Adam Gase, new head coach of the Miami Dolphins, spoke with Miami reporters at his Tuesday presser this week to give insight into their Week 1 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. Gase also answers a few questions about the shellacking his offense received from the Legion of Boom & Company in Super Bowl 48. (You might remember that he was Offensive Coordinator of the Denver Broncos back then.) He can’t escape that day - he gets reminded of it by new Dolphins CB Byron Maxwell.
Gase also talks about evaluating Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill in the 2012 draft and how Wilson may have been an interesting option for the Broncos if they were looking to get a young QB to put behind Peyton Manning, but doesn’t mention the fact that Denver drafted Brock Osweiler that year ahead of Wilson.
Adam Gase on the mic
Adam, this season you guys will be depending, to a certain degree, on two thirty-year olds coming off of Achilles, Arian Foster and Cam Wake. How do you feel about them physically and mentally approaching the season?
I feel good physically just watching those two guys work the way they do. How quickly obviously Cam (Wake) came back. I wasn't with Arian (Foster) until this summer. But just seeing how those guys try to take care of their body. The way they practice. The way they really try to push themselves. I mean I feel really good as far as going into game one and kind of the plan that we have moving forward so we can make sure we have those guys for the duration. And having two guys like that that have been through a lot, have seen a lot of things. It's always comforting as a coach to have guys like that on both sides of the ball. Because you know when things get tough, and they will because that's the nature of this business, you know those guys are always going to be the ones leading the charge.
Adam, you've worked with a lot of different quarterbacks. What makes Russell Wilson different?
I think his ability to push it out, push the ball downfield. I mean it just hasn't changed. Since he came out of college, that was the one thing. You know, when he came out, it was really a staggering completion percentage for throwing the ball down the field compared to everybody else. And his ability to keep plays alive. I mean you can really have a massive breakdown and he'll make something happen. He's been that way since he's gotten in the league from probably the first day, you know, when he started playing in the preseason. And it just seems like he has just been growing ever since.
How much did you look at both he and Ryan (Tannehill) coming out?
It was probably more Russell than Ryan because we were not thinking quarterback kind of in that area that we were feeling where he was going. I know Russell was right in the conversation with a lot of the guys that we were looking at. I remember we had him in. I think we were really impressed with his football intelligence. Kind of jumped off with us right away. We were in a unique situation because Peyton was coming off of all his things as far as the neck and trying to figure out a new team and new system. So we were trying to figure out what was the right fit for us. I think if he would have been there, that would have been interesting to see as far as kind of what would have happened there. You know I mean, Peyton went on to play four more years after that. So, I mean Russell got drafted by a great organization and had the opportunity to compete right out of the gate which obviously he was ready for.
When you've got a player like Byron Maxwell who spent many years defending him in practice, can that help? Can that help your guys?
Probably a little bit. But sometimes that can hurt you too because you start over-analyzing everything. And then you start getting, now look out for this, and if he does this. And you start...it goes overboard. Sometimes players being able to study guys on their own, coming to their own conclusion. That's sometimes a better way to go about it because you just don't want to put things in their head and then all of sudden you know it's not what you thought.
Adam, can you discuss the decision to fly out to Seattle on Thursday?
Yeah. We just thought since it was the first game of the year you know, just give us some more time out there to just get... it's a long trip. I know the closest experience I think I had to it was when we flew out there for the Super Bowl this year and it just felt like you were on the plane for like a day. So we felt like getting out there, kind of getting our guys accustomed to the sleep patterns going on and, you know, finishing up the week out there. We just thought it was best, you know, gave us the best chance to win as far as getting our guys ready to go. We just want to feel as good as we can going into that game. And we'll see what the results are.
If it goes well, would you consider that for the L.A. swing?
We're going to kind of see. We got like an initial plan right now. But we're going to kind of see how everything goes on this trip. You know obviously, everything is day to day. You know, so we'll see how it goes. And then if we need to make some changes, then we'll make them.
Adam, I know it's years ago but do you think back to the Super Bowl and scheming up against the defense and just what went wrong out there?
Never. Yeah! [laughter] You lose the Superbowl 43 to 8, you try to figure out what went wrong. We got a chance to play them third game of the season next year. We saw them in the first pre-season game, so. Yeah, you think what went wrong.
You think that experience helped you at all?
Absolutely. When we went into that game there was kind of- think a lot of us just felt like we were- basically we were rolling at that time and you come out really- it was as close to a shut out as you can get but it was- we got one late, so. Went back, you have to kind of do a lot of soul searching at that point and re-evaluate what you were doing and what went wrong and how you could have changed things.
