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Without Change Adam Gase Risks It All

Without Change Adam Gase Risks It All

Gase must make a change with this offense or the Fins will be 1-3

Gase must make a change with this offense or the Fins will be 1-3

If the lineup, play calls, and discipline don’t change starting this week, 2017 is doomed

Truck stop toilets smell like roses compared to the stink of the Dolphins Offense over these last two games.

Even just sub-par production might have had them going 2-1, if not 3-0. But the otherworldly garbage that has been dumped on the field for 10 of the last 12 Quarters has them circling the drain at 1-2.

The issues with this team have been legion… but the most crucial concern is the lack of production from the offense.

After the lucky break against the Chargers, the Dolphins have all but been shut out two games in a row. Last week, the bottom of the barrel defense of the Saints looked all world. Really, it’s been more about the Fins incompetence than other teams dominance.

Coach Adam Gase has already said he’s not considering a QB change. Okay, but without serious change, the season is in jeopardy.

Jay Cutler is getting paid $10 million this year, and the complaint is he has played like he’s more concerned about getting through this season without getting killed, than actually winning football games. Despite a fair amount of bad play on his part, I don’t think his issues are about not being a vegetable when he re-retiring next year.

The reality is, the main culprit for this season’s failing rests in the lad of this Offense’s architect: Adam Gase.

Minor change isn’t enough… the problems are beyond simple tweaking

First, it’s true Cutler has not played well or thrown the football well, but this was going on in his last year with the Bears as well.

Cutler is a middle of the road QB and he was retired because no other teams were interested in making him a starting QB. Unfortunately, Ryan Tannehill went down with a season ending injury, and Miami was forced to make a QB singing. Whether it was going to be a starter or back up, they were signing someone. This acquisition made sense because Gase coached Cutler in Chicago and the QB was familiar with the system. Although, the price and the Dolphins tight cap made this a big move.

Matt Moore has been with this team for much longer. He has the team’s respect and a much better personality for leadership. Also, Moore performed admirably last season when he came in off the bench. In fact, in the three regular season games he played in last year the offense average 27.3 points per game and he was able to actually open up the passing game because he can throw a pretty good mid-range ball. But let be real, he does have warts and wasn’t a clear cut answer.

Foundational changes are needed, and if made, wins will come

Gase made the call, so Cutler’s the man. The only one to blame if it goes wrong is Gase.

Same can be said for Julius Thomas. Phinsnews did an article on the six million dollar bust the other day. This was another of Gase’s calls on a player no one wanted. Gase knew better. This might be a biggest disaster in my opinion, because unlike Cutler, his play isn’t hugely affected by the failings of others. He just plain sucks on his own.

Then there’s the Offensive Line. Gase designed this team because he has final say on the roster. He chose to focus on the skills instead of the big uglies inside. I think a fair caveat is that the poor play of Laremy Tunsil is creating a large negative ripple, and the loss of Larsen hurts as well. Few would have guessed Tunsil would be struggling this bad. But then there’s Jermon Bushrod who was brought back at 3 million and is rated 70 out 70 Guards. This was another of Gase’s picks that he must own.

Yet, despite all this player driven adversity, the most crucial issue has been the play calls themselves and their predictability, and the scheme and game plan design. Gase has called a smash-mouth, conservative game plan with a small playbook in a 3 wide set, despite stacked boxes, his players not suiting this type of play, defensive fronts and alignments dictating adjustments, and opposing player mismatches. All of this has limited his offense’s strength while highlighting their weaknesses.

No one can save this season but Gase

Gase himself admitted he ‘might’ be a bit predictable. How many Wide Receiver Screens, inside draws, and stretch runs are too much? Given the results , you don’t need pay per head software to know the Dolphins are there and beyond.

If Miami comes out with the same lineup–specifically Thomas in as the starter, the same game plan, the same calls right into the teeth of opposing defenses, then the season is done… and Gase needs to find a capable Offensive Coordinator to save this regime. Phinsnews has been a huge supporter of Adam Gase. But truth is truth. Adam Gase as the OC IS Miami’s biggest problem… and as the HC, Gase must hold himself accountable.

But, if Gase can make the hard choices and the changes needed. Then expect another Dolphins winning run to start this week. The next 2 weeks may very well determine not only this season, but this regime as well. Go Fins!!!


