The Miami Dolphins are coming up on the end of yet another season chock full of ups and downs and mixed results. It appears that owner Stephen Ross believes changes might be necessary to alter the course of his middling NFL franchise.
According to an article published Saturday by Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero, Miami’s head coach Adam Gase, general manager Chris Grier, and executive vice president of pro football operations Mike Tannenbaum face uncertainty regarding their job security going into the offseason. Stephen Ross has not been satisfied with the results he’s seen from this current regime and he’s considering a shake up of his front office and coaching staff.
Gase was hired as the Dolphins head coach back in 2016, a move that was applauded league-wide given Gase’s reputation as an offensive mastermind and quarterback whisperer. Everyone in the Dolphins organization was hoping that Gase would be able to give Ryan Tannehill the boost he needed to finally become an upper echelon quarterback, and at first, it appeared he was on track to do just that. The Dolphins played solid football in Gase’s first season and Tannehill posted career numbers en route to a 7-5 record. Unfortunately, Tannehill suffered an ACL tear in a win over the Arizona Cardinals that would derail Miami’s season despite the team earning a postseason birth and a 10-6 record.
Tannehill and the team’s doctors chose to forgo surgery, and the franchise quarterback re-injured the same knee the following offseason. Gase brought in Jay Cutler to lead the offense, but the team crawled to a 6-10 record in a lost season. This year, a bevy of injuries and questionable defensive coaching has Miami sitting at 7-7 and on the outside of the playoff picture. How much of Miami’s middling play over the course of almost three seasons can be attributed to Gase is up for debate, but there’s no question that something needs to change. Perhaps Gase could consider giving up play calling duties to the team’s offensive coordinator to help him better focus on Miami’s games as a whole, but whatever the solution may be, it must be found soon if Gase is to be the team’s coach of the future.
Grier spent almost a decade as Miami’s director of college scouting before receiving a promotion to general manager in 2016. Grier has had a pretty solid tenure as the leader of the Dolphins’ draft process. His inaugural draft yielded franchise left tackle Laremy Tunsil, Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard, Miami Miracle star Kenyan Drake, and playmaking dynamo Jakeem Grant.
While we’ve only had under two seasons to evaluate his past two drafts, the Dolphins have already seen development from starting middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan, starting defensive tackle Davon Godchaux, defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, starting linebacker Jerome Baker, and running back Kalen Ballage.
Grier has certainly had his share of gaffes as well. Two examples include 2017 first-round draft pick Charles Harris and 2016 third-round draft pick Leonte Carroo, but evaluating Grier solely on his misses is very shortsighted and ignores the fact that general managers all over the league routinely swing and miss on plenty of picks. Yes, Grier whiffed on Harris when players like Pittsburgh Steelers star pass rusher T.J. Watt were available, but he came back around and struck gold in Minkah Fitzpatrick and has given the Dolphins an influx of young talent to groom for the future. Attempting to select a perfect draft class is an exercise in futility, and Grier has done well with his opportunities so far.
According to Salguero, Tannenbaum is the man with the hottest seat entering the 2019 offseason. Since being promoted to executive vice president of pro football operations, Tannenbaum has regularly left the team with salary cap issues stemming from massive contracts awarded to big-name free agents that go on to underperform in South Florida. The most high-profile signing was Ndamukong Suh who, despite playing as a top five defensive tackle throughout his time in Miami, hamstrung the team’s ability to handle its salary cap.
Tannenbaum seemed to change his free agency philosophy this season by going for players with a lower profile who would be key role players this season. The list of 2018 free agent signees includes Albert Wilson, Danny Amendola, Frank Gore, Akeem Spence, and Josh Sitton (who was sidelined with an injury), but those shrewd signings unfortunately can’t erase Stephen Ross’ memory of poor decision making on Tannebaum’s part when it came to the likes of Julius Thomas, Lawrence Timmons, Andre Branch, Mario Williams, and Suh.
Over the next few months, Ross will have plenty to evaluate with regards to his top trio of front men, and there are far more factors to evaluate than the ones I’ve touched on. After years of mediocrity and a failure amongst the current regime to change the direction of this team, Ross will need to decide if Gase, Grier, and Tannenbaum (or some combination of the three) can turn things around moving forward.
What direction should Ross and the Dolphins take with regards to the coaching staff and front office?
This poll is closed
Keep Gase, Grier, and Tannenbaum for another year and see if they can turn things around.
Fire Tannenbaum, but keep Gase and Grier.
Fire Tannanbaum and Grier. but give Gase another shot.
Fire all three and go in a whole new direction.