The Miami Dolphins have “won” the free-agency period before and missed the playoffs anyway. This time around I’m going to worry less about that and focus on the more important pickup.
Who is actually coaching the players is the factor that matters most, from setting the lineup to forming a successful strategy on
both sides of the ball to naming a quality staff to motivating the team. In this area, even though he has yet to take the field as Dolphins coach, Adam Gase is looking like the right choice.
Why? Because Gase is the only one of the candidates interviewed by Miami who would have gotten an NFL head coaching job if the Dolphins had passed on him.
Here’s were the others ended up.
Dan Campbell – Assistant head coach and tight ends coach at New Orleans.
Doug Marrone – Assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Jacksonville.
Teryl Austin – Defensive coordinator at Detroit.
Mike Smith – Defensive coordinator at Tampa Bay.
Anthony Lynn – Assistant head coach and running backs coach at Buffalo.
Mike Shanahan – Not working in NFL.
Gase interviewed with the Giants and Eagles in addition to Miami and there’s no guarantee he would have gotten either of those jobs if he wanted them but it figures that somebody would have snapped him up. He and Hue Jackson were the two hottest prospects around the league at the time the annual coaching carousel was spinning.
If there is another measure to be made on Gase other than the raw numbers of wins and losses this season, it will be comparing him to Jackson, new head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
The Dolphins had an interview scheduled with Hue but canceled it when talks started getting serious with Gase.
Full disclosure, I backed Smith as Miami’s choice early on, thinking that after all the missteps with men who had never previously served as head coaches it probably was time to go with a proven product. Smith was the 2008 NFL Coach of the Year in Atlanta. He took the Falcons to the NFC title game in 2012 as one of his four playoff appearances with the team. Overall, he was 20 games over .500 there, too.
I’ll go back to my opening premise, however, and look at what happened with each candidate. While Smith may eventually be an NFL head coach again, nobody was interested in handing him the keys right now. Gase, on the other hand, was targeted in more than one place as being ready for the job of turning a team around.
If it turns out the Dolphins were wrong about that, they wouldn’t have been the only ones.