It only took one year, but Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase is among the top coaches in the league - at least according to CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco, who ranked all 32 head coaches yesterday. Really, it is a ranking of the 31 head coaches not named Bill Belichick, who clearly has the top spot in the rankings.
After Belichick, Priscorankins the Green Bay Packers’ Mike McCarthy, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Andy Reid, the Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll, and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin as the top five coaches. Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens are then coaches six and seven in the rankings.
Then, Prisco turns to Gase. Suddenly among coaches who have won Super Bowls and are considered among the elite, there is Miami’s 39-year-old coach who is heading into just his second season as the top coach on a franchise. Prisco writes of Gase in the eighth spot:
He is a star in the making. Gase took over the Dolphins last season and got a team hardly stacked with talent to 10-6 and into the playoffs. He has great give-and-take with his players, knowing when to push and when to pull back. He is also a great offensive mind, which you need in this league today. One more thing: He is a maniac when it comes to working, which can be seen in his preparation. A few years from now, he might top this list when Belichick retires if he can keep it going forward.
Not only does Prisco have Gase in the top eight coaches right now, but he actually ends with the idea that Gase could be in the top spot whenever Belichick retires. That is some high praise for Miami’s coach.
Gase took a Miami team that had not earned a winning record of a playoff berth since 2008, and seemed to immediately change the culture of the franchise. After watching the Tony Sparano and Joe Philbin eras continually finish the year around 7-9, the Dolphins under Gase jumped back up to winning football, claiming a 10-6 record and a Wildcard spot in 2016. He did it while dealing with injuries to nearly the entire starting defense, an offensive line that could never find a way to keep all five starters on the field, and losing his starting quarterback late in the season.
Gase was a legitimate coach of the year candidate last year. Now, he has to continue to develop the team and himself. Hopefully, he can turn into the league’s best coach.
(Edit: It was pointed out that Rotoworld did a similar ranking of the head coaches in March, so I went to see where they had Gase. He was tenth, with the following writeup:
After years in Joe Philbin jail, the Dolphins suddenly have the NFL’s brightest coaching prospect. Adam Gase’s coordinating momentum continued unabated his first year as his own boss. Dealing with one of the league’s most unwieldy rosters, Gase stabilized Ryan Tannehill before losing him to injury. Traditionally, this would have been when Miami’s season went off the rails. Not with Gase. The rookie head coach managed and manipulated a 2-1 record out of journeyman Matt Moore, clinching the Dolphins’ first postseason appearance since 2008. Despite talent limitations on both sides of the ball, Gase displayed an innate ability to put his players in the best position to succeed. It wasn’t all about his “system.” Gase played to his team’s strengths, not his own rigid vision of what winning football is supposed to look like. It’s what he did with Peyton Manning in Denver, and Jay Cutler in Chicago. With Gase at the controls, the Dolphins might finally break New England’s one-party rule of the AFC East.
Again, high praise for Gase.)