Adam Gase is a little too caught up in his regular job to be much of a Shakespeare fan, but his actions sure bring to mind a little passage from Hamlet.
The often misquoted line is actually “the lady doth protest too much, methinks” and it’s turned into a modern-day figure of speech to describe someone being overly defensive in an attempt to convince others he or she knows what the heck they are doing.
Back in most recent NFL hiring cycle, Gase was the flavor of the month as the pre-40 offensive wunderkind who was even able to get the enigmatic Jay Cutler to produce at a relatively high level.
Philadelphia got him in the NovaCare Complex and hoped he wouldn’t leave without a contract, but the Ypsilanti, Michigan native could write his own ticket and had the nice weather in mind so he took his talents to South Beach.
The perception that a 38-year-old man is ready to lead an NFL team, however, may have been a specious one in that a 1-4 start with Dolphins already has Gase desperately trying to prove his mettle to his own locker room by preaching accountability.
“We just want guys to do it right,” Gase said last month. “So whoever wants to do it right, those are the guys that we’re going to put out there. Talent is irrelevant at this point.”
The whole thing strikes me as an attempt to come off as a hard ass to many players who likely see the young coach as more of a peer than a boss, something you can bet coaches like Bill Belichick, Bruce Arians and Mike Zimmer don’t have to concern themselves with.
Everyone wants to be on the ground floor on the next big thing in coaching and the home-run scenario is the marriage with a young coach who can provide sustained success for two decades or so if the mentor clicks and things take off.
It would be specious to label Gase a failure after five games, although fair to tag that label on him with the context “through five games.” Semantics aside, though, the wins and losses aren’t the reason you should be concerned with the Miami coach’s long-term future, it’s his actions.
Gase is bending over backward to preach accountability — not necessarily a bad thing by the way — because he has to. Governing by fear and keeping everyone on edge with the knowledge they must perform, something Belichick has done perhaps better than anyone else, just does not come naturally to the Dolphins’ coach at this stage.
More so, he’s doing a bad job of it and nothing exemplifies that more by the fact that struggling offensive lineman Billy Turner is currently unemployed, one of four players, along with fellow offensive linemen Dallas Thomas and Jamil Douglas, and running back Isaiah Pead, released by the Dolphins earlier this week.
In the big picture, Turner’s fate really doesn’t matter for Miami because he’s an average player at best and the team needs significant upgrades on the offensive line anyway, but the organization sent the wrong message by releasing him this week even after his disastrous performance against Tennessee in which he allowed three sacks as the emergency left tackle.
Remember the dominoes that had to fall for Turner to be kicked out to LT in the first place. Starter Branden Albert fell ill and lost too much weight and strength to go and his backup and eventual heir apparent, first-round pick, Laremy Tunsil, slipped in the shower, taking him out of the equation.
So, Turner, who hadn’t played a game at left tackle since his days in college at North Dakota State, stepped in as a last resort, predictably failed and paid for it with his job, more of a muddy declaration than a message tied to performance.
After all, if Turner had turned an ankle pre-game, he’s more than likely still employed, so what exactly is the emphatic point made in the end?
Don’t step into an untenable situation even if your team needs you?
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SB Nation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America