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The Case For Gase

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New York Jets v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

And so the Cardinals’ new search for the next head coach begins today with the arrival of Adam Gase, two days removed from his head coaching position with the Dolphins.

The 40 year old Gase went 23-25 in South Beach and led the Dolphins to the playoffs with a 10-6 record his first year. He went a disappointing 13-19 the last two seasons, although that has a great deal to do with Dolphins’ QB Ryan Tannehill’s (20 games missed) knee injury.

When Tannehill started for Gase, the Dolphins’ record was 13-9...but curiously, over those 21 games, Tannehill never threw for more than 300 yards in a game. Now, part of that was because of Jay Ajayi’s 260/1,272/4.9/8 td stellar 2016 performance.

It is no secret that one of Adam Gase’s biggest fans in Peyton Manning. In recent days, Manning has been imploring the Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslem to hire Gase as head coach.

On the flip side, WR Jarvis Landry would be livid if Gase is hired by the Browns. Landry, who tweeted guffaws after hearing Gase was fired, claims that Gase cussed him out one day in his office when Landry came in to ask if Gase would expand his route tree.

For those of you who watched Hard Knocks this year, while Jarvis Landry is a stud WR, he is a bit of a handful to coach. It’s hard to imagine any coach would be unwilling to expand Landry’s route tree.

But—-the fact that Gase’s best RB while he was in Miami, Jay Ajayi, and best WR, Jarvis Landry, were both traded away by the Dolphins might be a little concerning. Ajayi had two years left on his rookie deal when he was traded to Philly, But, Landry was on the franchise tag at the time.

The rap on Gase in Miami was that he plays favorites, he too quickly abandons the running game when it is working and when his pet plays don’t work, he lets his frustration fester.

However, according to the Miami Herald’s Dolphins’ beat writer Barry Jackson, “Gase had a lot of supporters in that locker room. He established strong relationships with several veterans. Several of them waited outside his office to wish him well after his dismissal Monday. Wide receiver Albert Wilson, who missed the final nine games with a hip injury, tweeted: “A full year, I could have shown how much of a genius he was.”

Gase’s fit with the Cardinals?

There is a sense amongst NFL pundits like Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter that Gase will have stronger success as a head coach the second time around.

The fact that Gase, a bright, talented QB guru and play caller, already has three years of head coaching experience under his belt, has to be attractive to the Cardinals.

The fact too that the Cardinals landed the first interview with Gase may be a signal that there is a mutual interest in getting a deal done.

Seth Cox has a couple of excellent Gase related articles coming up—-one of which outlines the conflicting reports of Gase’s impressions of Josh Rosen. One speculation was that Gase was “obsessed” with drafting Josh Rosen at #11, while another was that Gase had serious disliking to Rosen’s demeanor.

This begs the question—-would Gase be willing to accept Rosen as the clear-cut franchise QB? Or—-does Gase have another QB in mind to add to the mix, either in free agency or the NFL Draft?

Would the Cardinals be open to suggestion at the QB position?

Who would be Gase’s top choice for defensive coordinator? Could he be Vance Joseph, who was his first year DC in Miami? Joseph may be interviewing for the Bengals’ head coaching job, but if he doesn’t get it, maybe he would welcome the DC gig in Arizona. Imagine that—-a young head coach and a young DC, both with recent head coaching experience.

Speaking of expoerience, would Gase be interested in being paired with Todd Bowles as his DC? How about Chuck Pagano? How about Jack Del Rio? How about Mike Pettine?

How amenable would Gase be to keeping some of the current Cardinals’ assistant coaches such as STC Jeff Rodgers and WRC Kevin Garver?

Would the appointment of Gase as head coach prompt and excite WR Larry Fitzgerald to return?

Early on this past season, I watched a number of the Dolphins’ games—-and I was impressed with how predicated Gase’s offense is on speed. Gase loves fast, shifty RAC WRs and RBs. This year’s crop included: Danny Amendola, Kenny Stills, RB Kenyan Drake, Albert Wilson, DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant.

I don’t think there is any question that Gase would love Christian Kirk, for starters.

Gase got excellent production this year from veteran RB Frank Gore (722 yards @ 4.6) and 3rd year all-purpose RB Kenyan Drake (535 yds, rushing and 4 TDs @ 4.5 and 477 yards and 5 TDs receiving @ 9.0). One would think this could bode well for David Johnson, Chase Edmonds and T.J. Logan.

On the flip side, if Gase is hired, Patrick Peterson, no doubt, will be getting an earful from fellow LSU Tiger Jarvis Landry. This may not be a big deal, but, it is paramount that the next head coach garner a strong rapport with Peterson, otherwise Peterson’s situation could remain volatile. Having an experienced and charismatic DC on board could help significantly in this regard.

Conclusion:

For me, Adam Gase’s positives far outweigh the negatives, especially with regard to his experience as a head coach, as an OC and as a developer of QBs.

It would be a refreshing change if the Cardinals acted swiftly and decisively on signing Gase. Of the other candidates they are scheduled to meet with, in terms of developing NFL QBs and coordinating an innovative, balanced type of offense, Gase is clearly the most qualified. That is why, if today’s interview goes well, I hope that the Cardinals act with alacrity and confidence...as in the old “don’t let him leave town...”