Here is where Adam Gase ranks among Miami Dolphins head coaches

The Miami Dolphins do not have a head coach after firing Adam Gase and now wait until after the Super Bowl to hire Brian Flores.

Flores will become the 13th head coach to walk the sidelines for the Miami Dolphins since they entered the league in 1966. This includes three interim head coaches. Flores will be the “Dan Marino” head coach. Number 13.

Over the years our memories of how certain coaches did their job tends to age differently. Was Jimmy Johnson or Dave Wannstedt as bad as we believed back in the early 2000’s? Comparatively speaking, no they weren’t.

So where does Adam Gase rank among the all-time Miami Dolphins head coaches? Not very high if we are being honest.

If we look strictly at record Gase falls in the middle which is a good spot for him given the fact that was all he could accomplish in Miami was average. It is however a good place to start.

  • Don Shula – 257
  • Dave Wannstedt – 42
  • Jimmy Johnson – 36
  • Tony Sparano – 29
  • Joe Philbin – 24
  • Adam Gase – 23
  • Nick Saban – 15
  • George Wilson – 15
  • Dan Campbell – 5
  • Jim Bates – 3
  • Todd Bowles – 2
  • Cam Cameron – 1

With 100% certainty we can say that Don Shula is the best coach in Miami Dolphins history and we can also say with certainty that Cam Cameron was the absolute worst. It’s where everyone falls in between that we find a place for Adam Gase.

The first change I would make in this ranking is at number two. While Dave Wannstedt had more wins there was a definite finger print of Jimmy Johnson on the Wannstedt teams. Johnson built the Dolphins and the biggest mistake Wayne Huizenga ever made as the owner of the Dolphins was allowing Johnson to name his successor. Those are not my words but someone who was around when the transition took place.

Johnson made his share of mistakes but he simply expected a return to the sidelines and back to Miami would be very easy and it wasn’t.

Statistically Wannstedt should slide to number three. My opinions on Wannstedt have always been pretty bad in terms of being over his head with coaching. Wannstedt wasn’t a bad coach because he couldn’t coach, he was a bad general manager that couldn’t provide the talent to add-on to what Johnson already built.

Over the years as I have looked back over those teams coaching wasn’t the problem. Wannstedt did a good job getting his team ready he simply couldn’t get the right players and the salary cap ultimately killed him leaving him with a thin line that Wannstedt the GM couldn’t provide for Wannstedt the HC.

It starts to get a little harder after Wannstedt because at this point it becomes far more subjective. Like my number four Nick Saban. Saban only posted 15 wins in his entire NFL career and 17 losses. Does that make him a bad coach? Not even close.

Saban inherited a disaster from Wannstedt. Personnel was not very good and the salary cap was worse. He tried to gut the team but it left nothing to really work with. His biggest mistake was trusting the Miami doctors instead of his own beliefs and traded for Daunte Culpepper instead of free agent Drew Brees.

It is unlikely that Saban would have stayed in Miami even if he had signed Brees. Quarterback wasn’t his problem. Recruiting was. It was a lot different at the NFL level and he couldn’t simply show last years championship ring to entice high-school students to commit. Saban needed more than the NFL could offer but he wasn’t a bad coach. In fact, given what he had to work with, those 15 wins including six straight in 2005 were promising as the team began to rebuild. Much like they are in 2018.

Fifth spot for me goes to Tony Sparano. I loved Sparano. He was a fireball that was given a bad hand. A bad hand in Bill Parcells who took Wayne Huizenga’s and Stephen Ross’ money and walked away. Before he left he managed to deplete the Dolphins of any real talent. Failed to find a quarterback drafting Pat White and Chad Henne. Then he left the team in the hands of his personal pick for GM, Jeff Ireland.

Between Ireland and Parcells the Dolphins couldn’t add much talent and Sparano did in fact do well with what he was given. In his four full seasons Sparano finished 11-5 with Chad Pennington and the Wild-Cat offense then dropped to 7-9, 7-9, and 4-9 as the Dolphins failed to find suitable solutions at QB while overspending on lackluster defenders and high-priced receivers.

Sparano was simply the right coach at the wrong time with the wrong people calling the shots.

Sixth belongs to Todd Bowles and seven belongs to Dan Campbell. The fact they were able to win at all after they replaced their respective HC’s was a miracle but the real reasons is that both were good quality coaches who had the respect of their teams. What they didn’t have was the experience.

In both cases Stephen Ross wanted to go in a different direction. Both situations led to bad decisions by Ross in who he replaced them with. Bowles should have remained as the head coach of the Dolphins instead of Miami hiring Joe Philbin but no one should fault him for leaving Campbell off the list for Adam Gase.

In the 8th spot I would have to put George Wilson, Sr. Statistically his 15 wins is nothing special but he took over an expansion team that would include the additions of future Hall of Fame players. His contributions to the Dolphins were the building blocks of what would become the Don Shula years and the 1972 team. He wasn’t flashy and didn’t win a lot but he helped mold the identity of the Dolphins heading out of the 1960’s.

Jim Bates comes in 9th. Why should he be listed above Gase and Philbin? Simply because he took a team that had won only one game through 2004 and led them to three out of four wins to close out the season. The season was long over when Bates came on board and he won with no quarterback and no defense.

10th belongs to Adam Gase. It may sound petty but it is not because I hold a grudge or bad opinion of him simply because he was recently fired. Gase has no one to blame but himself. He controlled his roster and made the decisions with who was on that roster.

Gase’s ego was too big for a rookie head coach. He couldn’t control the bigger personalities of Jarvis Landry, Jay Ajayi, and Ndamunkong Suh so he got rid of them. He couldn’t evaluate talent so he fell back on what he was comfortable with. Those who would present him with less frictions. Jay Cutler and Julius Thomas.

Ultimately Gase failed because he couldn’t put trust in a quarterback that he didn’t believe in but it was his desire to continue to play the quarterback with whom he couldn’t succeed with. His ego would not allow him to give up play calling even though he wasn’t doing it well. His ego was the catalyst to him being fired as he couldn’t show the owner the respect he deserved.

Joe Philbin comes in just above Cam Cameron but there is wide gap between the two. Philbin had several flaws that simply can not be ignored. His attention to detail was attention to anything not related to football. While he harped on untied shoe laces and gum wrappers his attention to the intricacies on the field escaped him.

Philbin however was also in the middle of a power struggle between Jeff Ireland and Dawn Aponte and became the pawn between the two. Philbin failed simply because he didn’t have enough ego or a voice powerful enough to get changes that he needed to have made, made.

So this is where I put Adam Gase. 10th on the franchise below the interim head coaches and the coach that bailed back to the college ranks after saying he wouldn’t. He wasn’t a bad coach because he couldn’t coach, he was a bad coach because he failed at making decisions that he was in charge of making.