By Abraham Gutierrez
The Miami Dolphins have been searching for a head coach that can take them to the next level for decades now. Since the departure of Don Shula in 1995, the Fins have had a revolving door of NFL head coaches, but not one has been able to deliver on a consistent basis.
In 21 long years, Miami fans have seen head coaches like Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, Nick Saban, Joe Philbin and a handful of others give it the old college try. However, no one has been able to crack the code and successfully implement a coaching style that works and delivers victories.
Following Joe Philbin’s firing during the early portion of last NFL season, Dan Campbell took over on an interim basis and did the best he could, all things considered. Nevertheless, the organization felt it was better for the team to hire a new head coach rather than give Campbell another crack at it.
Adam Gase's Hiring Ruffled Some Feathers
The decision to hire former Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase wasn’t met without some defiance. After all, how much can an OC whose offense ranked 21st in the National Football League in 2015 do to improve this Miami ballclub? And while the answer to that question won’t come until after the end of the regular season, one thing is clear: Gase appears to be a players’ coach.
On Wednesday, media members met with Dolphins players to talk about some of the preparation and the challenges the New York Jets will present in Week 9 of the 2016 NFL season. With history on the line, Jay Ajayi -- who will be trying to become the first NFL player ever to rush for 200 yards in three consecutive games -- was one of the most sought-out players by members of the press.
Jay Ajayi Sheds Light On Gase's Coaching Style
Much like he does on a weekly basis, the second-year man out of Boise State politely answered all types of questions. However, in the midst of the monotony that is player-media scrums, a very interesting story emerged regarding an instance where Gase actually took the time to listen to a non-starter.
“I felt like he didn’t really understand what I was best at yet,” Ajayi said of Gase. “We were still getting to know how we would work in this offense during the preseason and everyone was kind of getting in the groove of things. I kind of felt he still didn’t really know what my favorite kind of runs in the scheme are and how I could be productive.”
Not knowing the decision would put his team on the cusp of pro football immortality, Gase not only listened, but actually took notes and, as promised, implemented the plays his halfback requested. In return, Ajayi offered to give it his all, and as the Dolphins prepare to host the Jets, the results speak for themselves.
“He was very receptive and took notes down,” Ajayi added. “That’s one thing about coach Gase when it comes to our offense, he’s always receptive to advice on things we’re seeing because we’re out there on the field and we know what’s going on. So I made an effort to reach out to him and let him know.
“I wanted to let him know, given an opportunity, whenever you decide, if you decide to put me in, these are the plays I’ll be most successful at.”
With the NFL’s best rushing defense in South Florida this week for an intradivisional showdown, everyone will be watching to see if Ajayi can make history by putting together one more magical performance. For what it’s worth, Dolphins fans can rest easy knowing that their head coach would have done everything in his power to put his star running back in the best position to succeed.
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