Dolphins Adam Gase has his work cut out

Jan 9, 2016; Davie, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase addresses reporters during a press conference at Doctors Hospital Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2016; Davie, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase addresses reporters during a press conference at Doctors Hospital Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

On Saturday the Miami Dolphins announced Adam Gase as their new head coach. Stephen Ross got the hot name and his first choice. But Gase has a lot of work ahead of him.

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The first time head coach, on any level, comes with a lot of praise from his peers and those with a lot of football knowledge. He supposedly can fix quarterbacks. Ryan Tannehill is the least of his problems out of the gate. The question is can he fix the rest of the team?

There is no question that Gase is inheriting an offense that can produce if they can fix one unit. The offensive line. Miami has the wide-receivers and they have two solid running backs, if they opt to retain Lamar Miller, but the offensive line is a mess and that needs to change.

Miami needs to find suitable guards. At least one if Gase can turn Billy Turner into a consistent player. They need depth as well because injuries forced Brandon Albert and Ja’Wuan James to miss games in 2015 and Jason Fox is not remotely an answer. While Jamil Douglas could still develop and he played well against the Patriots in week 17 there are too many questions to be answered now.

Unfortunately for Gase, the offensive line may be the easiest fix of all.

Defensively the Dolphins have problems opposite Reshad Jones at safety, they have a problem at corner back and have to make a decision on Brent Grimes’ salary. They defensive line is good enough to build upon but they are going to need to replace Olivier Vernon. Then there are the linebackers. And that is not an easy fix.

The best linebackers in free agency are going to be expensive and Miami is already over the cap. The best linebackers in the draft either won’t be drafted by Miami in round one or will take time to develop if drafted in the mid-rounds. This is a problem area that also includes needed decisions on Koa Misi’s future, and free agent Kelvin Sheppard. Gase is not going to fix all of the problems in one season and he isn’t going to motivate them to play above their current level.

Then, finally, there is Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill has shown at times that he can be a franchise quarterback but as soon as you start to think he is turning a corner, he shows he isn’t ready. He has poor pocket awareness and even poorer footwork. Gase can fix this but there is one problem. Gase has to run the entire team not just quarterback. In Denver with Tim Tebow he had the time to work with the quarterback and Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler needed more or less guidance than coaching. Tannehill needs coaching.

Gase isn’t a bad hire by any means but he is going to find this job a lot more tedious than he realizes. He is going to find attending to both sides of the ball and special teams to be consuming. He will need to balance every aspect of the team and still get the most out of a quarterback who will be learning his third system in four years.

When I think of Gase, I see a .500 head coach. My guess, and it’s just a guess, is Gase will average 8 wins a season over the next three years. Whether that average comes with a below .500 record in 2016 and an above .500 record in 2017 I don’t know. What I don’t see is a coach who can do it all although the final opening opinion won’t be final until we see who he hires as coordinators to assist him. That will be his biggest challenge of the off-season. The right guys, with experience could help in many ways. The wrong ones will doom his time in Miami.

The fanbase is split on the Gase hire and they should be. Miami’s attempts to land a solid coach have failed since Nick Saban was hired and left. Cam Cameron, Tony Sparano, Joe Philbin, and now Gase. All first time head coaches and not a single one was able to fix the Dolphins. They weren’t able to fix the areas that were mentioned above. I’m having a hard time swallowing the pill that says Adam Gase can. His assistant coaching hires could sway this opinion.

We will find out soon enough.