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• Adam Gase won his first press conference. Hit it out of the park. He came across as genuinely sincere and determined to get this right. He may be the youngest head coach in the NFL, but he’s been part of the league for 14 years, been an offensive coordinator for three years, and brings with him plenty of experience for someone just 37 years old.
• Can you get a better endorsement from Peyton Manning, who in 2014 called Gase, “the smartest man I know.” And you know Manning has come across some pretty smart people in his career.
• But it’s not only Manning. Everyone Gase has touched in his football life seems to have come away better for it. The same words have been used over and over: Smart. Hard-working. Driven. Ambitious. Creative. Personable. He didn’t play college ball and didn’t play pro ball. What he did do was become a student of the game at a very early age. Why, he was drawing up game plans for his high school coach when he was 15 years old.
• “Players don’t care what you’ve done in the past,” said Gase, “they want to know how you can help them on the field and get them paid better.” Indeed, this is someone who clearly gets it.
• There should be no doubt of the influence Gase is going to have on this team. Not only will he be calling his owns plays, but he’ll be the final decision-maker on the 53-man roster.
• We saw a brief glimpse of the inner fabric of this man when, just for a moment, he got a little choked up in thanking the Chicago Bears, his most recent employer. And he only worked for them for one season.
• So with the dust now settled, I have a real sense of confidence in the football hierarchy with Executive Vice President Mike Tannenbaum, General Manager Chris Grier and now Gase all working together. This is the best situation the Dolphins have had in a while.
• If any coach has the ability to help take
• (Ryan) needs a guy that will have his back,” Gase said. “I will be working directly with him.” Isn’t that exactly what we wanted to hear?
• Yes, he has never been a head coach on any level. But there is evidence all around the NFL that prior experience is not mandatory for success. Look at Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh. Or Ron Rivera in Carolina. Or Mike McCarthy in Green Bay? All of them have been successful as first-time head coaches.
• It all came together quickly, didn’t it? But the truth is that Tannenbaum and his staff have been doing extensive research since Joe Philbin was let go three months ago. He had his priorities in order. He knew who he wanted to talk to and, once the Dolphins were sold on Gase, give Owner Steve Ross and Tannenbaum credit for closing the deal in a hurry. Gase was a hot commodity. The Dolphins applied an all-out blitz. They never wanted him tempted to go elsewhere.
• “I don’t know how many times Mike said 75 degrees and no state income tax,” Gase said. To which Tannenbaum replied, “I wanted to make sure he was listening.” If Tannenbuam is nothing else, he is certainly persistent.
• For those who keep track of such things, Tannenbaum said they spent 42 hours interviewing seven candidates and, during the research process, there were 237 phone calls made. Somebody’s ear was sore.
• And finally, some thoughts about Dan Campbell. Although he didn’t get the job, this franchise owes him a debt of gratitude for the way he took over a difficult situation and kept the locker room believing. Campbell has a bright future in coaching. While his won-loss record (5-7) wasn’t what he or any of us wanted, his passion, his energy and his perseverance were impossible to ignore. The fact that he led this team to a season-ending victory over the Patriots only underlines the impact he had.
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(On Monday, AC in the AM will take a further look at the Dolphins new head coach.)