A few months ago I predicted the Dolphins would hire Gase and strongly endorsed the move. I stand by both the prediction and endorsement. Gase is the perfect hire for the ‘Phins. At the end of the day, this coaching hire was going to be one that decided between two players… Ndamukong Suh and Ryan Tannehill. This is a hire designed to make Tannehill the franchise centerpiece and masterpiece. Tannehill has been fairly solid over the course of four years for Miami, but his development potential has been stunted by incompetent coaching staffs and surrounding talent. The talent has finally reached a place that puts #17 in a position to succeed, and at long last, the coaching staff is there too. Gase’s shotgun, high speed system built on high football IQ and great skill position talent is a flawless fit for Tannehill. Gase has rejuvenated the careers of Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler, and can do the same with Tannehill. Expect a fairly talented offense to take off next season, and for Tannehill to have a career year. The hire of Gase allows Miami to finally determine if Tanny is the guy, and with Gase’s QB chops, odds are he’ll form Tannehill into the guy. The problem still remains, however… This coaching staff is going to be rock solid, but the reason Miami has failed catastrophically year after year for over a decade is not because of the coaches. It’s because of horrific personnel decisions and front office leadership. The key to Miami’s success is not the coach, it’s the GM. And unfortunately, Mike Tannenbaum has not proved himself even moderately competent for the job over the course of his career.
Many around the NFL were perplexed by the Giants’ promotion of Ben McAdoo to head coach after the offense had middling results during his tenure. Allow me to be the first to say, Ben McAdoo is a fantastic hire for the Giants. I don’t believe that New York should have fired Coughlin in the first place, but given that decision, this is the perfect hire for them. McAdoo has reinvented Eli Manning and the Giants offense despite horrific levels of talent on offense not named Odell Beckham Jr. McAdoo allows for continuity within the organization while instilling a young, bright mind at the head. Similarly to the Dolphins, the coaching won’t be the deciding factor in this organization over the next few years… It will be the personnel moves. Jerry Reese has allowed this roster to slide slowly yet surely into futility year after year, and he is the reason the Giants have not won the past few years, not Coughlin and not Manning. McAdoo is an outstanding hire, but he’s a bandaid hire on internal bleeding. Both New York and Miami bare great similarities in this theme, they’ve both made home run hires, but both hires won’t matter if their franchise tradition of bad roster building perpetuates.
Lastly, we come to Cleveland… Oh, Cleveland… The armpit of the NFL and the world. The place where talent and promise goes to die. The franchise that not even Lebron switching to football and playing every single position at once could save. The Browns have rightfully been the butt of jokes since the Butch Davis era concluded, but like the Dolphins and Giants, nailed this hire. Hue Jackson was one of my favorite head coaching candidates this cycle, and he might have been the best head man on the market this time around. He did wonders with a Cincinnati offense piloted by the rivetingly mediocre at best, Andy Dalton, and in doing so, propelled Dalton into the realm of elite signal callers. Jackson even boasts NFL head coaching experience as he elevated a previously horrific Oakland Raiders team to an 8-8 record in 2011 before being inexplicably fired. Jackson is experienced, talented, and respected across the league. This, like Miami and New York, is a home run hire. But once again, the same theme persists. Cleveland has had some decent coaches over the past years. Nobody will mistake the Rob Chudzinski and Mike Pettines of the world as stud coaches, but these are guys that aren’t all that bad. Chudzinski is a guy who has been regarded around the league as one of the best offensive minds in the business, and Pettine has been a defensive evil mastermind for years. The problems in Cleveland like Miami and New York, has been terrible leadership in the front office. When there have been over twenty starting quarterbacks for a team over the past twelve years, the people in charge have zero idea how to evaluate and acquire talent. The Browns will never succeed no matter how good the head coach may be without good management at the top. This is a trend not just of these three franchises but of football as a whole. Coaching hires are fantastic, but at the end of the day, talent talks. You can’t win football games without talented players. Simple as that. When it comes to sports and the NFL as a whole, if you get people in the front office who understand how to identify underrated talent and lock it down, you’ll win games. This is why guys like Ozzie Newsome, John Schneider, and Ted Thompson are so, so important. To these franchises and all franchises, focus on getting the right guy in the general manager job first, then the coach second.