The Miami Dolphins are coming off of a dreadful season. After going 6-10, the Dolphins chose new Fin Adam Gase to right the ship. Gase would seem like an awful choice, if one looks only at his most recent past. Gase spent last season as the offensive coordinator for the 21st ranked Chicago Bears offense. Cutler had one of his better seasons, but ranking 23rd in passing isn’t respectable.
Will the New Miami Dolphins Right the Ship?
Is new Fin Adam Gase the right man for the head coaching job?
Gase is most notable for helping Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to statistically the best season for a quarterback in NFL history. Now one might say that Manning didn’t need an offensive coordinator. But regardless, he was there for those glory years. Another reason to think Gase is a genius is his work with Tim Tebow.
While Tebow’s career may be seen as a flop, he excelled with Gase. Gase was Tebow’s quarterback coach in 2011/2012. Under Gase, Tebow took over for Kyle Orton, posting a 7-4 record winning a playoff game. That year, the Broncos beat a Pittsburgh Steelers team in the playoffs that lost the previous Super Bowl by a narrow 31-25 margin to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The Steelers were hungry winning 12 games that season. And Tebow snuck out a victory. Considering all of Tebow’s other seasons, Gase obviously knows how to work with his talent.
Dolphins mix the water
The Dolphins put as much love into free agency as they did the draft. Mario Williams joins Ndamukong Suh on the defensive line, seeking to improve the 25th ranked total defense. The unit now boasts the former number one and number two overall picks in Williams and Suh respectively. There are as many high expectations as there are fears for the two physical juggernauts. They are capable of disrupting offenses and locker rooms. Their play on the field can bring tackles for loss and loss of yards due to stupid penalties.
Also coming into the squad is former perennial pro bowler Arian Foster. New fin Foster is the biggest question mark for all running backs this year outside of the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott’s question marks come from incredibly high expectations while Foster’s are surrounded by durability concerns. Foster turns 30 this month and his glory days may be well behind him. His 260 carries for 1,246 yards and eight touchdowns are sandwiched between a 526 yard, one touchdown season playing eight games and most recently a one touchdown, 163 yard campaign playing only four games. When healthy, Foster was a beast. But does he have anything left in the tank?
New Fins on the block
The Dolphins had a reputable draft bringing the powerful yet controversial Laremy Tunsil on board. The last image everyone remembers of Tunsil was his marijuana gas mask trick. Hopefully he’s all smoked out and can provide some much needed protection for Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill shows signs of being a top tier quarterback, but the Dolphins have to do better than 27th in total points with a mere 310. For a comparison, the Carolina Panthers lead the league in scoring with a staggering 500 points. Scoring 500 points is ridiculous, but they will need to score at least another 70 points to win more games.
New Fin second round draft choice Xavien Howard from Baylor was a great selection. Howard has physical attributes comparable to Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks. Unlike Sherman, Howard has some mental lapses that cause penalties and big plays for opposing receivers. Third round draft pick Kenyan Drake may be the steal of the draft. Drake is another one of the great Alabama running backs. Drake is amazing in the passing game displaying soft hands. With his speed, quickness, strength and moves, he will challenge Foster and Jay Ajayi for the lion’s share of minutes. Drake’s explosiveness gives the Dolphins a major weapon to pair with wide receiver Jarvis Landry and Rutgers alum Leonte Carroo.
Carroo joins Drake as being third round picks with high ceilings. Carroo has a knack for getting open and catches the ball at its highest point. Once he catches the ball, the field becomes his canvas as he etches master pieces. Whether it be outrunning a corner back and cruising into the end zone by himself or catching a short pass crisscrossing all across the field, Carroo is a highlight waiting to happen.
The Dolphins need the new Fins to make a big splash. The Dolphins haven’t made a playoff appearance since they were throttled by the Baltimore Ravens in 2008. It isn’t conceivable that the Dolphins have made enough moves to challenge in the AFC East, but they are building a strong nucleus. They have assembled all of the flash that they need. This season is all about seeing what trench players stay and which ones leave. The Dolphins had several holes in their team coming into the off-season. They will need to drastically improve their big man play in order to move up in statistics and rank. Gase has a big job putting all of the new pieces together to form a cohesive bunch.