Goose is gone.
Adam Gase, frustrated head coach, has replaced him.
When Gase was the offensive coordinator of the high-flying Broncos, most everything was fun. He would try to score 50 every game — and often did.
The Broncos set all kinds of records and won the AFC in 2013, and “Goose” — Gase’s nickname at the time — was flying high.
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Not anymore. His Dolphins have lost five in a row and enter the last month of the season with nothing to play for but pride.
“Our mentality was score as many points as we can,” said Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, who considers Gase family. “He didn’t care who you were, he wanted to score as many points as you could. He was a competitor. The one thing I always mess with him about, because I know him like a book, is when some [expletive] isn’t going his way, he’s gonna be mad like everybody else, but he’ll be mad in a different way. I felt like I was the only one that could put a smile on his face when he was in those moods.”
Gase should smile then Sunday, at least for a minute. He will be reunited — albeit on opposite sidelines — with the franchise and many of the players that made his career.
The Dolphins and Broncos play a largely irrelevant football game here Sunday. Neither will be in the playoffs. The teams are both on their third quarterback of the season and have lost a combined 12 games.
And Gase, as those who know him best will tell you, is not handling it great.
“They was 4-2, playing good ball and came off last year 10 wins his first year there — he’s so disappointed now, because coming off the year he had as a first-year coach, thinking they were going to build and get better, and they took the way that they took, it’s a frustration level for everybody,” Thomas said. “And as a head coach, if you ain’t successful in this league, [expletive,] you might never know what’s going to happen. I’m sure there’s a frustration level there, but he’s just trying to finish out strong.”
Here’s the thing people forget about Gase: He has not always won.
Yes, the Broncos made the playoffs in four of his six seasons in Denver and reached the Super Bowl in 2013.
But his first six seasons in the NFL were spent with Lions and 49ers, and teams he coached were a combined 30 games under .500 during that time.
“That wasn’t really that fun,” Gase said of his five years in Detroit. “You’re always going to look at yourself first and try to figure out all of the things you can do to help. Once you go through those stages and you try to really filter it out between the coaching staff and players, really that’s what the season’s all about is finding ways to get better, trying to use your strengths to your advantage and trying to avoid putting your players in poor positions with things that they’re not great at. That’s really the whole battle of the NFL.”
He did that in Denver, but having good players certainly helped. He essentially grew up with Thomas, Von Miller, C.J. Anderson and other Broncos stars.
“Goose, that’s my dude,” Anderson said. “We text a little bit throughout the season. He’s highly upset with some things. Both teams are struggling. What better way to turn it around then to beat ‘Goose’ through bragging rights.”