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On Saturday, the Miami Dolphins named the 12th coach in franchise history when they named highly respected Chicago Bears OC Adam Gase as their new Head Coach.  The Dolphins held a 3:00 press conference yesterday to introduce Gase as Head Coach, and here is the press release below on the hiring of Adam Gase.

 

"The Miami Dolphins today announced Adam Gase has been named the 12th head coach in franchise history. Gase comes to Miami from the Chicago Bears, where he served as offensive coordinator the 2015 season. The Bears implemented more of a balanced offensive attack that improved the team’s rushing totals from No. 27 to No. 11 as the unit averaged 25.6 more rushing yards per game under Gase. Quarterback Jay Cutler’s yards per attempt increased by 0.8, the second largest one-year increase in Cutler’s career. He also threw seven fewer interceptions than the previous season. In addition, Gase brings a wealth of knowledge and success to Miami as the offensive coordinator for the greatest offense in NFL history. While Gase was the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014, the Broncos led the NFL in scoring offense (34.0 points per game), total offense (430.1 yards per game) and passing offense (315.8 yards per game). In 2013, the Broncos set 14 total NFL records for offense in scoring, including total points (606) and touchdowns (76). The explosive offense helped Denver finish the regular season 13-3, winning the AFC West and earning the top seed in the AFC playoffs, where the Broncos won the conference title and played in Super Bowl XLVIII. In addition to setting NFL team records, Gase also helped quarterback Peyton Manning have the most prolific season of any quarterback in NFL history. Manning’s 5,477 passing yards and 55 passing touchdowns were both NFL records that still stand today. Manning earned his fifth NFL MVP award and also was honored as the Maxwell Club Player of the Year and AP Offensive Player of the Year. During his two seasons as offensive coordinator, seven players from the Broncos offense were named to the Pro Bowl: RB C.J. Anderson (2014), T Ryan Clady (2014), Manning (2013-14), WR Emmanuel Sanders (2014), WR Demaryius Thomas (2013-14), TE Julius Thomas (2013-14) and G Louis Vasquez (2013). Gase spent six years on the Broncos staff, serving as wide receivers coach (2009-10), quarterbacks coach (2011-12) and offensive coordinator (2013-14). During those six years, the Broncos compiled a 58-38 (.604) regular-season record, won four AFC West titles, three playoff games and an AFC Championship, including a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. An Ypsilanti, Mich. native, Gase also spent time with the San Francisco 49ers (2008) and Detroit Lions (2003-07), where he began his NFL career in scouting. He also worked as a recruiting assistant (2001-02) and graduate assistant (2000) at LSU under Head Coach Nick Saban."

 

On a national level, this hire has been appluaded, as Gase is highly respected by both players and coaches in the NFL.  The fans of the Miami Dolphins, well now that is another story all together.  Dolphins fans seem to be split on the hiring of Gase, as I have seen some comments of Gase being Joe Philbin 2.0.  The hiring of Gase does continue a trend of the Dolphins hiring coordinators since Nick Saban, who coached the Dolphins from 2005-2006.  One thing that is different between the two men is that Gase was the offensive coordinator and play caller for Bears, even if it was for just his one year with the Bears.  I also believe that Gase can and will do a MUCH BETTER job of being able to communicate with players, relating to the players, something Philbin had a major issue with.

 

I do understand the concerns to some degree, as I believe some in the fan base wanted to go with a proven commodity like Mike Shanahan or Tom Coughlin, coaches with obvious head coaching experience, championship experience.  Both men have also had their struggles over the years as well and both are over 60 years old.  How much longer will these men want to coach?  In the end, the Dolphins went thru their process, interviewed several coaches along with way and went BOLD in the hiring of Gase, who is only 37 years old.  The Dolphins have had their eye on Gase for a period of time and was the coach they most wanted.  Stephen Ross FINALLY got his man.  A man that has been in demand for the last few years.

 

Gase could have been the new Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers last year, but the 49ers wanted Gase to include Jim Tomsula in his coaching staff.  Gase stood his ground and would not include Tomsula, and the 49ers moved on and eventually hired Tomsula to be their new coach.  And as we all know, the 49ers fired Tomsula after the 2015 season was over.  The Eagles wanted to get Gase in for a 2nd interview as well and other teams were still lining up to interview him.

 

Miami was attracted to Gase to a big degree because of the work that he has done with quarterbacks, in particular Jay Cutler.  Both Peyton Manning, who Gase worked with while at Denver and Cutler spoke in glowing terms about Gase.  Miami has a young QB in Ryan Tannehill, and the Dolphins have made a major financial investment in Tannehill, as the Dolphins believes he is the quarterback of the future.  Miami wants to give Tannehill every chance to develop into that quarterback that the Dolphins invision him becoming. 

 

I don't know if Adam Gase is the right man for the job.  In doing my research on Gase, I read and heard a lot of positive things about the young man.  THe fact that SO MANY players and coaches in the NFL speak so highly of the young man certainly got my attention.  But this does not mean anything in the landscape of becoming a successful head coach.  One of the questions NOW that Gase is the head coach now is will he be able to put together a compotent coaching staff, as having a great coaching staff is as much a key as having a great head coach.  Can Gase run a game, can he manage a game?  Can he be a LEADER of an organization?  These are questions that NEED to be and will be answered along with way.estion NOW that Gase is the head coach now is will he be able to put together a compotent coaching staff, as having a great coaching staff is as much a key as having a great head coach.  Can Gase run a game, can he manage a game?  Can he be a LEADER of an organization?  These are questions that NEED to be and will be answered along with way.

