The Miami Dolphins have struggled this season - and that may be an understatement. They are sitting at 1-4 and have only shown periods of the team head coach Adam Gase seems to want. Everyone has struggled at times, on both sides of the ball, and it is enough that the team never appears to be a rhythm, playing as a team, and coming out with wins.
It has been bad. It has been unwatchable. And, it has been inept - as described by Gase.
Now, Gase clearly is looking to do something about it.
Fans likely do not agree with Gase’s assessment of what needs to be changed - namely, quarterback Ryan Tannehill - but they have to recognize that the coach is not sitting back and waiting. He is addressing the areas he thinks needs to be changed, he is forcing the hand of the front office, and he is making an effort to fix an ailing team. Gase is going to make this his team, one-way or another.
The Dolphins conducted an in-season roster purge this week, dropping players who were not performing up to the level Gase expected. Some of these players were depth positions who were surprises to make the roster in the first place. Some of these players were key contributors, or even spot starters, and they are no longer on the team.
This offseason seemed to be about molding the 2016 version of the Dolphins out of the Joe Philbin era and into the team Gase wanted. Now, five weeks into the regular season, rumors and speculation from the offseason as well as the spate of roster moves seem to confirm that this is not the team Gase wanted. This is the team Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum wanted - and Gase is not having it anymore.
The power structure in Miami gives the acquisition of players to Tannenbaum and general manager Chris Grier. It gives control of the 53 players on the roster - thus the ability to cut players - to Gase. And, Gase used that power on Tuesday.
Billy Turner. Cut.
Dallas Thomas. Cut.
Isaiah Pead. Cut.
The Dolphins filled the roster spots by bringing back cornerback Chimdi Chekwa and offensive lineman Sam Young. They also promoted defensive tackle Leon Orr from the practice squad.
Earlier in the week, the Dolphins claimed former Carolina Panthers cornerback Bene Benwikere off waivers, placing linebacker Koa Misi on injured reserve for the neck injury that has forced him to miss playing time - and speculation has indicated that he could be in danger of having his career ended by the injury.
Rumors a swirling that there is a power struggle going on behind the scenes in the Dolphins organization, with Gase and Tannenbaum not being on the same page. Gase and the rest of the coaching staff were said to be high on keeping running back Lamar Miller in free agency, but Tannenbaum was not willing to pay him, and so Miller went to the Texans. Miller is ninth in the league in rushing yards with 371 so far this year, and is fourth in the league in rushing attempts at 101.
Jay Ajayi leads the Dolphins with 31 carries this year (41st in the league) and 117 yards (45th).
Despite all the changes to the Dolphins roster this offseason, Gase appears to not have gotten the team he wanted. Now, he is doing something about it. Will it be enough to turn around a Dolphins team ineptly working their way through 2016? Probably not. But at least he is doing something about it now, rather than just waiting for the end of the season.
Will it change the power structure in Miami? Is Tannenbaum going to be forced out? Will Gase be able to turn this team into what he wants? There are still 12 weeks in the NFL season, so this is going to be a story that continues to evolve for a while.