Miami Dolphins Fire Adam Gase

Adam Gase was fired after another Miami Dolphin football season came to an agonizing end. The team lost three games in a row for the second straight year. Some glaring problems surfaced as the season ground to a screeching halt. Players once again ejected in the final minutes of play, dispelling the notion that good guys replacing locker room bad guys really made a difference.

When referencing the three out of four games he does not play well, Ryan Tannehill used the word “obviously” a lot. “Obviously myself, and the team, we need to finish better… Obviously, we didn’t finish strong and you want to be playing in the postseason and competing for a championship.”

When asked to define the problems he replied, “We need to find a way to win these games down the stretch when we have opportunities to put ourselves in the postseason. To answer your question, I don’t know.”

Obviously, the quarterback didn’t know how to win, but it went much deeper.

There were subtleties in player comments that gave outsiders a glimpse of their true feelings. “It’s been up and down,” Danny Amendola said. “Had some great wins. Tough losses. Lost some key players to injuries. It’s the NFL. Ultimately, we’ve got to play better. We’ve got to learn how to practice and play at a championship level. And we didn’t have it.”

“We’ve got to learn how to practice and play at a championship level.”

“It’s been a roller-coaster,” Xavien Howard said. “A couple injuries. Everybody couldn’t get on the same page. It was either the offense, defense or special teams. We’ve just got to be on one page and just work together. So, you know we haven’t been on the same page and the injuries haven’t helped at all.”

“Everybody couldn’t get on the same page.”

“We bite ourselves in the feet,” Ja’Wuan James said. “Penalties. Not starting fast. We just. We never honestly had an identity. When you don’t have an identity as an offense it’s hard because you don’t know what to go to when things go wrong. You’re just trying stuff. We never really found our identity this year.”

“We never really found our identity this year.”

Put all those comments together and what’s under the surface begins rising to the top…

“Obviously myself, and the team, we need to finish better.”
“We’ve got to learn how to practice and play at a championship level.”
“Everybody couldn’t get on the same page.”
“We never really found our identity this year.”

Tannehill can’t finish games or seasons or even third downs very well and when taken in the context of, “Everybody couldn’t get on the same page.” “We never really found our identity this year.” “We’ve got to learn how to practice and play at a championship level.”

How do you accomplish this when half the starting roster is on injured reserve and those players have very specific skill sets? Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant have very similar body types and Gase’s early offensive game plan was based around those skills. When an offense is built around certain skills and those skills end up on injured reserve, the offense must adjust to healthy players.

Easier to understand why, “We never really found our identity this year,” was true, without those speedsters. Once those players were lost, Gase tried to use Frank Gore in a power running game but after practicing fancy RPOs through training camp, “everybody couldn’t get on the same page.”

Gore is another player Gase fell in love with, while Kenyan Drake sat. Drake the ascending player, sat watching Gore probably playing in his last season. It made little sense.

The whole thing begs to ask, how do you “learn how to practice and play at a championship level,” While sitting your most explosive player? Gase could never settle and was continually changing the offense to use players with drastically different skill sets.

Gase had built the Miami Dolphins without an identity.

Gase's platform was not team identity or systemic, it was whether or not he loved the player, even if the player did not fit the system. Gase could not hope to find consistency with perpetually injured players all having random skill sets.
This is the failure of the Miami Dolphin triumvirate, Gase, Grier and Tannenbaum. Gase fell in love with players and was smart enough to design an offense around the skills of those players. But this trait betrayed him when he designed his offense around one or two of key players. The offense tailored around them changed drastically when they went down due to injury.

With a stable identity, the team may have filled the roster with players fitting the identity. Then, game planning and practices would not alter drastically during the course of the season. Gase never understood the importance of continuity on his roster, on both sides of the ball. Because of this, his team, like his plan, played Jekyll and Hyde all season never knowing which would show up.

The Miami Dolphins lost a good coach, it was reported that he would not relinquish control of the 53-man roster. In other words, he would go down in the same ship with Ryan Tannehill.

The coach killer claims another victim…

Take two lessons Adam Gase:

Don’t fall in love with players…

Build your team around an identity so there is depth to mitigate injures…

Good luck Adam Gase...