Adam Gase appeared on WQAM-560’s Joe Rose Show Thursday morning and covered a lot of important ground.
So let’s get to it:
▪ The Dolphins lost a lot of star power this offseason (Ndamukong Suh, Jarvis Landry and Mike Pouncey, to name a few) but believe they got better. Here’s why.
1. The way the Dolphins finished the season (three consecutive losses when three consecutive wins would have put them in the playoffs) told Gase a lot about the players he wanted on his team in 2018.
“When we look back at it, just the fact that we were right there in the mix at the end,” Gase said. “We end up winning against New England and we have a great shot to go into Buffalo and really make a move and take a rough season and turn that thing around real fast. We didn’t get it done. It was not the team we wanted to be.
“When you hear the word ‘front-runner’ used by people to describe us, that’s something that’s not going to be accepted here,” Gase continued. “We’re going to make changes and we’re going to make sure we get the right people that are going to do things the way we want them. The end of the year told myself a lot, as far as who was in and who was out.”
2. Cutting Suh’s was the biggest (and most controversial) move of the past few weeks, but beyond chemistry and culture concerns, it appears he did not fit into the sort of defense the Dolphins want to run with Kris Kocurek running the D-line. Suh would have counted more than $50 million against the cap the next two years — too much to have him on the bench. His snap count in 2017 reflected that. He was on field for 84 percent of the Dolphins’ defensive plays. The Dolphins want to go rotational in 2018.
“We talked about this, how we want to play this thing. The way that Kris Kocurek is going to coach these guys, and the expectation level of how they’re going play. He wants these guys to pursue the ball. An eight-man rotation is kind of what Philly did this year, to where, not just defensive ends but I’m talking about defensive tackles too. These guys are going to be pursuing the ball down the field. They’re not going to be able to play 80 snaps a game, because that’s how much effort they’re going to be giving. If that means we need eight guys up every game and we’re going to give the kind of effort that I’ve seen Chris Kocurek’s guys have given over the years as defensive line coach, I’m all for it. I want to see the passion and the effort that I’ve seen out of his guys in the past. I want to see our guys doing that.”
▪ Two ACL injuries in eight months ruined Ryan Tannehill’s 2017 season, and by extension, the Dolphins’ 2017 season.
But Gase said Tannehill, since his surgery about seven months ago, “has given you everything he has. He’s gone above and beyond in his rehab. He is really pushing hard to make sure that he’s better than he’s ever been, especially healthy-wise.”
Gase expects Tannehill to work with the team this spring, but will “be smart with what we do in practice. See how everything goes. But if I try to restrict him in any way, that’s not going to go over real well with him. He’s such a competitor. He knows his body. He knows how he’s feeling.”
▪ A series of injuries have stunted DeVante Parker’s growth as a pro, but the Dolphins still have hopes that their former first-round pick can be an elite player.
“He wants to be one of those guys that people are talking about at the top,” Gase said. “He wants that. He’s done so much to try to put himself in a position to where he can stay healthy. When he gets on the field, he knows exactly what the quarterback is looking for and when he gets the opportunity to make plays, he makes plays. It hasn’t gone perfect for him, where he’s had injuries.”
Parker dealt with a high ankle sprain for most of last season, but still caught a career-high 57 balls for 670 yards and a touchdown.
▪ Landry was ejected on his final snap as a Dolphin. He got kicked out of the Bills game for starting an ugly fight, and that behavior seems to have contributed to the Dolphins’ decision to trade him to Cleveland.
“After that last game, that was hard,” Gase said. “With him and Drake getting ejected, it was such a rough way for that last game to end and our season to end that way. He had a great season. I wish we would have won more games. It was good to get him touchdowns to make sure that wasn’t a topic of conversation. I know that something going into the season we wanted to make sure we did good in the red zone and make sure we gave him opportunities to get into the end zone. That worked out. Overall as a team, it just didn’t work out the way we wanted to. That what happens when a guy has a lot of production. He gets into that last year of his contract. It’s tough to go through those business decisions and those contract negotiations. Those things can get pretty intense sometimes.”