 

Once again, is Adam Gase the right man for the job, I don't know.  But I am willing to give the man the chance to put a staff together and see what he can do once we get the 2016 season started.  Miami went bold with the hire, and I am hoping it pays off for them.

Now that the 2015 is (thankfully) over, I wanted to share my offseason plan for this team from a talent acquisition standpoint. I can't speak on the coaching search because I haven't really studied the candidates, but my preference would be to hire a coach that will teach disciplined football, be able to motivate players, establish locker room leaders and specializes in a system that maximizes QB strengths. Most importantly, that coach needs to be able to haul in good coordinators that will have flexible systems that can adjust to player's strengths.

I'll leave that to Tannenbaum *gulp* and focus on talent acquisition.

 

Phase I - Clear Cap Space

The cap may remain flat or increase by $10 million. The expectation is that it will remain flat and increase to about $153 million, but could go up more. So we'll stay with $150 million for now.

The expectation is that the Dolphins will have $156.5 million in cap commitments in 2016. So let's start with the Dolphins being $6.5 million over the cap. Where can the Dolphins move to quickly get under the cap without losing top talent?

Quinton Coples - $7.75 million
Greg Jennings - $4 million
Earl Mitchell - $2.5 million
Brice McCain - $2.5 million
Jason Fox - $1.38 million
Jamar Taylor - $0.9 million
Billy Turner - $0.5 million
Dallas Thomas - $0.7 million

By removing these players that do not bring much to the table, the Dolphins save $20 million against the cap for a total of $13.5 million in cap space. This will allow us to have enough money to sign 1 or 2 of our impending free agents. Maybe Lamar Miller and Rishard Matthews or Derrick Shelby, but probably not one of those guys and Olivier Vernon. Or they can probably resign Olivier Vernon with that money and still have enough for the rookie pool. If you look at the list of Dolphins free agents, Miller, Shelby, Matthews and Vernon are probably the only guys worth keeping. Maybe Matt Moore as well, but I have another direction for that later in my write up. For a list of free agents, go here:

http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/free-agents/miami-dolphins/

So now the Dolphins are $13.5 million under the cap. There is a way for them to create even more cap space, but it could involve letting some of their better plays go.

Other players I would cut:

Dion Jordan - $3.2 million
Jordan Cameron - $7.5 million - would consider bringing him back at a much cheaper rate

Now you have a total cap space of $24.2 million. With that money, you can afford to bring back Miller and Vernon. While I like Matthews and Shelby, I wouldn't break the bank for either because we're deep at wide receiver and I plan on keeping Wake.

 

Phase II - Retain Top Talent

The next step would be restructures:

Brandon Albert - $10.15 million cap hit
Cameron Wake - $9.8 million cap hit
Brent Grimes - $9.5 million cap hit
Koa Misi - $4.9 million cap hit

We can outright cut these players for an additional $24 million in cap space and find ourselves with a total of $48 million. But then we have some more major holes to fill. So I will attempt to restructure all of these players. Here is the cap savings I would attempt to get from each via restructures.

Brandon Albert - $3 million
Cameron Wake - $3 million
Brent Grimes - $3 million
Koa Misi - $2 million

 

So I head into free agency with $35 million to spend. Here's what I do next.

I allocate about $7 million of that space to resign Miller and Vernon. I allocate another $3 million to try and keep Matthews and/or Shelby. I can afford to let either of these guys walk because I have talent at those positions, but they do provide good depth.

That leaves me with about $25 million to spend in true free agency.

 

Phase III - Acquire New Talent

My first priority is to shore up the offensive blocking, both in the run and pass game. Here is what I do. I sign Alex Boone to play right guard. I allocate about $4-5 million to do this. I slide Brandon Albert over to left guard and draft a left tackle in a deep tackle class. There are going to be as many as 6 tackles taken in the first round and we can certainly nab one of the top 3 at the 8th pick.

That leaves me with $20 million. I allocate another $3 million to bring back Cameron as the draft does not have good tight end talent and free agency has some young guys, but nothing special. Cameron is the best of the bunch, even with his limited productivity in 2016.

So I have now addressed all of my front line offensive needs. On to defense.

I'm set at defensive line, I'm OK with my outside linebackers, my strong safety and one corner. I still need the MLB (the QB of the defense), another corner and a free safety.

With $17 million left, here is what I do.

Inside linebacker - free agency has some players, but I think this is an instinctual position that doesn't require a big splash in free agency. I look to pick someone up in the 2nd/3rd round of the draft. There will be some players available.

Cornerback - also very deep in the draft. There is a lot of talent between rounds 2-4. The Dolphins could address tackle, linebacker and cornerback in the first three rounds.

Free safety - there are a couple of guys I would pursue in free agency. You have Eric Weddle, Eric Berry, Walter Thurmond and Tashaun Gipson just to mention a few guys. I would allocate about $7 million to address this position as the Dolphins gave up a lot of long plays and free safety play was atrocious.

That should leave at least $10 million to sign rookies.

In summary, I would patch up the existing holes while maintaining existing top talent. I wouldn't break the bank on the biggest name in free agency, but would spend decent amounts on young, top free agent talent.

What do you guys think?

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Preseason Game 1 - Dolphins at Giants

 

 

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