It has come to this. No more positivity, no more looking at things in a cup that's half full, even half empty is still too full. It's completely empty, in fact it's shattered on the ground and Dolphins fans are slicing their feet to shreds on the broken glass of the cup.
How many times must this happen? How many times must the obvious problems be identified, only to ultimately be ignored and then repeated over and over again? And who suffers from this? The players, obviously, who are extremely frustrated with how things are going as the Dolphins fell to 5-6 in embarrassing fashion, like most of their losses.
“We didn’t finish,” Gore said in an expletive fueled rant. “S---. We’ve got to finish. That’s the key. Especially when they got a f------ guy over there that can get hot, who I respect, plays the game how it’s supposed to be played, the quarterback. Finishing, man."
Whether Gore's comments were a not-so-thinly veiled shot at Ryan Tannehill or Adam Gase, there's no way to know for sure. But here are the facts of the matter. With the Dolphins up seven points, with the Colts just having finished scoring a field goal, Miami had a lovely opportunity to run down the clock with 8:26 left in the fourth quarter, all they had to do was hand the ball off to Gore a few times (and maybe one throw if necessary to get a first down), and watch the clock tick away so they could leave Indianapolis with the victory.
But that's what common sense would dictate. Adam Gase has shown numerous times now that common sense is not how he calls plays. He wants to do the unexpected, he wants to catch teams off guard. He wants to go against conventional wisdom because doing the obvious would be...well...obvious. So what does Gase call?
He calls a pass on first down, and Tannehill has to throw it away as pressure came after him.
Then on second down, he calls another pass, and this time Tannehill misses Kenny Stills over the middle. That was on the QB.
Then on 3rd and 10...another pass to try and convert for a first down? No. A shotgun handoff to Kenyan Drake that loses five yards because after all this time Gase has spent trying to be sneaky, teams have come to expect the unexpected. They knew he'd do that, because he's done it so many times.
Next drive, Colts score another touchdown, and the game is tied.
So now it's time to give the ball to Ryan Tannehill, who had been playing well all game despite a few hiccups here and there, in fact his overall numbers were better than Andrew Luck's, because Luck threw two straight interceptions to Xavien Howard, and managed to avoid another that could have been caught by Reshad Jones.
Tannehill is backed up deep in his own territory, on the six-yard line. There's a little over four minutes left. Time for Tannehill to prove himself in crunch time.
Gase calls a run to Frank Gore for no gain, a screen pass to DeVante Parker for no gain (with an offensive P.I. on Kenny Stills to boot), and on 3rd and 10...a shotgun handoff to Kenyan Drake that went for four yards...and instead of going for it, he called another punt with 2:50 left on the clock.
Gase defended his decision, saying that they were backed up deep in their own territory and so the run was the call they made...except, the game was on the line, you needed yards and you needed points and you needed them now. What was the logic on giving Andrew Luck back the ball when the defense was not able to find ways to stop him?
Except they almost did, they almost had him stopped...and then the defense gave up one play on third down that clinched the game at last.
Regardless of the defense's ultimate failure to make the stop, which is another topic altogether...this is a recurring problem, a problem that should not be a problem for a supposed offensive guru who received heavy praise across the league for his brilliant football mind and intelligence.
Where is it though?
Is this what they were talking about? Gase's tendency to do the unexpected, even if it spits in the face of what the team should do in any given scenario? When they have the lead, they play aggressive, when they need points, they play conservative.
Huh? Why? That should be the opposite!
You play conservative when you have a lead, you play aggressive when you need points, because that's the situation you find yourself in. When the games come that close to the wire, you can't just assume you'll get another chance to touch the football on offense, you need to play like this is all you're gonna get.
But he didn't, and he doesn't. His play calls consistently baffle all who watch, his decisions leave opposing head coaches reeling and wondering why he made them in the first place. Who can forget when Marvin Lewis essentially called out Gase for leaving backup left tackle Zach Sterup on an island for him to struggle, which ultimately led to the Dolphins losing that game and Tannehill being injured for five weeks?
It just happened again, slightly different circumstances but the same general theme. What is head coach Adam Gase thinking? How can this offensive guru deem it wise to take the ball out of his QB's hands when he needs to have it, and put it IN his hands when he doesn't need to have it? Does being a guru mean you do things no one else would do? Does being a guru mean you do nothing that everyone else would do?
