Adam Gase can admit when he or his coaches are wrong.
He’s had press conferences, even after games, when he second-guesses his play-calling. He’s had team meetings in which he’s confessed mistakes to his players.
The Miami Dolphins head coach did some of that Wednesday when he was asked what the Dolphins came to understand after they experimented early last season with using defensive end Cameron Wake as a designated pass-rusher coming off the bench rather than a full-time starter at defensive end.
”Trying to throw the first five games in my face, there?” Gase asked with a coy grin. “I mean, you know, I made a mistake.
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”He should have been playing more early. We were trying to think longterm. We were trying to think, ‘Let’s get him the most important snaps.’ When we were getting down, we didn’t want to throw him out there because all they were doing was pounding the football. We wanted him in there when teams were passing. We just kept getting behind and that was putting us at a disadvantage. And that’s when we decided we have to get him out there more. So that’s kind of why we made that switch. We thought we were being smart and it really kind of backfired on us. We really should have went with ... what we should have done is let him play.”
The Dolphins eventually corrected the error. Wake started 10 games, all on the back end of the season. He had 11.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and an interception.
So it’s a good bet to believe Wake is done coming off the bench for now. The Dolphins expect him to be a starter again this season at age 35.
But that’s not what’s important here.
What’s important is that the head coach, in admitting he makes mistakes and by being transparent about those, has actually gained credibility with players. He has much more of it than other Dolphins coaches who in the past have refused to admit errors.
“Yeah, no question,” defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said. “Coach is very accountability-oriented, for his players and for himself and everyone in this particular organization. And that’s something that’s great because he doesn’t put himself on a pedestal to say, ‘Everything I say is particularly perfect.
“We’ve had some great conversations, especially this offseason, even when I wasn’t here, about things of that nature and how we can get better as a particular team. He’s a great head coach and I think he’s only going to continue to get better because he has that mentality.”
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero