The Miami Dolphins needed a fresh start and after firing Joe Philbin after week four last season, a fresh start was what they were headed for.
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The Dolphins opted to hire first time head coach Adam Gase over veteran head coaching candidates hoping that he would provide the Dolphins that spark they had been lacking. What kind of coach Gase was going to be wasn’t known. The Dolphins only had others opinions of him and his library of work as an assistant with other teams. They felt confident enough to make the hire official.
Last night during our On The FinSide broadcast, the crew talked with former Finsiders host Greg Likens and the topic of Gase compared to Philbin was brought up. You can listen to the show by going here and selecting the OnTheFinSide broadcast from April 27th.
Now that Likens is no longer a member of the Dolphins media staff, he could speak more definitively on what he experienced without the halo of the company line over his head. Likens spoke fondly of Philbin saying the same thing everyone else who has met him has said, “He is a great guy”.
Great guy’s don’t always finish first and in Philbin’s case that held true. But what kind of coach was he compared to the Dolphins new head coach? Likens has not seen Gase in action as a coach, the Finsiders closed shop before the team took to their first meetings and OTA practices. But the vibe was clearly different. “What is the difference between the two?”, I asked.
"“It’s really night and day”, said Likens. “he is a very nice guy but he didn’t have the personality in terms of being outgoing. Adam Gase is the exact opposite and the moment he was hired, in January, I saw a completely different mood in the building. Just because of the way he conducts himself. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say, I had more substantial conversations with Adam Gase in the three or four months we were both with the Dolphins than I did for a year and a half with Joe Philbin”."
Likens pointed out that he spoke with Philbin every Monday after a game win or lose for the one year and four games Philbin was the head coach. This is consistent with what has been observed at the OTA’s and at the mini-camp. Players and others within the organization have pointed out that he is very hands on and “in their faces”, in a good way, than previous coaches. They point out that he teaches and shows what needs to be done or adjusted rather than simply barking out the changes.
In addition to Gase, Vance Joseph the teams new defensive coordinator has been hands on as well with the defense and specifically the defensive backs with returning secondary coach Lou Anarumo.
"“I just believe that Gase is going to bring a lot of positivity to the team.” Likens said.”I don’t think it’s overrated, I think a team takes on the personality of a coach, I’ve seen it up close and Joe Philbin wasn’t connecting with the players. I don’t know if Gase is going to be a good head coach but he has one thing going for him and that is the ability to relate to everyone in the building. From the maintenance guy all the way to the top of the organization.”"
The point Likens made about the team reflecting the demeanor of the head coach is something that we have been saying on this site for quite a while. Players, especially veterans, don’t need the rah-rah stuff from their coaches but aggressiveness, philosophy, and how they approach the practices is a direct relation to the way the coaches do. It appears that Gase is taking a much more involved approach.
If there has been one consistent opinion on Gase from his former players is how much they liked playing for him. Gase has been hands on and has adjusted to fit the capabilities of the players he is coaching. Whether that translates to wins in Miami will not be known for at least a year but it’s a direction Miami hasn’t taken in a very long time.