Adam Gase, whose job is at risk as a 7-8 season nears its conclusion, said Monday that owner Stephen Ross has not indicated if he will return for a fourth season as Dolphins coach but said he will not lobby to keep his job.
“We haven’t been had a discussion about it,” Gase said. “It’s been business as usual for us. I’m only worried about this week. I’m still here, so I don’t need to lobby for my job. I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about Buffalo” – which is Sunday’s road opponent in Miami’s finale.
Unlike the Baltimore Ravens’ approach with John Harbaugh, Ross has not publicly said he’s committed to Gase for 2019.
Asked when he will discuss the issue with his owner, Gase said: “I don’t know. If he says there’s an issue, I’ll know. But every conversation I’ve had with him, just talked to him about what we didn’t do, what we need to do going forward in our weekly conversations.”
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Does he plan to give Ross a plan of how to fix this?
“We’ve been talking about it for three years,” he said. “We had a lot of good things going on and we lost some players. That happens. It’s the NFL.”
Asked if he believes he deserves a fourth year as coach, Gase said: “That’s not my choice. I have to do my job until somebody tells me different.”
On Monday, Gase made the case that injuries foiled a lot of what the Dolphins could have accomplished.
In fact, asked his biggest regret this season, he said: “I wish everyone hadn’t gotten hurt. That would have been nice.”
Over the course of the season, the Dolphins lost six key players to season-ending injuries: guard Josh Sitton, receivers Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant, center Daniel Kilgore, defensive end William Hayes and projected starting tight end MarQueis Gray.
Miami also played without quarterback Ryan Tannehill, cornerback Xavien Howard and defensive end Cameron Wake for several weeks.
So did he, general manager Chris Grier and football operations executive Mike Tannenbaum overestimate the talent on the roster?
“No,” Gase answered. We lost good players. You know we don’t have a 90 man roster, right?
“We lost good players. We have 53 guys. It’s not like you have a minor league system where you have a huge stable of guys backing up the starters. It’s a thin roster. Every team is. You are hoping you can stay as healthy as possible. We are living in a little bit of fantasy land thinking there are a whole bunch of guys waiting in the wings.”
Asked more specifically if he overestimated team’s starters, Gase said: “There’s a reason why we started 3-0, because all those guys were there. When we started losing throughout the season, we tried to patchwork things. We had a little time where we were trying to get used to the guys that were playing. We had to shuffle some lineups.
“We kind of had some good games where guys are starting to jell a little bit, and then another wave where we had to switch some things around. You kept trying to adjust to what was going on.”
Gase added that “I know you [reporters] want to say it’s personnel, but really a lot of it is fundamentals, techniques. That’s what helps you overcome when you’re playing guys that might be a little more talented. But we didn’t do that [in Sunday’s 17-7 loss to Jacksonville]. That’s why we’ve won some games, where we’ve used the things we talked about in practice. Sometimes we don’t always do it.”
Gase, who arrived with a reputation as a bright offensive mind, is 23-24 in three seasons as coach and his offense has consistently ranked in the bottom half or bottom third of all key statistical categories in his tenure.
This season, Miami is 30th in yards per game, 31st in third down efficiency and 25th in points (which factors in two special teams scores and a defensive score).
Though the Dolphins are expected to move on from quarterback Ryan Tannehill after the season, Gase didn’t want to discuss the issue and blamed breakdowns around his quarterback.
“Everyone is going to blame the quarterback,” Gase said. “We just need everybody doing their job and then we can evaluate the quarterback. We really haven’t had the consistency we’ve needed on offense to look at what is Ryan really.. Nobody helps him. He starts to try to do more than what he should and that hurts him. We haven’t found any consistency in the entire offense.”
Gase said unlike last season, when he played David Fales instead of Jay Cutler in the finale against Buffalo, he will start Tannehill on Sunday against Buffalo.
“We talked about playing young guys but I will never do that again because I am not going to hear about 6-10 again,” he said. “I would rather go 8-8.”
Asked for a 15-game snapshot on his thoughts on the season, Gase declined, saying: “I’ll let you know after the season. We’ll do a 16-game snapshot.”
Here’s what Ross told the Miami Herald on Monday about whether he would hire Jim Harbaugh as Dolphins coach.