After an incredibly disappointing 2015 season when the Miami Dolphins finished with a record of 6-10, there were a lot of questions remaining about how this once proud program could find its way back into the playoffs. There were problems on the offensive and defensive lines, and the team was faced with the potential loss of its starting running back Lamar Miller, who indeed left through free agency. All of this was reflected in the fact all of the best online gambling sites had the Dolphins at long odds to even make the playoffs.
To his credit, owner Stephen Ross made a leap of faith and hired Adam Gase as his head coach. Without prior head coaching experience on his resume, Ross was counting on Gase to use his experience on the offensive side of the ball to bring a creative approach to an offensive scheme that had gone stale over the years. What Gase’s hiring meant to the defense would largely depend on the new head coach’s choice for defensive coordinator.
The 2016 season did not get off to a good start. The once reliable QB Ryan Tannehill was struggling to hold onto the ball and failed time and again to move the ball down field in big chunks. Part of the problem was an offensive line that wasn’t protecting him or opening holes for the running game. The rest of the problem was Tannehill, who has never shown the ability to perform at a high level on a consistent basis. For not panicking and staying the course with his QB, Gase gets a solid B-.
After allowing 17 sacks in the first 5 games, the offensive line looked a mess. Key injuries to running backs Arian Foster and Isaiah Pead certainly did nothing to help take pressure off the passing game. By recognizing his QB has limited mobility and perhaps having his Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen simplify the blocking schemes, the offensive line has only given up 2 sacks over the last 3 games. For simplifying the offense, He gets a B.
On defense, the Dolphins are performing on par with last year’s squad. They have given up just a bit over 362 YPG, resulting in just over 22 PPG, compared to 376.2 and 24.3 from last season. It’s admirable that Gase has resisted the temptation to make too many changes at once, for which he get a another solid B.
Over the past 3 games, 2nd year running back Jay Ajayi, out of Boise State, has suddenly blossomed into one of the most dangerous running backs in the NFL. After being drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 draft, it was assumed Ajayi would need time to adjust to the NFL. Perhaps through divine intervention, he was pressed into service because of the aforementioned injuries in the backfield. His response was 204 yards rushing and 2 TDs in his first game as a starter. Next out, he gained 214 yards on the ground with another TD. In the last game against the New York Jets, he was held to 111 yards and 1 TD, which was still enough to lead the team to its third win in a row. For conceding the ball to this young talent, Gase gets an A-.
The reality is Gase didn’t have a lot to start with. At present, the Dolphins sit at 4-4 and find themselves still in the playoff race. Fans should be satisfied with his decisions to keep thing simple and stable while the team’s most talented players reveal themselves. At halfway through his first season as a head coach, Gase is deserving of a B.