The Miami Dolphins could soon be contacting the Chicago Bears about interviewing their offensive coordinator Adam Gase for the South Florida franchise's vacant head coaching position. According to a report from Fox Sports reporter Alex Marvez, the Dolphins are interested in Gase and are hoping to speak with him after the regular season ends this weekend.
Gase is considered among the top candidates for a head coaching position this year. He worked as the Denver Broncos quarterbacks coach for two years, then the offensive coordinator for two seasons, working with Peyton Manning, including the record-setting 5,477 passing yards by Manning in 2013. This year, as the Bears' offensive coordinator, Gase as resurrected the career of Jay Cutler, who is on pace to break his career best passer rating by over three points, and cut his interceptions from 18 last year down to 8 so far this year.
Hiring Gase could be Miami's way of trying to add a coach who can get the most out of Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who plateaued this year, a year in which big steps were expected from the fourth-year quarterback.
Gase has been interviewed for head coaching positions in the past, including last year when he was thought to be close to being hired by the San Francisco 49ers before coaching staff questions broke down the talks.
Gase started his coaching career as a graduate assistant with LSU in 2000, then spent two years as a recruiting assistant for the Tigers. He moved to the NFL level in 2003 as a scouting assistant with the Detroit Lions, then was promoted to offensive assistant in 2005 and promoted again to quarterbacks coach in 2007. He spent the 2008 season with the 49ers as an offensive assistant before his first position with the Broncos, a two year stint as the team's wide receivers coach before the 2011 promotion to quarterbacks coach, and the 2013 promotion to offensive coordinator. He moved to the same position with the Bears this year.
Miami is thought to prefer a coach with head coaching experience already, ending a streak of first-time NFL head coaches. The last head coach Miami hired who had previously been a head coach in the league was Dave Wannstedt in 2000. After Wannstedt was fired, the team when 3-4 under interim head coach Jim Bates, who had one year as a head coach with the San Antonio Gunslingers of the USFL in 1985, but had never been over the defensive coordinator position at the NFL or college levels. Miami then hired Nick Saban, who had been the head coach of LSU, going 15-17 in two seasons (2005-2006) before Saban jumped ship to go back to college and take the Alabama head coaching job.
Saban was then replaced by Cam Cameron, who had spent the preceding five years as the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers. Cameron had five years of experience as the Indiana head coach before he joined the Chargers, but only lasted one 1-15 season with the Dolphins as a head coach before being fired. He was then replaced by Tony Sparano, who was hired from the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, where he had been the offensive line coach. He had never had head coaching experience at any level, other than one year as the assistant head coach for the Cowboys, and his only offensive coordinator experience had been at Boston University from 1989 to 1993. He finished his Dolphins tenure with a 29-32 record.
The Dolphins fired Sparano midway through the 2011 season, promoting Todd Bowles, the team's assistant head coach and secondary coach to the interim head coach position. Again, Bowles had no head coaching experience before the move by the Dolphins, though he did go 2-1 with the team before being passed over for the full time job and being hired by the Arizona Cardinals as a defensive coordinator. Bowles is now the head coach of the New York Jets.
Miami hired Joe Philbin in 2012. He had spent the previous five seasons as the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, working his way up to that position through time as the team's assistant offensive line coach, tight ends coach, and offensive line coach. He had no head coaching experience at any level prior to Miami hiring him. When the team fired him four weeks into the current season, ending his tenure with a 24-28 record, the team promoted tight ends coach Dan Campbell to the head coaching position. Campbell, who is 4-7 in his 11 games since taking overt the job, started his coaching career with the Dolphins in 2010 as an intern before taking the tight ends position in 2011; Campbell played tight end in the NFL from 1999-2009.
Gase is clearly going to be a hot commodity this offseason, and the Dolphins will be correct in interviewing him. He has also been linked to the Cleveland Browns, who may fire head coach Mike Pettine after this weekend's games, and is expected to draw attention from the Philadelphia Eagles, who fired Chip Kelly this week. If Gase is everything people seem to think he will be, then hiring him would be a great move for the Dolphins. But, will the team want to go into another year of a rookie head coach trying to learn his job for the first time?
Whatever the case, the fact that the Dolphins are expected to call the Bears and Gase once the season is over is a good sign. Both because the Dolphins are not ruling anyone out just because they have not been a head coach before, and because it shows Miami already has a plan in place to begin their coaching search as soon as they possibly can.