This simply isn't the same Miami Dolphins we saw crawl out to a 1-4 start just a few weeks ago. The season was over. Some fans (some, not all) were already calling for the head of Adam Gase, claiming he wasn't the right guy for the job, too inexperienced, or wasn't the renowned QB whisperer everyone pegged him to be.
Now, the Dolphins sit (3-4) with the mediocre New York Jets coming to town after a much needed bye week. With a chance to get people healthy, and add more competition to crucial positions like CB and LB, the Dolphins may find themselves right in the thick of the playoff race in November.
Something few people considered a possibility when the team's schedule came out months ago. Something everyone considered impossible two weeks ago.
So what exactly has changed? It certainly helps that the team's offensive line is entirely healthy. The unit consisting of Mike Pouncey, Laremy Tunsil, Branden Albert, Ja'Wuan James and Jermon Bushrod has proven it is a force to reckon with. When healthy the past two games, Ryan Tannehill has had much more time tot throw, resulting in two of his better outings of his entire career. He even got it done when it counted yesterday against the division rival Buffalo Bills in the fourth quarter.
Tannehill threw a perfect back shoulder adjusting ball to Kenny Stills, who caught it this time (sorry, I had to).
While the offensive line's health has contributed to the two game winning streak, I see the recent success as more of a product of Adam Gase. Gase has really taken strides as a first year head coach the past month.
What exactly has he done?
He as approached a new offensive mindset. Gone are the days the Miami Dolphins sprint to the line of scrimmage and throw an incompletion or run for two yards. Gone are the days the defense plays 4 series in 4 minutes because the offense can't pick up one first down. Instead, Gase has shaped the offense around what he is given.
The offensive line has started head hunting in a man on man blocking scheme, which compliments the talents of Jay Ajayi, who has been dubbed "the next Ricky Williams." Ajayi's success, while partially due to his instincts and ability to cut and read the play, is primarily a product of this new run-first power offense.
Now, the Dolphins are using the pass second, riding the shoulders of their front 5 and their talented sophomore running back, who by the way has totaled 535 yards (over 400 in his past two games) on just 84 attempts. His 6.4 yards per carry average is better than anyone in the entire NFL. He currently ranks 6th in yards and TDs. These numbers should continue to grow behind Gase's new offensive game plan.
Why should Dolphins fans be happy?
Gone are the days where our coach insists on keeping his game plan going even if it isn't working. Gone are the days of a weak football team unwilling to grind out games committed to the run and committed to playing defense, which by the way has stopped two of the NFL's best offenses in back to back weeks.
Gone are the days where this team loses because of coaching.
And frankly, that is music to my ears, whether this team is still in the playoff hunt or not.
Which, by the way, they are.