Dolphins hire Adam Gase as new head coach: 5 things to know
The Dolphins have hired former Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase as their new head coach, replacing Joe Philbin and Dan Campbell.
The Dolphins have hired former Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase as their new head coach, replacing Joe Philbin (who was fired a month into the season) and Dan Campbell (who served as interim coach after Philbin's ouster).
Gase arrives in Miami with a track record for meshing well with franchise quarterbacks. That he has had success with -- and seems to prefer -- big pocket passers makes him a natural fit with Ryan Tannehill, who regressed in his fourth NFL season.
So much so, in fact, that the wife of one of Tannehill's teammates took to Twitter to ask how many people have to get fired before we realize that the quarterback is the problem.
The reality is that the Dolphins have been mediocre or worse dating back to the days of Chad Pennington, Ronnie Brown and Tony Sparano. They also play in the same division as Tom Brady and the Patriots. This isn't all on Tannehill. That said, it doesn't matter who the coach is; without a legit franchise quarterback (and we'll be honest, we thought this would be the season Tannehill made his case as a top-flight passer), the playoffs are a long shot and winning games should you happen to get there is almost impossible.
1. So, can Gase 'fix' Tannehill? It's one thing to say Gase had success with Peyton Manning in Denver, where he was the coordinator before joining the Bears this season. It's something else entirely to point to how Gase revived Jay Cutler's career.
Cutler, who had been reduced to a pick-6 punchline heading into 2015, finished with 3,659 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, a completion percentage of 64.4 and a passer rating of 92.3. And perhaps most impressive, Cutler ranked 9th in value-per-play among all quarterbacks, according to Football Outsiders' metrics.
If you're looking for bona fides, it doesn't get much more impressive than this.
2. Who will join Gase's staff? Some thoughts, courtesy of CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora:
Gase's top choice for DC - Vance Joseph - has an expiring contract with Bengals. Can join Fins as soon as Cincy's season ends— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 9, 2016
Two young coordinator prospects Gase has liked - Vance Joseph and Dowell Loggains. We'll see if his father in law, Joe Vitt, joins staff— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 9, 2016
Recent Bengals' defensive staff members have had a lot of success in recent seasons; Mike Zimmer went from defensive coordinator to Vikings head coach, helping that team to a division title. And his replacement in Cincy, Paul Guenther, has the defense playing well enough that Guenther will likely interview for head-coaching vacancies when the Bengals' season is over. So Joseph comes from a solid pedigree.
Loggains, meanwhile, was the Browns' quarterbacks coach in 2014 before joining Gase in Chicago in that same job.
3. The Dolphins did their homework on Gase. “We did exhaustive research on all of the candidates ahead of time and conducted thorough and detailed interviews with each person,” owner Stephen Ross said in a statement. “In the end, I was convinced and the search committee was unanimous Adam was the right leader for our football team who best met all of our priorities. He has high-energy is competitive and driven to win with a mindset of teaching and developing players.”
Not sure I've heard of a more expansive interview than Gase's time with Dolphins. Everyone from Suh to sports science people are involved.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 9, 2016
4. Gase also comes highly recommended by Peyton Manning. "I don't think you need me to sit up here and campaign for him, I guess,'' Manning said last January when Gase was interviewing for coaching jobs. "Last year I talked to a couple teams on the behalf of him that reached out to me. That may happen again, so I'm certainly glad to share my thoughts, I mean it's pretty well documented my thoughts on him because I don't think he needs me to stand up here and campaign for him. I'm excited he has the opportunity he's going to have this week. He deserves it, I think teams that he talks to will be impressed. ...
"[These are] opportunities he deserves,'' Manning continued. "... Adam's always had his priorities in the right order ... He deserves it.''
Ross and the Dolphins agree.
5. Maybe the third time will be the charm for Ross. Gase becomes the third head coach to work for Ross, who bought the Dolphins in 2008. In the intervening years, he's fired Tony Sparano (the last coach to take Miami to the playoffs) and Joe Philbin (Todd Bowles and Dan Campbell were also interim coaches during that span).
Thirteen months ago, Ross announced that Philbin would return for 2015, a move that shocked a lot of people because Philbin had floundered through much of his tenure. So it was less surprising when Philbin was relieved of his duties a month into this season.
Like Philbin, Gase is offensive-minded, but at 37, he's now the youngest NFL head coach. He'll also have his work cut out for him; Miami hasn't had a winning season since '08, and has finished below .500 five times in that span, including a 6-10 mark in 2015.
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