Gase has a lot of success with “Dink-and-Dunk” offense

Jan 17, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) stiff arms Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Brandon Boykin (25) during the first quarter of the AFC Divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 17, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) stiff arms Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Brandon Boykin (25) during the first quarter of the AFC Divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

This past week there has been a lot of noise about the Dink-and-Dunk offense Miami has deployed in practice and it is surprising no one saw this coming. Adam Gase has had a lot of success with this style and has been doing it at every stop as an offensive coordinator.

My initial reaction to the Adam Gase hiring was disappointment. I was rooting for Miami to get Hue Jackson because while both coaches were touted as offensive masterminds, the offenses they use are very different. Hue Jackson’s offense utilizes unconventional formations with two or even three tight ends and also uses the shotgun a lot. Jackson asked Andy Dalton to throw the ball deep and use the tight ends a ton, especially in the red zone.

In comparison, Adam Gase likes to use the shotgun as well but has his offensive foundation built upon WR screens and slants which has effectively substituted for lacking running games in the past. Gase likes his QB to keep the ball close to the line of scrimmage while throwing. In short, it felt like Hue was playing chess while Gase was playing checkers.

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While looking at Gase’s track record he is less proven than Jackson and his offense is simpler and less dynamic. He is very young, has no previous Head Coaching experience and only three years in any league as an offensive coordinator. However, while his offenses have been very predictable and simple they have been just as successful.

I am very surprised the local media has covered the offenses dink-and-dunk with such surprise. After all, Gase used this same exact offense on two not so obscure Denver teams in 2013 and 2014. In Peyton’s first year in Gase’s offense he set NFL records with 55 touchdowns, only 10 interceptions, 5,477 yards passing and a passer rating of 115.1! That was all accomplished while primarily throwing bubble screens to Demaryius Thomas. That is the same team that made it to the Super Bowl and got embarrassed 43-8 by the Seattle Seahawks and seemingly couldn’t complete a single pass all game.

While Gase had huge statistical success in Denver, remember that him and John Fox were shown the door after 2014 for failing to win a Super Bowl. Without Gase, the offense was horrific for the Broncos last year but mainly because it was depending on Peyton Manning’s depleted arm and yet they still managed to win the Super Bowl without Gase. (We all know they didn’t do it because of their offense though)

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Adam Gase has made a career out of having his QB’s throw the ball short and especially throwing WR screens. I have basically discounted most of his time in Denver because he benefited from calling plays with Peyton Manning throwing the ball to Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. That type of talent is uncommon and it is possible he will never have luxuries like that again.

So last year is the year I reeeeally focused in on regarding Gase. While the statistical output was widely different because of the transition from Manning and Thomas to Cutler and Jeffery, the offense itself was exactly the same. I managed to catch three Bears games last year and I am just not in love with Gase’s offensive style. (Definitely more a personal preference than actual problem)

The reason all of Gase’s quarterbacks have less interceptions and higher completions isn’t because he teaches them how to throw the ball better or because he is a mythological “quarterback whisperer”. (Such a dumb saying) It’s because he tells them to make a one read quick screen, a yard behind the line of scrimmage or a quick slant 5-7 yards down the field and asks the wide receivers to make plays and break tackles. This theoretically sets up more manageable 2nd and 3rd downs. Gase’s offenses have shown that short 2nd and 3rd downs are when they likely to run the ball or go play action and mix it up on the defense.

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Essentially, Adam Gase likes to “screen ’em to sleep”. His offenses are predictable and borderline annoying 90% of the game and when the defense gets comfortable jumping short routes and attacking WR screen’s, that’s when Gase throws a change up and calls a double move outside, sneaks a WR downfield or a TE up the seem.

While I’m not a big fan of the offensive monotony it’s statistical success is not debatable. Even last year where Gase’s team was far less talented in Chicago than in Denver, Gase was saddled with Jay Cutler and an offense that was missing Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte and Eddie Royal for most of the year and he still managed to have the team finish 21st in total offense (344.6 ypg) and 23rd in scoring  (20.9 ppg). Comparatively Miami finished 26th in total offense (331.7 ypg) and 27th in scoring (19.4 ppg) and didn’t have nearly as many key injuries as Chicago on offense.

Albeit, a limited sample size, Gase has shown his offense can succeed even if the dink-and-dunk approach initially appears flat or uninspired. All that matters at the end of the day is not how it looks, but that it works.

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While many fans consider Miami lucky to have landed Gase’s services, it may have really been the other way around. If any team was built to have success in the short passing game utilizing WR screens it is the Dolphins. Devante Parker is really the picture perfect prospect for this offense. He has struggled with his release against press coverage and using Landry to block on a bubble screen behind the line would allow Parker to use his speed and elusiveness in the open field, the same way D.T. did in Denver.

Likewise, not only is Landry a tenacious blocker but he too has shown his playmaking ability in short spaces on countless occasions with his knack for breaking tackles and making guys miss. Gase may be looking at this offense thinking how he got lucky to be here instead of how the Dolphins are lucky to have him.

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While I was initially disappointed that Gase was hired instead of Jackson, his straight forward brutal honesty with the media and his energetic enthusiasm in practice is really beginning to win me over. While I may disagree with the “screen ’em to sleep” style offense Gase employs, he has accomplished a lot with that offense and hopefully will bring some of that success here to Miami.