What would you have done better? Different?
The one thing that we did that just was- we kind of went against what we had done all season. Where, we went in with a game plan, we got down and I think we started - we pressed a little bit and then it cost us because I called a couple of plays in that game that forced Peyton to have to push the ball down the field. And our protection was, you know, they got through. And he got hit a couple of times, the ball popped up and on the one, he hit a pick six the other way. And then it just changes the whole momentum. We needed something good to happen and it was like an avalanche for us.
Byron said he actually lets you bring it up and you guys discuss that.
Yeah. He talks about it a little bit. But he'll remind me occasionally.
Is he kind?
Do you have a policy about players needing to practice by a certain date for them to be game eligible?
For us to feel good, absolutely love to be able to say, "Hey, we'd like to see you practice one day." I think this is little bit of an unusual week. We're going to be able to push this thing all the way to the end. And I think every situation is a little different. And I think sometimes experience plays into that, to where you might be able to say we're not going to have anything all week and then he's going to show up on Sunday and be able to do his job. So I think every situation you know it just...it will kind of present itself and you just have to make the best decision for the team at the time.
Adam, kind of a housekeeping thing. I don't notice backup offensive tackles on the depth chart. You've got at least four choices, right, with (Laremy) Tunsil, (Jermon) Bushrod, (Dallas) Thomas, and (?) Taylor. How would you go for backup offensive tackles?
I mean, it just depends. I feel like you're wishing something is going to happen to somebody.
No. Just trying to stay informed.
We've repped them all. Basically I think D.A. is the only one we haven't done anything, and Tunsil, as far as right tackle. But I feel like we got four guys that can play left tackle. And we got to plan as far as if something happened at the backup right tackle. And we feel good about how we can swing some things in the inside.
Adam, [?] was saying today that Kenyan (Drake) is in the equation as far as returns. Jakeem (Grant) will return some but Kenyan is in the thought process. Has he been around enough healthy yet to be in your mind as far as an option on offense again or might this take some time?
He could be. I think once we get close to the game, we'll kind of decide what way we're going to go, who's going to be on special teams, how many backs do we want. So you know when you're this early in the week, you kind of have an idea, but it's in pencil. So, once we get closer to the game, then we'll have a better idea as far as these are the guys that we're gonna go with.
You worked to this point to get some chemistry on that offensive line; they've kind of practiced together for three weeks now. Where is your comfort level with that starting unit?
I feel pretty good about it. I feel like they're getting a good feel as far as the tempo of what we're doing - how Ryan's kind of doing some things with the line of scrimmage, making changes, and the way we handle protections and run games and things like that. Really, Tunsil's the guy that's trying to get caught up the quickest. Obviously, the rest of those guys have been practicing a lot more than him. Bushrod being in the offense before, it's just a different position, not really necessarily terminology. Not necessarily understanding why we do stuff so he knows that, it’s just at a different spot. So as far as them knowing them what to do I feel really good about it. Now its a kind of playing of each other and understanding. When a center does something the guards being able to play off of them and the same thing with the tackles with the guard. So, There is something to say about chemistry amongst those guys of front. I have seen a change made season and it worked as well but the longer guys can play together obviously the better they gonna do when they go kind of work together.
Where’s your comfort level with Anthony Steen making the line calls?
He is doing great, He is doing great, He's a sharp guy, he pick things up quick and we forget that... When you get thrown in there and all of a sudden, you’re the guy, that’s a lot on your plate. But I haven’t seen him really change his demeanor from the day he really arrived here - at least with us. He’s been really good as far as dictating what we’re doing up front.
[Asked about DT Earl Mitchell being back at practice after missing a month]
I think he can jump right back into it. Obviously we’re going be somewhat smart with how snaps he gets. I wouldn’t want him to run out there and play 65 snaps or anything like that. We are going to be smart as far as how many snaps he actually gets in the game and hopefully when he comes others we keep moving on as far as increasing those numbers as the season goes on.
Adam, the Dolphins are the largest underdogs in the NFL the first week. I don’t know if you’ve thought about how you might address that to their players or what your approach is to being considered a significant underdog in the game.
I guess its hard to focus on that. We have so many other things going on and I am sure like if we bring that up these guys are not going to focus on. You never hear players talk about, hey we’re big time underdogs or we’re big time favorites so you just put so just put it so far back . We have so many things to worry about than that.