Not Another Philbin
Many have quickly and lazily compared Adam Gase to his predecessor Joe Philbin. Both were previously offensive coordinators for a future HOF QB and both never had any Head Coaching experience. However that is all the similarities between the two. The biggest difference between the two is Adam Gase actually called plays in his three years as offensive coordinator while Mike McCarthy called plays in Green Bay when Philbin was there. Also Philbin off the field was more like a secretary. He organized the meetings and made sure the grammar in the PowerPoints was good and everything was “professional”. On the field, he was McCarthy’s replay official and told him when to challenge or not. Gase is the opposite as he was a grinder, getting really involved in the gameplan and practices and calling plays on the field. He may not succeed as a HC, but it won’t be because he is another Philbin.
What He Will Do For Miami
The thing Gase brings to Miami is a really innovative offense. In his 16 years of coaching he has been heavily educated in a number of offensive philosophies from the West Coast, Coryell and even the Spread Option when he was coaching The Chosen One. With all these different influences, Gase brings a very flexible offense that will fit whoever the QB and personnel is. With The Chosen One he helped developed the Spread Option offense that Urban Meyer ran, with Peyton Manning, he tweaked what Mike McCoy ran to incorporate the no huddle and what Peyton ran with the Colts. With Cutler, he changed the offense to create a lot of safe throws to limit Cutler’s turnovers and to move him around with bootlegs and rollouts. Also he has committed to the run game in his stops, something Miami neglected to to do last year. Overall whatever his QB does well, Gase will tweak the scheme to adapt to it.
Now how does he help Miami. The first thing he will do is run an actual scheme based off the personnel. Sherman and Lazor stuck to their rigid schemes, Gase will be flexible. His biggest task and the biggest reason he was hired is his upcoming work to make Ryan Tannehill the franchise QB the Dolphins expect and are paying him to be. Last year with Cutler the turnover machine, Cutler had his best year ever with his highest passing rater and lowest INT %. Also with Cutler at QB (he missed 7 quarters of football), the Bears averaged 24 points per game when he was out there and not being forced to rely on horrible Jimmy Clausen. He will do the same thing with Tannehill. I expect the offense next year will best fit what Tannehill does best. I expect a lot of bootlegs, zone-reads, quick passes, and designed reads so Tannehill will get the ball out quickly and not continue to take the beating he has been taking. Also Gase will commit to the run game which will help with play-action and allow Tannehill to have better opportunities to go deep and also help him see the field better. Also a run game is never a bad thing to have.
Overall Gase was a great hire with the Dolphins clearly looking towards the future. Gase is well respected league wide for his football intelligence and his offensive ingenuity. His offenses have been fun to watch and he will get Tannehill to reach his real ceiling. With Landry and Parker at WR and Tannehill at QB, the Dolphins have a nice young trio Gase can build around while he tries to fix the many gaping holes on that roster. The good news is he has a 5 year deal and final say on the 53 man roster which means Tannenbaum can’t ruin the Dolphins as much as he ruined the Jets. The biggest task for Gase and the Dolphins this offseason is to fix the guard position which has been a gigantic mess since they foolishly let Incognito go in 2013. The most difficult task that will take at least two years to fix will be the defense which outside of Suh and Jones lacks a lot of real talent. What makes it more difficult is the horrible Suh contract makes it very difficult to address the holes which means they must rely on the draft.
I expect the first year the Dolphins won’t be playoff contenders. The offense should be improved however the defense will take a while to fix and with a difficult schedule, 8-8 is a reasonable guess. But once Gase gets into year 2 and another year of tweaking the roster, that is when they should make some noise. This was a great hire for Miami and Dolphins fans should be thankful they didn’t hire a retread like Mike Smith or Doug Marrone like Steve Ross originally hinted at wanting.