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Now the Dolphins -- and fantasy football owners -- will spend the offseason trying to figure out if Gase can maximize the abilities of Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill was given a $96 million extension last year, but he has a 29-35 record as a starter.
“I feel pretty good about what we can do with him,” Gase recently said of the Dolphins' signal caller. “I feel like we can help him. It was going upward from the time he started. I know last year was a hiccup and I know he was disappointed in last year and obviously every Dolphin fan was frustrated with the situation that occurred. We feel really good with the staff we’re putting together, how we’re going to build this thing offensively. I feel like we can help with the sacks, we can eliminate some of these hits he’s taken. That’s going to be key.”
Tannehill finished the 2015 season hitting 363 of 586 passing (61.9 percent) for a career-best 4,208 yards, 24 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and an 88.7 passer rating. He was ninth in the NFL in passing yards, 21st in completion percent, 15th in touchdowns, tied for 12th in most interceptions, and 21st in passer rating. The completion and passer rating were down compared to 2014.
Tannehill was among the worst quarterbacks in the AFC on both third down and in fourth quarters.
In other words, Tannehill was a middle-of-the-road quarterback, the same thing he's been in his previous three seasons.
As Profootballtalk.com's Josh Alper pointed out, pass protection has been an issue. Tannehill after he took 184 sacks during his first four years on the job.
Gase believes keeping Cutler clean was a big part of the Chicago QB’s resurgent season and he believes that can be duplicated in Miami.
“I felt like we did a good job of it in Chicago as far as helping the guy that had struggled a little bit,” Gase told Palm Beach Post staffer Andrew Abrahamson. “And I feel like Ryan, him being younger than Jay was, is to our benefit.”
Gase isn’t coming to Miami with plans of being pass or run-heavy coach. He wants to switch it up depending on the opponent. It’s something he learned from Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was Denver’s head coach when Gase was the Broncos quarterbacks coach.
“I like to mix it up,” he said. “I like to be a little more of a variety. We’ll look a little different every week.
“A lot of the things I’ve learned was from Josh McDaniels when I was in Denver. That’s when we started creating a little bit of fluid style of game planning where one week it might look like we’re based out of the ‘50s and one week we might be spread out throwing the ball all over the place.
“We’re going to create this thing and build it to where guys are comfortable moving in and out of certain personnel groups, certain formations and whatever’s best to win that week, that’s what we want to do.”
The Dolphins hired Colts quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen as offensive coordinator, but Gase will call the plays.
Christensen was previously offensive coordinator of the Colts and Buccaneers.
Gase said much of his offense is actually based on the Colts.
“I’ll be leaning toward offense early but the great thing about bringing Clyde in is it’s somebody that has been in this offense before,” Gase said. “I really stole it from them and Indianapolis. So him walking in, the terminologies are as close as it can get to what they had in Indianapolis. He’s going to be able to set this thing up pretty good where I’m going to be able to make sure I’m doing my job as a head coach but at the same time I’m going to be able to have my imprint on the offense, be able to call the game, be prepared for the game.
“I feel like we kind of mapped this thing out. I feel real comfortable being able to have my hands a little bit on defense and special teams, let those guys do the job but obviously know what’s going on.”
According to Miami Herald staffer Adam Beasley, Christensen’s message to Tannehill: You’ve got a friend in me.
“It’s a lonely position in this league,” Christensen said. “It’s lonely in the locker room, it’s lonely on the street. It’s hard to find friends. It’s kind of a unique position.
“So I always felt like the No. 1 job I have is to be an ally, to be a safe place where a guy can talk and communicate and have a relationship where you can bounce things off and generate ideas.”
Beasley went on to suggest that if Christensen’s deeds match his words, he’s already an upgrade over the Dolphins’ previous offensive coordinator.
Bill Lazor was fired midseason, in large part, because of his dysfunctional relationship with Tannehill. The Dolphins quarterback couldn’t audible and had very little input in the game plan.
Christensen seems determined not to repeat those mistakes.
“I’ve been extremely impressed with him," Christensen said. "He’s been extremely productive and he’s played some awful long stretches of good football and seems to have all the things you’re looking for: A guy who wants to be good, who has it in perspective. I’m really looking forward to seeing him on the field a little bit.”
From a fantasy perspective, banking on a breakout isn't all that worthwhile an endeavor given the overall value at the position. Tannehill hasn't showed he has another gear.
But expecting a more QB-friendly coaching staff and scheme to lead to continued production from the players of real interest here -- Jarvis Landry and a hopefully-healthier DeVante Parker -- isn't a reach.
What about Jordan Cameron?
Cameron (35 receptions, 386 yards, three touchdowns) didn't deliver the seam route expertise many expected. In fact, he was fairly pedestrian. And considering he's scheduled to earn $7.5 million in 2016, the Sports Xchange expects a restructure or a release (I'd count on the former; the latter would put the Dolphins in a huge bind).
And the rushing attack?
Lamar Miller ended the season with 194 carries for 872 yards and a 4.5-yard per carry average.
"I think I did all right," said Miller, who rushed for 1,099 yards last season. "Of course, I wanted to get 1,000 yards. That was my goal coming into this season. But that didn't happen. But I think I did a good job with my opportunities to try to help this team win and just try to make plays.
There's a good chance Miller, set to be an unrestricted free agent, doesn't return to Miami (ESPN.com's James Walker characterizes his chances of returning at about 40 percent). On the other hand, it's doubtful whether Jay Ajayi (49 carries, 187 yards, one touchdown) could do the job next season.