Every time you turn around there’s another reason to feel good about Adam Gase as coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Here’s the latest.
The Dolphins’ offense is far from a finished product. Didn’t keep the Dolphins from making the playoffs, of course, which is a great thought to build on, but once they got to the postseason, the most Miami could do in a 30-12 loss at Pittsburgh was one late and ultimately meaningless touchdown.
Wait, you’re screaming, Ryan Tannehill was hurt and didn’t play in that game. OK, but Matt Moore did just fine as his replacement against lesser competition at the end of the regular season, throwing for a total of six touchdowns in a couple of wins over Buffalo and the New York Jets. The playoffs are where it counts, though, and it took no more than one first-round wild card game to show how much ground must be gained.
So what happened in the 2017 NFL draft? Did Gase, who got this job because of his abilities as an offensive playcaller, insist on loading up on offense to address the problems for which he is most directly responsible?
Nope, the Dolphins used their top three draft picks on defense instead, a franchise first.
On top of that, Miami went deeper into the draft than any other NFL team before choosing an offensive player, and even then it was a guard instead of a skill position.
Of course, Gase didn’t run the draft. General manager Chris Grier does that. If the head coach were 100 percent opposed to the team going in a particular direction, however, there would be more conflict that we’re seeing now.
Gase clearly has confidence he can win with the guys he has on offense, including some Miami has re-signed (like wide receiver Kenny Stills) and some added during the offseason (like tight ends Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano and offensive lineman Ted Larsen).
He understands that it is never a totally one-sided game. Last year, for instance, New Orleans was the second-highest scoring team in the league at nearly 30 points per game but the Saints missed the playoffs just the same at 7-9.
Gase is bright enough to understand that a strong defense makes his offense better, gives his quarterback more possessions, keeps his team from constantly having to struggle from behind.
Maybe he realizes, too, that the Dolphins did themselves no favors by going so strong on offense in the 2016 draft, Gase’s first as a head coach, even though it may have made him feel better at the time.
These are all good signs of an organization that is building comprehensively for the long run and is in agreement on how to get there.
Contrast that to the Bills, who fired their GM and his scouting staff on the day after the draft. Looks like everything is up to new head coach Sean McDermott now.
And there, come to think of it, is yet another reason to feel good about Gase driving the Dolphins through the AFC East on the eventual climb to catch New England.