Quick question, if you were given the opportunity to live in Philadelphia, Cleveland, North Jersey, Chicago or South Florida, which would you choose?
That’s probably simplifying the much-ballyhooed “Adam Gase chase” in this year’s NFL coaching carousel but it’s no surprise the 37-year-old offensive guru is going to be taking his talents to South Beach to try to turn around Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins.
Gase is just the latest first-time head coach to try to right the ship in Miami and inexperience hasn’t exactly worked for the Dolphins in the past. But Gase has developed the reputation as a sort of a quarterback-whisperer during his short coaching career which began in Baton Rouge as a graduate assistant for Nick Saban at LSU.
Through his almost meteoric NFL rise, Gase has gotten the best out of Tim Tebow and Jay Cutler and helped lead an aging Peyton Manning to heights never seen before in the NFL when the Denver Broncos shattered the 600-point barrier.
Gase was, by far ,the hottest candidate in this year’s search process, starting a whirlwind interview process in Philadelphia on Tuesday before meeting with the Browns on Wednesday, the ‘Phins on Thursday and the New York Giants on Friday before doubling back to Davie on Saturday in what was labeled as a second interview but was really more of a coronation and the dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s.
The Dolphins never wanted Gase to leave the building without an agreement on Thursday and felt they couldn’t let Gase meet with the Eagles again, who wanted to speak with the now ex-Bears offensive coordinator after finishing their first round of interviewing.
That indecision ultimately cost Philadelphia, which will now never get the opportunity.
In Miami, this is clearly an attempt to maximize the ceiling of Tannehill, who was signed to a big-money contract extension before the 2015 season. The young quarterback, however, take a major step backward, both on and off the field as he dealt with the dysfunction surrounding the organization.
Miami may have set a record for moving on from high-level executives in-season, first firing head coach Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle before allowing interim mentor Dan Campbell to replace offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Before the curtain closed on the disastrous campaign general manger Dennis Hickey was also on the unemployment line.
It’s clear Mike Tannenbaum, who will be entering his second year as the Dolphins’ football operations chief when the calendar turns to February, is now trying to develop some continuity in the organization. He first elevated long-time director of college scouting Chris Grier to the GM spot and sees the potential shelf life of an offensive wunderkind in his late 30s as significant.
Gase has proven his competency as an offensive mind but there is a sharp incline from coordinator to NFL head coach and it’s often the things you don’t think about that has far more importance in determining whether an individual is successful in what is an extremely stressful position.
Elements like logistics, managing personalities and handling the media are just some of the determinants in whether or not a first-time coach hits in the NFL.
Plenty of teams felt Gase had the mettle to do it but only Miami will reap the potential reward by taking the significant risk.
— John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jfmcmullen — Also catch John this season every day at 4:05 ET on ESPN South Jersey, on ESPN Southwest Florida every Monday at 3 PM ET; on ESPN Lexington every Thursday at 6:05 ET, and live every Tuesday from 2 to 6 PM ET at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City for the Sports Bash on ESPN South Jersey.
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