The Miami Dolphins' fall from the wild-card mix from a 3-0 start to losers in three straight to finish the season apparently has cost head coach Adam Gase his job.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross informed Gase on Monday that he's been fired, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport first reported. The Dolphins also announced they have reassigned president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum within the organization and gave GM Chris Grier complete control of the football operations.
Gase finishes his first NFL head-coaching tenure of three seasons in Miami with a record of 23-25, including one playoff appearance, following his 10-6 debut season in 2016.
But the team's effort down the stretch in a 7-9 season hardly reflected Gase's continual efforts to cleanse his locker room of me-first players. Reports indicate that Gase's tough-love approach, which led to multiple trades and releases in addition to some discord between him and his players, backfired with Gase becoming a divisive force.
Gase's prickly personality undoubtedly rubbed some the wrong way, but his prowess as a QB whisperer and offensive strategist were the primary reasons he was hired in the first place — and could argue he didn't get a real shot to demonstrate them.
Gase arrived in Miami following one year in Chicago, where the then-Bears offensive coordinator coaxed a career season from Jay Cutler, with a reputation as one of the NFL's more impressive, young QB whisperers.
But Gase never had a viable healthy starter behind center for a full season, not with Ryan Tannehill's impressive debut under the head coach halted by a knee injury that cost him the entire 2017 campaign. With backup Matt Moore at the controls, Gase's Dolphins won three of their final four games to finish 10-6 and earn a wild card.
Tannehill also missed time this season with a right shoulder injury, forcing Brock Osweiler into action, including a 2-3 mark as the starter before Tannehill returned to log three consecutive 100-plus rated games prior to crashing down to earth in the final month.
That means the only "earnest" swing Gase took at the position was luring Jay Cutler from retirement at the 11th hour in 2017 to fill in for Tannehill. It's unclear whether Gase, GM Chris Grier or president Mike Tannenbaum opted to punt on this year's QB class that saw five passers go in Round 1, including three to teams that moved in front of Miami.
Then again, it's been unclear since Gase's arrival who truly was calling the shots. Gase reportedly orchestrated in-season trades of Jay Ajayi and Jordan Phillips to send messages in the locker room. But did Gase and Tannenhaum see eye to eye on consecutive curious offseason approaches to value names over production and age over upside?
A Miami Herald report surfaced Sunday stating that Ross could be targeting ex-New York Jets/Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan as the team's next head coach. There also have been frequent rumblings that Ross could look to lure fellow Michigan man Jim Harbaugh to South Beach. Both of those moves, but Ryan in particular, strike us as in line with Ross' reputation for valuing style over substance.
Ross now has fired three coaches in his 11-year reign that includes only two postseason appearances and no victories. We'd expect Gase to land on his feet quickly, likely before the Dolphins stop swimming upstream.