 

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16 comments

  • Lemmus

    …note on Urbik …any team but the phins can pick him up any time they want …the fact is, no one has …hhhmmm

    …we can pick him up after the 4th week if he can pass a physical …but try not to forget that Urbik wasn’t a starter until Larsen went down …if he comes back, I’m not expecting much change …otoh, he can’t be as bad as the trio we have playing turnstile now

  • Samson

    I read that Muluga may start this week. Hull has been good vs the run so I’m not sure I like this. He doesn’t play in passing situations anyway… Titans will try to run it down our throats… I would start the kid again… Hope they aren’t making another mistake considering we are fourth vs the run right now

    • admin

      I think his shoulder is pretty messed up. That’ a bad injury for a MLB. In my opinion Rey needs to get in there and show if he can play or not. If not, they can cut him and get back most of his money I believe… going off the top of my head but only a quarter is guaranteed. I hope he pans out. Miami needs help inside and if he bombs that’s alot of misses if FA.

  • Fritz

    Your article makes a lot of valid points. I agree that the O-line is a mess and as you well know, it all starts with it. Cutler has his share of the blame, but to be fair, how can you judge him when he can hardly get time to set his feet?
    I completely agree with benching Julius Thomas and giving Fasano and Gray more snaps.
    As far as Gase, yes he is under the gun. I give him this week to improve his play calls before calling for his head. Maybe he rolls Cutler out more often and call more pass than run early in the game rather than insist on forcing the run….I don’t know. I’m just a fan. I’ll be at the Ten game and hope to see something good.

    • admin

      Hey fritz breaking down every play in coaches cam… I’ll do the first 3 Qtrs, 1st Qtr is about done and… well I’ll but it out and see what you guys think.

  • Samson

    I’m curious if anyone still believes in Gase. I know everyone hopes and some think maybe he can turn it around. But is anyone sure Gase is the long term answer? Put me in the I hope category

    • admin

      I don’t know Samson. I think he is as HC, but OC… not sure. This next two games will say a lot. OC Gase and talent evaluation Gase right now is my biggest question. I’m working on an article right now that will be pretty darn definitive that play calling and Cutler’s inability to get out of bad plays is the primary reason for this O’s failure. If Gase comes out this week with the same mess, then I’ll begin to question his HC ability as well. He is stubborn and hardheaded and this has been a strength, now the other side of the blade is cutting him. As HC you must see clearly… if he really believes it’s on the players and he is doing fine, then he is a fool and likely will be a year from being out the door.

  • Lemmus

    …actually, Tunsil had a pretty fair game vs NO, as did James …its the interior line that got shredded by NY and NO …and since Bowles exposed Pouncy and the Gs, expect them to be attacked by every defense now
    …if Ajayi can’t find even the smallest crease, if he’s getting hit behind the line, that’s not on Gase
    …if Cutler is pressured hard on more than half the plays, has to move in the pocket or out of it, and thus loses sight downfield, that’s not on Gase …and if Cutler doesn’t get even a couple secs to find, set, and throw, that’s not on Gase either

    …its on the interior OL

    …but they are on Gase …he went with Harris in the 1st round and gave Bushrod 3 mil guaranteed to resign …you know, the former OT that played G last year with the lowest PFF grade in the NFL …you know, the one graded 70 out of 70 so far this year …surprise, surprise

    …and the other 3rd string Gs he said could get the job done …Davis/Steen …graded 30th so far …but but but that’s better than 70th isn’t it…think about that for a minute …we went into this off season KNOWING we had the worst set of Gs in the NFL last year …and Gase’s answer was castoffs, 3rd stringers, a 5th rounder, and last year’s biggest loser …at a premium, yet

    …anyone surprised that we have the worst set of Gs in the NFL THIS year? …here’s your sign, eh

    …and then there is Pouncy, the former pro bowl C who has suffered hip surgery after hip surgery the past three years and as Bowles demonstrated in NY, can no longer win when challenged

    …the entire interior line is an ICU in waiting …and if its not fixed, they are going to get Ajayi and Cutler hurt as well

    …and I don’t see anything Gase can do to fix the interior line this year …no backups unless Larsen makes it back sooner than later …and he’s no prize either …no CAP room to dicker with …no one wants to trade a competent G unless they get a better player in return or a high draft pick …which is just another way of killing us slowly

