Adam Gase was hired as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins this past Saturday and while he presented his list of potential coaches to the Dolphins' brain trust during his interview, no moves have been yet made official. There are plenty of rumors floating out there though and we'll take a look at those as well as look at past connections between Gase and those he has worked with over the years. For this column, we'll take a look at the offensive side of the ball with a peak at the defensive side tomorrow.
Please note that this is not inside information nor anything that I have heard from any of my sources. This is a column simply looking at the connections that Gase may have around the league and thus, connecting the dots to their possible future in Miami.
It is not yet known if Gase will hire an offensive coordinator but chances are he will, even though we know he is the one who will be calling the plays. That's because the offense needs someone to lead them and it will be tough for Gase to really devote himself to the entire team, especially the defensive side of the ball, if he is in offensive meetings throughout the day. Gase hinted that he is still unsure about an offensive coordinator, but sounds like he would prefer to hire one.
"...As soon as we can shake through putting a staff together, talking to guys here, if I end up finding the right offensive coordinator that eventually I feel like I could turn the play calling over, then that's the direction we'll head. But as far as right now, I will be the play caller."
Dolphins insider Chris Kouffman has mentioned Will Hall, head coach of Division II West Georgia, as someone to keep an eye on. He is an offensive mastermind and some have compared him to Jon Gruden in terms of creativity and intelligence. His overall record, which includes three years at West Alabama, is 49-16.
Two coaches who may be looking to take the next step include Tyke Tolbert and Eric Studesville. Tolbert is currently the wide receivers coach for the Broncos and has been coaching since 1994. He worked with Gase from 2011-2014. He has never been more than a wide receivers or tight ends coach but if Gase believes in his work, he could be worthy of a promotion.
Studesville is a bit more intriguing because he served as interim head coach of the Broncos in 2010 when Josh McDaniels was fired towards the end of the season. He has been coaching since 1991 and worked with Gase from 2010-2014. He also has experience as offensive coordinator when he was with the Buffalo Bills from 2004-2008. Studesville is well-respected around the league and could be a good person for Gase to lean on to run his offensive unit.
Greg Knapp, the current passing game and quarterback coordinator for the Broncos, is another interesting name to watch. He worked with Gase in Denver from 2013-2014 and has a wealth of coaching experience dating back to 1996. He was an offensive coordinator from 2004-2009, working with the Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks.
If you want to think out of the box, a wild name to think of is former St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz. Gase coached under Martz in Detroit and San Francisco when Martz was offensive coordinator and Gase credits a lot of his success back to him. In fact, Gase has taken some of Martz's philosophies in the passing game and has incorporated it into his own philosophy. Martz still watches a lot of film in his office and is currently an analyst for FOX Sports. He hasn't coached since 2011 when he was the offensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears but he was considered a candidate for the OC position with the Cleveland Browns last January. Would he be able to handle not calling plays though? That would be a big question if Gase were to pursue him. If he didn't come in as offensive coordinator, it's not out of the question for Gase to bring him in as a special advisor.
Shawn Jefferson, former New England Patriots player, is rumored to be the lead dog in this race to become the wide receiver coach. He was a wide receiver coach with the Detroit Lions from 2005-2012 and is now the wide receiver coach for the Tennessee Titans. He worked with Gase in Detroit from 2005 -2007 so the familiarity is there. He is scheduled to interview with both the Dolphins and Rams within the next few days. His contract with the Titans expires on February 15 so if the interest is mutual, this hire can happen within the next few days.
Brian Callahan is the name to watch here. He worked with Gase in Denver starting in 2010 rotating back and forth between being an offensive assistant and quality control coach. However, in between all of his responsibilities, he also has spent time with both running backs and quarterbacks. He has nine years of coaching experience, including two seasons at UCLA. Those two seasons there followed his playing career as a quarterback. Callahan said he feels he is a good fit in the running back room but also has aspirations to become a quarterback coach, as he feels it is the quickest way up the coaching ladder. With a get-it-done no matter what attitude, Gase likely sees a lot of similarities in Callahan and I would be surprised if he didn't find him a spot on his staff, whether it's with the quarterbacks or another position.
There are a few possibilities here at the offensive line position. Chris Foerster, currently offensive line coach with the San Francisco 49ers, is interviewing with the Dolphins for the same job. This information comes courtesy of Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post. Foerster was the offensive coordinator for the Dolphins during the infamous 2004 season where Ricky Williams retired right before training camp. Foerster has been coaching since 1982, all primarily on the offensive line. Before the 49ers, he was with the Washington Redskins from 2010-2014. He also had a previous stop in San Francisco from 2008-2009, where he worked with Gase. He has already interviewed with the Indianapolis Colts for the same job and received an offer, but is still exploring his options.
One name that sticks out is James Cregg, who is currently the assistant offensive line coach for the Broncos and worked with Gase in 2014. Previously, he served in the same position at the University of Tennessee and University of Southern California. He also has experience with the Oakland Raiders, University of Idaho and Colgate University.
Ben Wilkerson was the assistant offensive line coach with the Bears this past season after working as a physical education teacher and assistant football coach at North Shore Senior High School in Texas. Previously, he was the offensive line coach at Grambling State University from 2012-2013. Wilkerson has very limited experience but did play in the NFL as recently as 2008 with the Atlanta Falcons. However, he would likely be seen as a fallback candidate if Gase can't get his first few targets.
Another interesting name is Bob Wylie. Wylie has over 30 years of coaching experience, with it all on the offensive line with the exception of two years. He coached with Gase in 2010 and is currently the offensive line coach for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He was last in the NFL in 2011 with the Raiders. If he wants to get back in the NFL and if Gase has an interest, he may be a fit in Miami.
Wilbert Montgomery is the name that has also been floated by Chris Kouffman. He is currently the running backs coach for the Cleveland Browns but will likely be let go once a new coach is hired. He worked with Gase with the Lions from 2006-2007. Montgomery has been coaching running backs since 1997 and played from 1977-1985. In addition to coaching in Detroit and Cleveland, he also has made stops with the Rams and Baltimore Ravens.
Another name to watch is Tom Rathman, who played from 1986-1994 and has been coaching since 1997. He worked with Gase in 2005 with the Lions and then again with the San Francisco 49ers in 2009. While he is still employed by the 49ers, that will likely change once a new coach is hired there as well.
There aren't a lot of names out there in terms of connections and rumors. The most obvious name here is Dan Campbell, but according to Abramson, he will not be coming back to Miami, despite the wishes of owner Stephen Ross for him to remain.
"I mean, that's really up to Adam. I mean I love Dan Campbell. He's done a great job. I'd love to see him in the organization but Adam has really the free hand to hire his assistants. And the question is, he'll probably meet with Dan, and he can tell you that, but I don't think any conclusion (has been made). But I think, the way we feel about Dan, as an organization, is fantastic."
Some in the organization believe that it is in the best interest of both Campbell and Gase if he moves on and it now appears that is the case. According to NFL Insider Aaron Wilson, Campbell will have opportunities with the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings.
This column was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter! Follow @FinsInsider