New Dolphins coach Adam Gase said he doesn’t know what offense he will run. He said he isn’t sure what defense he will run.
But he knows he will have the final word on the 53-man roster, and he says he will call the offensive plays.
“In terms or player procurement, it’s still going to be led by [general manager] Chris Grier, in terms of trying to get players to add to our roster,” Dolphins executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum said. “But as it relates to the final 53, ultimately, while we will work collaboratively, those decisions will rest with Adam.
“This way our players know they’re ultimately held accountable to him. That’s who they’ll be answering to. Philosophically, we’ll control the In door and Adam will control the Out door.”
Now as to whether current Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be the guy running those plays beyond the 2016 season …
“This is where we’re at with Ryan — I’ve seen him play minimal games,” Gase said. “I’ve seen him play live once, in a preseason game at Denver. I know he had a pretty good game against us that game.
“We’re going to go back and evaluate everything from the quarterback on down as far as offensive personnel. Really, at this point, I’m not ready to make any kind of predictions. We’re just going to have to see what his strengths are and really emphasize those.”
Gase worked with Peyton Manning in Denver. He worked with Jay Cutler in Chicago. So he has worked with a future Hall of Fame quarterback who has been called “an offensive coordinator on the field” to the point of cliché and a first-round pick whose raw talent rarely has been questioned. They are two players who have played quarterback their whole lives.
Now, Gase gets Tannehill, a good athlete who was a wide receiver midway through his college career at Texas A&M and has yet to prove himself better than a middling NFL quarterback in four seasons.
“I think he needs a guy that’s going to have his back, that he feels comfortable with right out of the gate,” Gase said. “I’m going to be working directly with him. I am going to hire guys on the offensive side who’ll help him develop.”
Gase said he “talked for a little bit” with Tannehill and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, two players making up almost a third of the Dolphins salary cap, when in the Dolphins Davie facility for an interview. Both Suh’s talent and the permanence granted him by his salary seem to dictate a 4-3 defense for the Dolphins.
The name “Don Shula” got invoked several times Saturday when the subject was Gase’s youth. While the 37-year-old is the youngest Dolphins coach hired on a permanent basis, undercutting Shula’s 40 years of age, he showed a similarity to the Hall of Fame coach when talking about his offensive and defensive schemes.
“We’re going to build our schemes around our players,” Gase said. “So, at starting point, you look at what my background is on offense, we run multiple things. We’re a very fluid offense. We’re going to base things around what we have on the roster. So, we’re at the very beginning stages with that.
“On defense, we’ll wait to decide what we’re going to do as far as a staff. We’ll talk about scheme once we get that out of the way.”
A question about his staff gave Gase a chance to show off a little deadpan humor — “Well I’ve been here for about two hours so I would say we haven’t made much progress” — but Gase made reference to teams still playing in the playoffs.
Word is Cincinnati defensive backs coach Vance Joseph is a candidate for defensive coordinator. Should Joseph come, Cincinnati linebackers coach Matt Burke wouldn’t be far behind.
The offense will be Gase’s, from design to play-calling.
“I feel like I’ve been doing it the last three years, I really enjoy it,” he said. “I enjoy the aspect of putting the game plan together with the offensive staff. Going into this season, that’s how we’ll start.
“As soon as we can shape things up as far as putting a staff together, if I find the proper offensive coordinator that eventually I’ll feel like turning the play calling over, that’s the direction we’ll head. But as far as right now, I’ll be the play-caller.”
Gase got the Dolphins job over interim coach Dan Campbell, a former NFL player. Though many successful NFL coaches didn’t play major college football or in the NFL — most notably New England’s Bill Belichick — a notion remains that former players command respect from their team far more readily than those seen as never having strapped on pads.
“I learned a long time ago it’s about what you can teach players, the knowledge you have [and] the work ethic you have,” Gase said. “[Former Detroit quarterback] Jon Kitna told me in 2007, ‘Players don’t care what you’ve done in the past. They want to know how you can help them on the field, how can you make them a better player and how can you get them paid.’ If you can do those types of things, guys will respect that.”