It did not take long for Miami Dolphins fans to start calling for a quarterback change. Maybe rightfully so after the team scored six points in eight quarters behind an offense that cannot find any sort of rhythm. Spending $10 million to bring in the almost-retired Jay Cutler as a replacement for the injured Ryan Tannehill during training camp was never going to be easy, but three games into the regular season and no one expected to see the offense be this bad.
The team is scoring 8.3 points per game. They are 1-2 on the year, and only have that one win because of a missed field goal. It has not been pretty.
Head coach Adam Gase, however, is standing behind his quarterback. Gase unequivocally supported
Tannehill Cutler during his Monday press conference, telling reporters, “Well, I know where the ball is supposed to go. I know who’s supposed to do what on every play. If we protect [Cutler] and give him a second to throw the ball, we’ll be alright. “
It should not be a surprise; one of the first things Gase did when he arrived in Miami was to show support for Tannehill, who never seemed to have that kind of backing from former head coach Joe Philbin.
Gase also looked at another part of the offense as to part of why Cutler is struggling, and again it was a similar theme from his support of Tannehill. “If he’s going to get hit from start to finish, I don’t care who you put back there,” Gase said, pointing to the four sacks and constant pressure on Cutler during Sunday’s game. “We need to do a better job of protecting him, being where we’re supposed to be. There’s some things footwork-wise that he’s going to get better at. He knows where to go with the ball. We’re going to keep working on doing a good job protecting the football when things break down in the pocket; but we can’t let him just take hit, after hit, after hit, after hit and then expect him to stand in there. It’s not going to happen.”
Asked specifically about why the offensive line is struggling, Gase expounded, telling the media, “Some of it is the defense does a good job and they win some one-on-one matchups. Some of it is we don’t get the ball out soon enough. Some of it is we didn’t run the right route. It’s something different every time. We can easily get this cleaned up if we get more guys doing exactly what they’re supposed to do play in and play out, and we’ll have more success. When we have all these leaks in the dam and we keep trying to plug all these holes, that’s when you’re going to get in trouble. If guys come out and do what they’re supposed to do, we’ll be fine.”
A lot was made of the Cutler not moving during a Wildcat play against the Saints, which was a funny looking moment. Cutler moved out wide, put his hands on his hips, and never moved. Gase, on Monday, said that was the right play for the quarterback. “There were a couple of things that I did like and I was a little disappointed that we busted on the Wildcat deal. If we run that right, that’s a good play for us; but too many guys screwed up what we wanted to do. It’s just listen in the huddle, hear the huddle call and line up right. I’m glad Cutler did what he did because that’s what he’s supposed to do. Unfortunately nobody knows that.”
When asked if “people pick on the quarterback too much,” Gase agreed, bringing up Tannehill and the way the media and fans have covered him for much of his career. “Yes, it drives me nuts,” he replied. “I heard when I got here Ryan couldn’t play. That was wrong. The evaluation skills that everybody (has) about quarterbacks is really bad. I’m not going to listen to anybody else outside myself.”
Cutler is the Dolphins’ 2017 starter - and it pretty well sounds like Tannehill is the 2018 starter. Cutler will be back out there on Sunday as the Dolphins play their first true home game of the year, a Week 4 contest against the Tennessee Titans. Unless things go horribly wrong, expect Cutler to continue to have his coach’s support and the starting reins throughout the rest of the season.