|(Al Diaz/The Miami Herald via AP)|
I was a little bit surprised that Gase took this job considering that it seemed like he had his choice of a number of jobs, and this really wasn't one of the better ones. The team under the ownership of Stephen Ross has been a mess and they have largely struggled in the decade-plus following the retirement of Dan Marino. Expectations were high entering this season after the expensive signing of Ndamukong Suh and after a promising 2014 from quarterback Ryan Tannehill but the team struggled on both sides of the ball as Suh was a disappointment and Tannehill regressed.
Gase is a good fit for the Phins because he has an excellent track record with quarterbacks. In his sole season as the offensive coordinator in Chicago, Jay Cutler had one of his better seasons in years. In his two seasons as the offensive coordinator in Denver, he helped Peyton Manning put together two of his finest seasons as a pro (and look at him now post-Gase). And before that as Denver's quarterbacks coach, he helped to get the most out of one Tim Tebow en route to the Broncos' improbable playoff appearance in 2011. Considering that track record, and how much the team has invested in Tannehill, it makes sense to bring in a coach that might be able to get the most out of the quarterback.
But there is a risk that comes with Gase and it comes with his relative inexperience. Gase has only been an offensive coordinator for three seasons and will be the youngest coach in the NFL at the ripe old age of 37 (he'll be 38 in March). For what it's worth, the Dolphins have not had a ton of success in hiring coaches without NFL head coaching experience as Cam Cameron, Tony Sparano and Joe Philbin all got fired within four seasons and Nick Saban only lasted two years before bailing to Alabama.
Considering all the money that has been invested on the defensive side of the ball, namely regarding Suh, it will be key for Gase to hire a defensive coordinator that can put the pieces in place and make it into a quality unit. Fox Sports's Alex Marvez reported that the coordinator is expected to be Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph who, if you can remember, was likely going to be Gase's coordinator had he accepted the 49ers job last offseason.
I do like the Gase hire for the Dolphins, but he does have his work cut out for him in South Florida considering how inconsistent the team has been for over a decade. There are some pieces to work with on the roster but the team did underachieve big-time this season en route to Philbin's firing. If Gase can get Tannehill turned in the right direction and if an expensive defense can play to their paychecks, it is not crazy that this team could get to the playoffs next season.