As a jaded and cautious Miami Dolphin fan, witnessing the rise of the five-second-QB's status to game manager has been invigorating and delightful. The running game took the burden of the offense off the QB’s shoulders and the Giggggity Jay train is rolling downhill. The QB making timely plays at the end, cemented the Buffalo victory. So, while serving my derogatory QB comments with a heaping helping of sarcasm, I'll give credit where credit is due, Tannehill played a very nice couple of games.
My whole problem here is reconciling with this feeling of déjà vu... After so many exasperating years, I am no longer gullible enough to jump directly on the Giggggity Jay train. I'm going to need a season of games before I'm out of the woods and begin thinking this team has finally turned the corner. The run through Wannstedt to Philbin haunts my brain like a reoccurring nightmare. The thought of impending glory has me panting like a greyhound chasing the rabbit, only to find it stuffed with sawdust.
Two weeks does not a season make… During those two weeks Adam Gase completely changed his offensive approach from primarily a throwing mentality to a complete emphasis on the running game. We saw the OL pave the way for the Giggggity Jay train and it really speaks to a coach who knows which stable holds his thoroughbreds. Memories of Csonka, Kiick and Morris occasionally filter through the ugly noise of the past forty years, but lost among those daydreams are names like Kooch, Langer and Little, the true backbone of the last Miami Dolphin team to win a Super Bowl.
Prior to the season, after hiring Adam Gase, we were assaulted with suggestions this coach was not in vogue with the “modern” system approach. “He would take his’n and beat your’n, and take your’n and beat his’n.” There can be no greater compliment than to recognize him for doing exactly that. It seems a simple premise, build a scheme around the strength of your best players. All too often, coaches enter the arena trying to force players into a system leading to epic failure. Joe Philbin couldn’t even recognize who his best players were, let alone put them in position for success.
Remaining cautious, we cannot anoint Adam Gase in vintage 72 throwback coaching robes, nor sanctify him at the altar of Shula. We can only look at the data and see there is a clear and logical thought process at work. It’s unlikely Shula would have allowed Laremy Tunsil to “rest” his twisted ankle after falling in the shower. But perhaps there was a method to throwing the laziest underachieving lineman into a fray they were completely incapable of performing.
“The tape don’t lie,” and the tape of the offensive, offensive line play against the Cincinnati Bengals raised the ire of every self-respecting Miami Dolphin fan. Could it be Adam Gase used this fervor to override his GM? Did he use the tape to justify cutting three players he determined were undermining his attempts to raise his team’s level of play? Witnessing brilliant ruthlessness under the guise of recorded truth is not a guise at all, it’s called chutzpah, audacity, big cojones and it resonates through a testosterone laden locker-room like a Mike Tyson uppercut.
The experienced pessimist acknowledges the past as the surest indicator of the future. Forty odd years without a title and thirty without an appearance should be enough past to indicate any future. Still the bone dangles in front of our salivating mouths just out of reach and we chomp at the slightest inching forward.
We see you Mr. Gase, and accordingly you have raised the suspicious eye of your competition. Your team is now a glowing blip, firmly positioned on your opponent’s radar screens. The hell-bent-for-leather running game will become as one-dimensional and predictable as the passing attack it supplanted, leaving the ball right back in the hands of your five-second-QB. “The wheels on the bus go around and round, round and round…”
How you avoid the bus will determine your future and that of your QB. To the amateur observer it may seem this offensive line strength could bare more fruit with the understanding of those five precious seconds. The argument of whether the actual time is five seconds is meaningless when knowing five seconds will turn any QB into a star. The key may not be Payton Manning-like quickness of wit, it might reside in simply providing enough time for the QB you have.
It all goes back to your’n and his’n… Know thyself, know thy enemy… When the line of scrimmage becomes crowded, space opens behind it. How to make those five precious seconds available will be the next challenge when the running attack is stifled. I am personally looking forward to how Mr. Gase overcomes his next obstacle.
You know what you have to work with Coach Gase, I’m anticipating how you apply the talent and avoid becoming a system guy. Things are indeed looking up in Miami as the feeling of déjà vu subsides...