With 6 games remaining in their season, no one predicted that the Miami Dolphins would be in the position that they are in. After starting the season with a dreadful 1-4 record, Miami has evolved, transforming itself by establishing an identity and utilizing their players correctly.
The result? A 6-game winning streak, their first win streak of this length since 2005.
If the season were to end today, the Dolphins would find themselves in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
All things considered, the Miami Dolphins are the best team in the NFL that nobody seems to be talking about. Furthermore, the job Adam Gase has been doing, which goes beyond their overall record, has flown somewhat under the radar.
Gase has changed the culture in Miami. To put things in perspective, consider that Miami has been one of the NFL’s most dysfunctional franchises, often times the butt of the joke, for the better part of the past decade.
The Dolphins have tried to find a magic elixir to cure their ails. They brought in football-czar Bill Parcells, they hired legendary college coach Nick Saban, they unsuccessfully chased Jim Harbaugh and Peyton Manning and all left the Dolphins in the same place; the gutter.
Miami has had a fractured front office and organizational structure for years as well. From Bullygate to the Jeff Ireland/Joe Philbin era the Dolphins haven’t just been bad on the field, they’ve been rotting from the inside.
Then they hired Adam Gase, the youngest head coach in the NFL, and finally Miami found a true catalyst for change.
Gase brought an impressive offensive acumen and a reputation for being a quarterback whisperer to a franchise in need of an identity.
It took several weeks but Gase’s approach is paying dividends. Gase has held players accountable, showing that performance is the only thing that matters. Gase demonstrated this with his benching of Byron Maxwell and Jay Ajayi and the cutting of terrible offensive lineman like Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner and Jamil Douglas.
Players responded. Ajayi established himself as one of the NFL’s premier running backs and the Miami Dolphins, who on paper look like a team constructed to be pass heavy, established an identity as a run team.
Through that process quarterback Ryan Tannehill has turned the corner. After an abysmal start to the 2016 season, one that led to fans chanting for his benching, Tannehill has found his rhythm in Gase’s offense, a comfort and is en route to one of his best seasons.
More importantly, Tannehill is legitimizing himself as a franchise quarterback and. lately, he’s been dealing.
Through a litany of injuries on the offensive line, Gase’s playcalls have masked the Dolphins warts, helping them overcome their deficiencies, as playoff caliber teams often do.
In the past when the Dolphins would get taken out of the game before the half, showing little fight, Gase has taught them how to fight, how to persevere. These are all traits that was absent from the team for many years, yet Gase has built this team up.
While it’s probably more likely that Dallas Cowboy’s coach Jason Garrett or New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, or maybe even Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, will be honored as Coach of the Yaer, perhaps the best job in totality is the one being performed by Adam Gase.
Gase has done things beyond wins and losses, he’s transformed a franchise and it’s culture.