Miami Dolphins Adam Gase Coach of the Year
Adam Gase is the NFL coach of the year for making the Miami Dolphins relevant again. He has exceeded expectations his first season leading the city’s storied football franchise. Entering the first game back in September, most pundits expected Gase to spend the year determining whether Ryan Tannehill was really worth the $90 million contract to be the Dolphins franchise quarterback.
Like previous seasons, it appeared the Dolphins were well on their way to disappointing their fans. Miami lost four of its first five games that featured atrocious performances by Tannehill and the rest of the aqua-and-orange gang. Any other team, including the coaches, would have folded the tent and called it a day.
Yet Gase never lost his composure, making adjustments that turned the Dolphins’ fortunes around. Even more remarkable is that the Dolphins’ head coach got his team to win nine of its last 11 games despite a defense that gave up the most yards in team history and losing six starters to season ending injuries, including Tannehill just when he was showing signs of becoming a star player.
Gase is leading the Dolphins back into the playoffs for the first time in eight years because he is bringing out the best in his players. Running Back Jay Ajayi is playing like the second coming of Ricky Williams with three games with 200-plus rushing yards and the first player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season since 2006. The receiving corps is one of the best in the league with Jarvis Landry leading the way and last year’s first round pick, Davonte Parker, having a breakout season. Parker was looking like a bust at the end of last season. And Gase has the defense playing way above its talent level, especially Kiko Alonzo, the Cuban American journeyman linebacker who looks like an all-star.
Former Dolphin greats who played under Don Shula have praised Gase. They say he has the same no-nonsense, professional approach to football as the legendary Dolphins head coach. Even when four players created controversy earlier in the season by refusing to stand for the national anthem before games to protest police brutality against minorities, Gase didn’t let it become a distraction.
Owner Stephen Ross and Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel deserve credit for hiring Gase. They made the right choice. Miami may not make it past the Pittsburgh Steelers in their first round game this weekend, but the Dolphins’ future is bright with Gase in charge
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