Unlike his predecessor, rookie Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase put together a strong coaching staff under him.
The proof of that came when the Denver Broncos hired defensive coordinator Vance Joseph as their head coach after he served only one season in Miami and further proof came when Gase immediately pivoted to linebacker coach Matt Burke as his new defensive coordinator, replacing Joseph, in a move he’d anticipated a year earlier.
But the Dolphins’ coaching staff had an obvious flaw.
Adam Gase, 38 in his first year as a head coach, didn’t have a veteran adviser who had been a head coach before. He didn’t have, to use Godfather terms, a consigliere, to advise and counsel him on how to maneuver tough situations and decisions.
Indeed, no Dolphins coach had NFL head coaching experience last season.
So Gase was on the high wire without a net.
And he did just fine. The Dolphins made the playoffs. They overcame a 1-4 start and were playing their best football the latter part of the season. Players bought in to Gase’s approach and message.
But there was still that missing piece that might have made things easier for Gase.
Perhaps the coach has that now.
The Dolphins have hired former New Orleans assistant head coach and linebacker coach Joe Vitt as a consultant, The Miami Herald has confirmed. Sporting News was the first report the news.
I’m told Vitt’s assignment will be managing special projects, whatever that means. Obviously he will not be coaching the linebackers as that’s Frank Bush’s job.
But he will be in the building and serving in any way he can.
One way could be to help advise Gase in the tough moments. Vitt has been doing that for years. Vitt, you see, is Gase’s father-in-law. And the coach has spoken many times about nuggets or direction Vitt has given him in his development as a coach.
Now, all Gase has to do to get such nuggets is turn to a guy who’s in the building and working for him. How often that happens has yet to be determined.
Vitt, 62, can draw on his 37 years as an NFL coach. During that time he worked for the Colts, Seahawks, Rams, Eagles, Packers, Chiefs and Saints. He was the Saints interim head coach in 2011-12 when Sean Payton was first recovering from a broken leg and then suspended by the NFL in the Bountygate scandal.
Vitt has a 9-12 record as an interim head coach. But the record is not the thing.
The experience is the thing.
The Dolphins, you see, are a young team. And they have a young coaching staff.
There’s something to be said for a veteran voice drawing on his years, adding his opinion to the club’s direction. Obviously, this is Gase’s team and he’ll take that advice or not. Heck, he might not even ask for Vitt’s thoughts on many occasions.
(Um, yeah, Gase better make good use of Vitt if he wants to keep his wife Jennifer happy).
The point is the chance to do this is there. The resource is there if Gase elects to use it.