We are going to start this immediate reaction to the game with me saying I still believe Adam Gase is the right head coach for this team and that I think Ryan Tannehill should be the quarterback next year - if he does not implode down the stretch this year. I am not saying do not look at quarterbacks, but I believe that Tannehill is good enough to be (a) a bridge to another quarterback and (b) is better than most of the rookies who will come out this year and I would prefer to wait until 2020 for the most part in drafting a new quarterback. The foundation seems to be in place for success, but Gase is still growing into his role as the head coach, and teams do not get rid of their Alex Smith until they have their Patrick Mahomes. Miami does not have their Mahomes yet.
That said, there must be changes for the Dolphins, either the remainder of this season or in the offseason. Things are not right in South Florida, and Gase is going to have to fix it.
There are two major adjustments that need to be made as soon as possible. I am not one to call for a coach’s job, because I realize they are doing more than I understand, and there are factors that I do not see - like a player freelancing or an opposing offense simply recognizing a matchup to exploit. But, the Dolphins need to upgrade Matt Burke’s position. I have no problem with an offensive head coach sticking primarily to the offense, but he has to have a defensive coordinator who can act as the head coach for the defense and Burke is not there. Rumors have indicated that Gase wanted to hire an outside defensive coordinator before promoting Burke, but Stephen Ross preferred to stay in house after seeing big money to be given to Vance Joseph only for him to bolt a year later to join the Denver Broncos. Ross won that - if the rumors are true - but now Gase needs to win. Miami has to get a top-of-the-line defensive coordinator, and they need to pay him the money that will make him want to join a defense that is young, but talented.
I do not think Dowell Loggains is the right person to become the play caller for Miami’s offense, but someone needs to take those duties from Gase - or at least have the input into the play calling to fix Gase when he becomes too conservative. It is funny because Gase has been both too pass-focused and too run-focused in his career as a head coach. He has been too conservative and too aggressive. He has yet to find the right balance. On Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, Gase appeared to be ready to go with Ryan Tannehill back under center, and he opened up the offense early in the game. But then, with the game on the line, he turned to straight ahead runs into the Colts defense rather than letting Tannehill try to win the game with his arm. Yes, the shoulder may be a factor in why Tannehill could not handle that, but running up the gut did not make any sense at the end of the game.
Miami has made some good adjustments this year - including getting Bobby McCain back into the nickel cornerback spot, Minkah Fitzpatrick moving outside as a cornerback and playing some safety, making Xavien Howard shadow the top receiver, and turning Jerome Baker into a three-down linebacker over Raekwon McMillan - but they need to continue to build this team. They are relying on a lot of younger players, so the growth into a contending team should come in the next few years, but they have to make adjustments to make sure that happens.
The Dolphins are not a bad team - no matter how much Twitter wants to make you believe they are. The problem is, they are not always a good team either. They show you flashes of it, but then they fall back to mediocrity. This team could still be a winning team this season - they will need help to do it, but it is there to be had - but they cannot have the breakdowns and conservative play we saw today. Adam Gase needs to be aggressive - and if it does not work, so be it - and he probably needs to look at replacing Matt Burke, as much as I hate to say that.