Finishing 10-6 in his debut season and a play-off defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Adam Gase gave fans a small glimpse of what he can do with his starting quarterback and a healthy team.
Flip the record, 6-10, and add a host of unfortunate events that not even Lemony Snicket could envisage and you get Gase’s sophomore season with the Miami Dolphins.
As the team enters their third season under his tutelage, many believe this is make or break for the former Broncos offensive coordinator.
However, some argue that the 40-year-old’s tenure as head coach starts this year and that he should be judged from this point on.
His time in Miami started off a bit rocky, the started team started off the season 1-4 with fans calling for the benching of starting QB Ryan Tannehill, a theme throughout his NFL career (Travis is currently charting every RT drop back from that season here).
However, on October 16 2016 there was a change.
Miami exploded into life. Jay Ajayi, fresh off his benching in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, ran for over 200 yards as Miami beat the Steelers 30-15.
The Brit, and Miami, followed this up with a 28-25 victory over division rival the Bills and so ensued a six-game win streak to turn their season around.
A loss to the Ravens in Week 13 wasn’t enough to dampen the play-off mood this team were in. A season-ending injury to Tannehill the following week was, however.
That the team finished off the season winning three wins out of four has much to do with the way the team were coached that season and the freedom Gase allowed his players to have.
The following season, it all fell apart. Tannehill went down injured in preseason, the team lost their bye week early on and players in the locker room felt they were too good to be playing their football in Miami.
Gase called those players out and they left. Ajayi was traded to the Eagles. Jarvis Landry was allowed to test free agency while others were cut, you know the story.
This offseason has seen the team undergo plenty of changes, all to make the 2018 Miami Dolphins look like an Adam Gase team.
Names mean nothing to the head coach. Doing your job on the field and taking your work home is all that matters.
While this is nothing new, it means that you can pretty much throw the last two seasons away as references to the type of football coach Gase plays.
As he has repeated countless times to those who want to listen, the Phins this season will be an evolving team from week to week.
Gase knows what he wants from this team and those who are on board will be rewarded with playing time and a home at Hard Rock Stadium.
Those who want to be mavericks and try and do things their own way will find a comfortable position on the sideline while the rest of the Dolphins are on the field playing.
Fans don’t want to hear that the previous years mean nothing but can you look at this team in 2017 and say that was a Gase team?
That the football on show is representative of this coaching staff?
Week after week Gase stood on the podium and said that players were not doing the basics. That he’s had to scale the playbook down because the guys weren’t getting it.
All that changes when #17 is on the gridiron come September.
As ESPN’s Jeff Darlington said on the Locked on Phins podcast, Tannehill was set to have a monster year in 2017.
All signs point to him having it in 2018.
Darlington also pointed out that Stephen Ross wants Gase to be successful.
He sees him as the next Don Shula, that is the level the three year head coach is expected to reach in this building.
2017 was a down year for the team and knocked Ross’ confidence in the head coach, that’s understandable – it could be why he questioned the decision to draft Minkah Fitzpatrick at #11 overall as opposed to trading back.
While Gase’s position isn’t under threat, he’s not unsackable.
However, the QB whisperer learnt a lot last year and got through it, making a host of changes so that what we saw last year never happens again.
A new offensive coordinator is in house, one who understands Gase’s philosophy and can challenge the head coach mentally, getting the best out of him.
Miami are building something. A team that will prove to doubters that 2017 wasn’t a fluke. A team full of leaders.
In comes Fitzpatrick at safety, a player who was nicknamed Nick Sabin’s son while playing for Alabama.
Raekwon McMillan returns for his rookie/sophomore season.
Danny Amendola arrives from New England and his 24/7 win at all costs mentality is already showing those in Florida what is required to succeed in this league.
Tannehill has a tight end in Mike Gesicki who can make plays.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) May 29, 2018
And the recent video of the QB and TE discussing a simple comeback route shows that the work is being done on the training field for them to be productive this season.
Overseeing all this is Gase, leading that charge and it starts in 2018. Year zero for Adam Gase’s Miami Dolphins.
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