America’s Most Beleaguered Coach is stepping from bad into worse.
The Miami Dolphins’ Adam Gase, who leads the NFL in Can’t-Catch-a-Damned-Break, is trying to hold his team and its playoff hopes together with bailing wire and Scotch tape as he enters his personal Twilight Zone: Thursday night.
His Fins have collapsed twice from the Thursday prime-time stage by a combined losing score of 62-7. The likelihood of more misery is at hand as troubled Miami visits smokin’-hot Houston as a 7 1/2-point underog — with all indications of a bad matchup that could see the Dolphins getting blown out.
The team flew a day earlier than it had for the previous two Thursday games under Gase.
“What we’ve done really hasn’t paid off,” he noted in the deadpan delivery he has honed to a craft.
Gase went 10-6 his first season in 2016 and ended Miami’s eight-year playoff drought, then began the next season 4-2. He was the Next Big Thing in NFL coaching. Among Dolfans there was Best-Hire-Since-Shula talk.
His Dolphins have gone 6-11 since.
There was fleeting redemption in a 3-0 start. But these are the Dolphins. So it didn’t last. They are now 4-3 after a home loss to Detroit in which Miami gave up so many rushing yards and played so horribly on defense overall that D-coordinator Matt Burke described it perfectly as “a collectively crappy effort.” (Ndamukong Suh’s told-ya-so grin could be seen all the way from L.A.).
Now Miami is at grave risk of falling to 4-4 at midseason in a here-we-go-again swoon. Maybe the ghost of Dolfan Denny thinks the Fins will win in Houston. I’m not even sure the Dolphins believe it.
This week has continued a litany of bad luck chasing Gase like an unrelenting rabid dog.
Snakebit Adam has seen a veteran starting linebacker go AWOL on the eve of Kickoff Weekend; a season delayed and a bye week effectively erased by a hurricane; an offensive line coach resign in shame over a video that depicted him snorting cocaine on his office desk; and his starting quarterback injured and lost for the entire 2017 season.
That same QB is out again, of course, missing a third consecutive game Thursday night.
I’m surprised Richie Incogntio and Bullygate didn’t wait for Gase to arrive. That would have dovetailed beautifully with the kind of wacky distractions fate has called upon Gase to juggle.
The no-excuses Gase passes it all off to “that’s the NFL.” But it isn’t. The hands he has been dealt have been worse. Weirder, at least.
“We’ve almost covered everything,” he admits. “I won’t be surprised by anything.”
This week has been an especially bad one for Snakebit Adam.
In the wake of a home opportunity squandered against Detroit, Gase finds out that receivers Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills — two of his most dynamic offensive weapons — are out injured, Wilson likely for the season, a huge blow.
Oh, and then Jimmy Gould, the agent for receiver DeVante Parker, publicly takes a flamethrower to Gase in a thoroughly unprofessional tirade, calling the coach “incompetent” because his client had been inactive last week even though healthy. (Parker predictably distanced himself from Gould’s meltdown and is expected to play Thursday night, partly because if Miami had one more receiver injury, you would be playing).
Quarterback Brock Osweiler spoke this week of an ”us against the world mentality.”
It almost seems as if it’s a “world against Gase” dynamic in play.
It is unfair to judge Gase fully, or too harshly, considering the end of his 2016 season, all of 2017 and now a chunk of ‘18 have seen him without his starting quarterback. The Dolphins have been mediocre on balance in his 2 1/2 seasons, but that’s extenuating circumstances more than a fault you would place in the head coach’s lap.
Snakebit Adam can’t catch a break.
An upset Thursday night would be a big one.
It’s nothing you would bet on, alas.