Following Thursday night’s embarrassing 40-0 loss to the Ravens, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase criticized his team’s effort and called the offense “a joke.”
While it is refreshing to hear an NFL coach speak with that kind of honesty, calling out the players may or may not prove to be effective. Gase himself is a large part of the problem in Miami.
What Gase is doing isn’t working
Gase was brought to Miami for his first head coaching job with the “offensive guru” label after being a key mind behind the Peyton Manning led Broncos offense, as well as guiding Jay Cutler to his best statistical season in 2015 with Chicago.
However, that offensive success has not followed him to Miami. The Dolphins ranked 24th in total offense last year and are dead last so far in 2017. Moreover, it was Gase who brought Jay Cutler out of retirement to save the day when Ryan Tannehill went down prior to this season.
To say that has not worked out well is an understatement. The Dolphins woeful offensive numbers are due in large part to the fact that Cutler is averaging just 165 passing yards per game this year. Cutler missed Thursday night’s debacle due to injury.
That means we have now seen Gase’s passing offense be ineffective with Cutler, Tannehill and Matt Moore. None of those guys are elite quarterbacks, but they are not terrible either. The players are no doubt partly at fault, but at some point Gase needs to swallow his pride and change his system.
The good news
Despite the lack of a passing offense, Miami has managed to stay more than competitive under Gase. Last year, Jay Ajayi came out of nowhere to rush for over 1,200 yards and carry the Dolphins to the playoffs.
This year, Ajayi’s production has dipped a bit, but he is still the best thing the offense has going for it. The defense has stepped up and is ranked inside the top 10. Miami has scored more than 20 points in a game just once. Yet, the Dolphins still have a winning record and are very much alive in the playoff race. If this team can ever find a way to have just an average offense, they would become a force to be reckoned with.
Jay Cutler will be back next week when Miami takes on Oakland. Only time will tell if that is a good thing or a bad thing. The NFL is even more wide open than usual this year. Every team in the AFC has at least two losses.
Miami’s ability to be a factor as the season wears on hinges on the offense not being awful. That responsibility falls on Gase just as much as the players.
John Fox won four division titles in four years with the Broncos and was fired. Gase wishes his track record was half that good. If the offense does not improve, and the losses start piling up, it is naïve to think Gase’s time in Miami will last much longer.
Featured image from si.com
“From Our Haus to Yours”