    …and this is on Gase if we’re to credit the claim that he has final say on the roster …if not, then T-bum is the man in the bulls-eye …but we do have strong evidence from last year and this that Gase puts little value in the G position …remember the turnstile twins …all they needed was more work in the weight room …according to Gase …and this year? deja vu

    …no, I’m not giving up on Gase as a HC just yet …but I am pinning the tail square on his ass for the OL situation …he owns it and he better fix it sooner than later …else we’ll be picking a damn sight higher in ’18 than we did in ’17

    …c’mon Gase …it took you 4 games last year to pull your head out …lets do it in three this year, eh

    • Stephen Fabrizio

      Lemmus,

      Very well said. Could not agree more! It’s the OL plain and simple. Pouncey has seen his best days, but it would have cost the team too much to just let him go. So they coddled him with now, practicing every other day! Needed to take a OG in the draft at #22 like Lamp. Instead we took Harris who is trending up but not what we really needed. What hurts now is both Larson and Urbik out. Not sure if Urbik can come back or not? Maybe give Brendel a shot at OG? You are right, we can only hope Larson and maybe Urbik can come back. The die is cast for this year other than that. They just need to be coached up and work their tails off to get better and soon. When our line was healthy last year, we played great. I hope that Pouncey can get in game shape soon. He is the lynch pin of the OL. Love to hear your ideas.

      • admin

        I don’t disagree with you much Stephen… and I leave plenty of room to be wrong, but while the OL isn’t the bees knees, Gase if constantly putting them in a disadvantageous situations with poor numbers with a TE who can’t block on draw plays that no one is fooled by. See my response to Lenmmus for a fuller response. Actually, Harris is trending up. He was the 9th rated edge rusher and even did well in the run game. I think Urbik is worse than we thought. He would have been signed if he was healthy by now by someone. Brendel is too weak in my opinion. Larsen could be back in 3 weeks if he heals.

    • admin

      Damn you now you’re going to make me do afilm study to prove my point or find out I’m wrong. As I remeber Tunsil made more than a few poor snaps. Again, with the creases, if you have six blockers and one isn’t even a 1/4 player and you are running again 6, 7, 8 men in the box or on immediate run blitzes, asking them to win is not rational. I’ll do a study on Gase’s calls with it. Lemmus, I’ve watched the game several times. Basically teams are now saying load the box run blitz and see if Gase burns us… and he doesn’t. his first attack over 20 yards was in the 4th. A rational person would understand his OL and know that the task he is giving them in ludicrous. How many draws can you run against a stacked box in 3 wides with a TE who can’t block before you realize the primary issue isn’t about execution? Hell look at how the Raiders OL has been victimized and they are excellent. You must get every ounce of edge you can on every snap in this league. Gase not only doesn’t do this often, but he has throw away snaps. Wildcat? You run the Wildcat!!! I’m working on the study now. I look forward to see what I find and you take.

      • Lemmus

        …if there was ever a team we were built to beat, its the Titans …so I half way expect to win

        …but win or lose, Gase is not the major problem you posit …player execution is

        …if the execution of his calls was to plan and the call itself was the problem, ok …but we’ve not seen that as yet …execution first, last, and always mj …if the guys were doing what they practiced and the plays constantly didn’t result in positive yards, then yes, Gase …but that’s just not the case

        …take Thomas …please …you match him on a fade in the end zone against a much smaller defender …your QB places it high, but not over Thomas’ shoulder as it should have been …but still, this is exactly the kind of play we paid Thomas to win on …beat the smaller defender, go up and take it away …its what a decent TE matched against a smaller defender is paid to do …Thomas just flat didn’t …he got beaten badly, gave up the drive killing interception to end the first drive and, for all intents and purposes, the game

        …I simply don’t care that Cutler had a more open receiver …that’s a different argument …what I care about is that Thomas didn’t execute …period …the call was fine, the execution was not

        …you can 2nd guess Gase all day mj and it won’t change my mind …if the players had executed, we’d be 3-0 despite Gase’s game calls …but they didn’t and that’s all there is to it …we’ve played 3 teams so far that we were clearly better than …except we didn’t execute …but for pure luck, we’d be 0-3

        …there are individual player problems across the board …drive killing penalties galore …Ajayi went for a homer on a 3rd and 1 when all he had to do was get one measly yard to keep the drive alive …instead, he killed it …that’s on him, not Gase’s play call