Even though it's proven to work?
Frank Gore averaged 4.8 yards a carry against the Colts defense. Kenyan Drake averaged four yards a carry.
Why didn't you let them run out the clock?
“They ran what we thought they were going to run,” Gase said of the Colts defense. “They pressured us both times. So we got guys wide open. We got to protect and you got to be able to make those plays. They’re pressuring because they don’t want us to run the ball.”
Oh, okay...except that they hadn't shown they could stop you, so that's kinda moot. Who cares if they were crowding the line? Had it been working all game? Not really.
Then when you needed to pass, you ran, threw a screen (which never works without Jakeem Grant, by the way), and ran again.
“Backed up,” Gase said. “We were struggling in that distance to begin with. We have to make something happen on those first two downs. Third and 10 on the minus-3 or whatever it is in not going to be good.”
But...the game is on the line, coach, why would you take it out of Tannehill's hands? Do you not trust Tannehill?
“It wouldn’t matter who is back there,” Gase said. “That’s a [crappy] situation to be in. It’s third-and-long, you're backed up. It’s a bad situation. I’ve been in that end zone before and I watched a Hall of Fame quarterback [Peyton Manning] get sacked for a safety. In this building. We didn’t block anybody. That’s what bothers me more than anything. We haven’t really picked up a bunch of stunts in the four man rush and that’s what these guys do.”
So you're saying you wouldn't have let Peyton Manning throw the ball in that situation? If true, then you're a fool. If false, then you're a liar.
Neither is a good thing to be.
And what did Tannehill have to say?
“We were backed up and coach was trying to get us out of that backed up situation,” Tannehill said. “Of course I understand. I’m a competitor. I want the ball in my hands. I want to make that play. But we’re inside our own 10. Long yardage situation. They had been playing soft coverage, sinking everyone underneath. In those long-yardage situations, the percentages are low. We’re thinking if we can get a block on one guy and make one guy miss there were a couple of situations where we were able to get close on those runs. But as a competitor, it’s tough. You know, you want that ball in your hands.”
Ah, Ryan Tannehill, professional to the last.
The players are angry, they are making it known that they are not happy with how things are going. No one is being individually pointed out, but all of a sudden it's starting to seem more and more like they players who have left as part of Gase's "culture change" initiative have every right to be salty.
They aren't doing particularly well in their new homes, but neither is Gase, so maybe just everything is awful.
Enough is enough, it's time to start holding this alleged offensive guru accountable. I understand the injury angle, I understand the bad luck, I understand all of that...but injuries were not the reason this game was lost, the team had the lead, and instead of using it and forcing the Colts into a bad spot, he gave them life with his unconventional play calls...his ineffective play calls.
Gase will be an effective head coach in the NFL. But it won't be with the Miami Dolphins. He needs to be humbled first, and humility isn't learned through losses, only embarrassment. Humility is something that is learned through being forced to take a step back and really examine one's self before diving back in. To take a step back, he needs to be handed his walking papers, be forced to look at everything that went wrong and come to the realization that there were things he could have done better, not everyone else around him.
He's taken blame before, sure, but not really. If he thought it was his fault, why has he not adapted and evolved? Why has he not come to the realization that his playcalling is a problem? Why has he not hired a true offensive coordinator to take over so he can focus on being a head coach? He has leadership qualities, but he seems disinterested and refuses to give up what he was supposedly brought in for: his offensive acumen.
The season is all but over now, and they seem to be limping to another 8-8 season; painfully average, painfully mediocre, the same Dolphins from the past decade regardless of who the coach is it feels like. That's the only saving grace for Gase right now, he hasn't done worse than anyone else who's been given the coaching job since Don Shula and Jimmy Johnson.
I've preached patience with Gase, let him get his guys together and see what happens...but now he has (or had) them, and the results have been the same. Just more of the same. Situational playcalling is still bad, investment in the defensive performance is still bad, and the team, as a whole, is bad.
Put up or shut up, Adam Gase. If you're so smart, then do something different that you haven't done yet. Stop banging your head against the wall and doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. That's not called ingenuity...that's called insanity.
This story was written by Luis Sung Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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