Dan Campbell has done an admirable job in a tough situation, but at the end of the day, he’s not ready for a job of this caliber. At the end of the season, the Phins should thank him profusely for his Cincinnatus like rise, and promptly offer him a hefty raise and associate head coach title. The search for Campbell’s replacement needn’t even be a search at all. The answer is obvious, and his name is Adam Gase.
The Quarterback Whisperer
Gase is one of the greatest quarterback gurus in the game. He has a penchant for reviving the careers of struggling veterans in riveting fashion. When Peyton Manning switched allegiances to the Denver Broncos from the Colts he was facing a severe decline in arm strength and further declining athleticism across the board. Gase was in all fairness given an offense that had plenty of talent, but he made that talent mesh together into some of the greatest offenses of all time. Manning rewrote record books while Demaryius Thomas, Erick Decker, and Julius Thomas emerged as fully fledged studs. Gase was then ushered out of the organization after the firing of head coach John Fox. Gase moved with Fox to a new challenge in Chicago.
The Chicago offense talent-wise was and still is… A mess. They are thin on the outside, have a mediocre at best offensive line, a quarterback in love with throwing touchdown passes to the other team, and an aging running back struggling desperately to carry the load. But in slid Gase calm and collected, and he has systematically turned this side of the ball around. Jay Cutler (JAY CUTLER!?) has thrown for over 2,300 yards in nine games with 13 touchdowns and 6 picks on 64.3% completion percentage. This has all translated to a 92.3 quarterback rating. And Gase engineered this despite losing Alshon Jeffrey for the first six games of the year and without Kevin White. Meanwhile, Gase has navigated through a rash of injuries including utter decimation on the offensive line (that allowed for Kyle Long to emerge even more as a superstar) and losing best player Matt Forte (and discovering the electric Jeremy Langford behind him). To put it lightly, Gase has overachieved massively with a terrible roster, and he also has rejuvanated a fairly terrible quarterback into competence.
Gase is a quarterback whisperer, and the kind who could fix Ryan Tannehill.
Saving Private Ryan (Tannehill)
Tannehill is a solid quarterback. Let me repeat, Tannehill is a solid quarterback. At the moment however, he is playing like a good backup, not a starter and franchise centerpiece. Ryan is at his best when he’s put in a spread system that utilizes his athleticism through designed runs and improvisation and moves the ball methodically down the field through short to intermediate timing passes predicated on accuracy. Gase’s spread, speed oriented system that utilizes these concepts (especially the latter in the case of Peyton Manning) could not only reverse Tanny’s recent poor play but generate potential Pro-Bowl level performance. Tannehill’s development so far has been botched due to one horrific offensive coordinator whose name I won’t say (though it starts with a “M” and ends with a “Ike Sherman”) and a mediocre one (whose name rhymes with “lazer”). The Dolphins are currently at risk at blowing their first chance in years at creating a franchise quarterback: they must hire a head coach who can reinvent Tannehill and rewrite the narrative of his career. Gase can do that.
At the end of the day, the Dolphins coaching search will come down to deciding between two players… N’Damukong Suh and Ryan Tannehill. Miami will be forced to decide which player they want to ensure they use to the fullest by hiring an offensive or defensive minded head ball coach who can fix their faults. Miami must choose to make a concerted effort to salvage Tannehill. With a competent defensive coordinator, Suh will return to his All-Pro level. Tanny needs special development by a stellar offensive mind. Gase would rejuvenate Tannehill while maximizing Miami’s young talent in Lamar Miller, Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, and company. Gase also is a young guy at only 37 who could potentially be in the 305 for the long run. He’d bring an exciting offense that would energize the fanbase and build a legitimate franchise quarterback. Pair him with a good defensive coordinator and Miami will contend for Super Bowls. At the end of the day, Miami desperately needs a great offensive mind and a quarterback guru going forward. Gase fits the bill given the current roster and layout of the team the best of any in that category, but as long as Miami hires a someone in this mindset (a Josh McDaniels hire could work just as well), they should see a massive improvement.