Dolphins coach Adam Gase remained irked about his offense on Monday, making clear that players need to do their jobs better and that nothing will change “if we keep throwing [garbage] out there.”
But Gase indicated quarterback Jay Cutler’s job is not at risk and that Cutler is not primarily to blame for an offense that has produced only 25 points in three games, including a total of six points in the past two.
According to sources, Gase has given no consideration to a quarterback change, partly because Cutler is a victim of mistakes being made around him, including poor blocking, missed assignments and flawed route running.
And even if Gase thought Cutler was the big problem – which Gase doesn’t – the coach would not be inclined to pull the plug on his starting quarterback this early in the season, according a source. The Dolphins host Tennessee on Sunday.
Asked the basis for his faith in Cutler, Gase said: “I know where the ball is supposed to go. I know who is supposed to do what on every play. If we protect him and give him a second to throw the ball, we’ll be all right. If he is going to get hit from start to finish, I don’t care who you put back there. We need to do a better job of protecting him and being where we’re supposed to be.”
Gase conceded “there are some things footwork wise [Cutler] is going to be better at. He knows where to go with the ball. We’re going to keep working on protecting the football when things break down in the pocket [after Cutler fumbled once Sunday]. We can’t just let him take hit after hit after hit after hit and expect him to stand in there. It’s not going to happen.”
Does criticism of Cutler bother Gase? “It drives me nuts,” Gase said. “When I got here, I heard Ryan Tannehill couldn’t play. That was wrong. The evaluation skills of quarterbacks is really bad. I’m not going to listen to anybody outside myself.”
Gase also didn’t blame Cutler for his interception in the end zone to Julius Thomas.
“There are a couple specific coaching points will be made clear when we meet with the guys that I would rather see done differently,” Gase said. “Jay is trying a fade throw, so we need guys to do things right. The protection, the route, the way they played it, where we’re at on the field wasn’t really an ideal call that I wanted. I had about one second to make that call considering he had to come to me, run 40 yards [because of malfunctioning headsets]. First one I could think of. We need guys to execute that play better.”
Though Gase does not blame Cutler, his team hasn’t topped 20 points in any of his last eight starts dating to the start of last season – five with the Bears and three with the Dolphins. And his passer rating has been below 82 in six of those eight games.
Gase said all the Dolphins’ offensive players need “to look themselves in the mirror and realize do your job and things will go right….Offensively, we have to do what we’re coached to do. We have to be more detailed in what we’re doing. That’s where we’re putting ourselves in bad situations because we’re not getting it done. We’re not doing things right.”
What specifically is not being done right?
“It’s everybody,” Gase said. “Guys have to do what their job is and a lot of things will clean up. If we do our job, if we do what we’re supposed to do, we will be fine. If we keep throwing [garbage] out out there and not do what we’re supposed to do, then it will be what’s it’s been the past two weeks. We can clean this up very simply by doing what we’re supposed to do. If you’re panicking you’re in the wrong profession.”
Asked if he’s surprised that the team’s blocking hasn’t been better, Gase said: “Some of it is the defense does a good job and wins some one-on-one matchups. Some of it is we don’t get the ball out soon enough. Some of it is we didn’t run the right route. It’s something different every time. When we have all these leaks in the dam and trying to plug all these holes, that’s where you’re going to get in trouble.”
Gase didn’t make any significant lineup changes on Sunday but didn’t rule them out: “I will put the guys in there that I think will do the job I need them to do. I don’t have to specifically have to name names. We’ll go through the week. If I feel like I’ve got to put somebody else in or play somebody else more, then we’ll do it.”
• Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota’s status for Sunday is in question because of a hamstring strain. Matt Cassel is his backup.