        …the interior line is a sieve …Cutler was sacked/hurried/pressured on more than half the plays …didn’t matter what the call was, if the QB doesn’t get more than two seconds before the pass rushers are in his face, play over …especially with Cutler …Ajayi was hit behind the line on most of his runs …and still gained yards …but his first contact is supposed to be well past the line …if the OL is doing its job …but again, its not …and it simply doesn’t matter what the call was …they didn’t execute it …they were mostly garbage …no doubt you can fine a hand-full of clips where one or the other had a decent play …but cumulatively …they sucked …the interior …game over

        …yes Gase is the HC and the OL is his product …and a failed one …but that’s another story …its not his play calls that got us beat …it was players, individually and collectively failing to execute …and yes, again, that’s on Gase …but as HC …I’m not suggesting that his play calls have been outstanding, or even decent …they have not, period …but before you can call Gase out on what he called, you have to see the results if his players had actually executed …three games in, we’re still waiting to see that

        • admin

          I worked all day on showing every play from the first quarter and I think it’s clear execution isn’t the dominant issue. I’ll have by morning. The main issue is Gase either insists on running into stacked boxes or Culter can’t audible out. Time and again, the OL is asked to run against the odds. I’ll let the plays speak for themselves. Actually that 3 and 1 was Thomas getting beat on a block. I’m going to do three quarters of breaking down every play. As for the 1qtr the only blockers you could crucify is Thomas. But Qtrs 2 and 3 might look different.

          • Dunner

            For argument sake, even if it is (was) execution or lack thereof, it is the HC’s job to adjust accordingly. Play calling alone can exercise or hide your strength’s and weaknesses. There have been NONE of this the past 2 games, not even half time adjustments the past 2 games. For example, my high school football team has a very strong right O-Line and a struggling left side, do I continue to call inside, sweep, stretch plays to the left, absolutely not, I don’t abandon them, but I try to call accordingly. Now I’m not as smart as Gase (never will be), and it is 2 completely different levels, but the concepts should be similar under the circumstance. As the reference goes “square peg round hole”.
            Gase has been the biggest disappointment thus far, even with the so called deficiencies of the o-line. IMO. According to most, we had the same o-line struggles last year; however, the play calling was creative enough to overcome said deficiencies.

            In the end, just sick of seeing third and long because of 2 failed runs or 1 failed run on first down followed by a predicted WR screen for 3 yds.

            Side note: he (Gase) talks about player production, “perform or we’ll find another”. Well, Julious Thomas is not performing, did nothing on his back shoulder/fade route vs the Saints to compete for the ball or at least become a defender and keep the DB from picking the ball off. IMO-it is time to see Gray on the field in both, 11 or 12 personal. Thomas is a bust, and Gase needs to except the mistake of signing Thomas and just be done with it. He did so with Williams last year when he benched him and relegated him to 3rd string. Same needs to be done with Thomas already.

          • Dunner

            How is this for play calling:

            The Dolphins ran 25 first down plays last Sunday against the Saints;
            Run: 11 times for 24 yards (including a sack of Cutler). That included a 15-yard run by Jay Ajayi that accounted for most of the yardage. They also had 30 yards on four penalties on these plays. So the net yardage was minus-6 yards on 11 rushes on first downs.

            Pass: Cutler was 10 of 15 for 48 yards on first down with an interception and sack. That’s a measly 3.2 yards per attempt. That’s nothing.They also had a penalty on a pass play to bring the average per attempt down to three yards. (per: Hyde)

            Run averaged next to nothing due to predictability (I know, as well as player productivity, lack thereof).
            Pass averaged next to nothing, guessing because of the many, many WR screens we run (which have become predictable as well).

            Again say what you want. IMO it is the play calling as much if not more than the personnel. All the talk about Ajayi being more involved in the passing game, have we seen 5 wide, or Ajayi lined up vs a LBer on a first down or a second and short, etc????

          • admin

            Great stats Dunner. I should have called on you and saved myself a few hours. Also, I’m kinda wondering about Cutler’s ability to call audibles. Manning had the best results under Gase… now he is Manning I get that, but adjustments at the LOS were key. Is it that Cutler doesn’t have time because they are late getting the play out, or he isn’t given that responsibility, or he can’t cut the mustard? I don’t know? After the last article, I’m going to let that dog lay on focus on other topics. But please let us win… never hope so much that Lemmus is right. But I have zero faith in this team because the calls to me are such a huge variable that I can’t see clear paths this way or that.