clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dolphins head coach Adam Gase shares strategy learned from Patriots coach Josh McDaniels

The Dolphins head coach used to work for the Patriots offensive coordinator.

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is very close with Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase. The two served as assistants under then-Michigan State head coach Nick Saban. Gase followed Saban to Louisiana State, while McDaniels got a job with Saban’s friend Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

The two remained connected when McDaniels earned the head coaching job for the Denver Broncos and hired Gase to his staff. Gase served as wide receivers coach for McDaniels’ two seasons with the Broncos. While McDaniels was fired and went back to the Patriots, Gase remained with the Broncos and earned praise around the league for his work as offensive coordinator.

Gase is now the Dolphins head coach and reflected upon his time with McDaniels during this week’s press conference. Gase credits his conversions with McDaniels as influencing his decision to select the Dolphins over his other coaching offers.

“I think it’s just something that I did, learned being with Josh in those years in Denver where our discussions all the time were just kind of positive, as far as if you ever get a situation where I had this opportunity,” Gase said, “it was about how do you fit in that organization and how do you work with other people in that organization.”

McDaniels infamously isolated himself from the Broncos locker room, but Gase was clearly watching and learning from afar. He knew he wanted to join a team that was a good fit with a strong support network, and that’s what McDaniels is looking for in his next job.

Gase also revealed some insight on McDaniels’ strategy as a coach when discussing the use of Patriots TE Matt Lengel.

“Any time that a guy’s active for a game, you have to account for him,” Gase said. “And especially just being with Josh for those couple years, he always did a great job as far as finding the right match-ups, finding weak spots on the defense, finding the match-up he needed to expose someone in the red zone. He used those players to their strengths. So if a guy is really good at one or two things, those are the two things that he would emphasize.

“I feel that’s something I learned from him and really has helped my career, since we’ve been apart over the last six years, is taking that formula for myself. You just see, he’s still doing the same thing. He finds the right match-ups, he finds what those guys do well and he uses them in every game.”

No team is better at maximizing the strengths and talents of players, but it’s interesting to see the strategy so explicitly stated. McDaniels will find whatever talents a player has and will maximize their exposure in scenarios conducive to their skill set. Clearly, players with a larger skill set will have more opportunities, but finding ways to incorporate depth players like Lengel, or use the receiving skills of RB James White, has helped the Patriots overcome the loss of TE Rob Gronkowski.

Gase isn’t surprised that the Patriots still have one of the best offenses in the league without Gronkowski.

“It’s not surprising,” Gase said. “It has been consistent over [McDaniels’] whole career. He figures out what the guys that he has available to him can do, and he really puts an emphasis on that and doesn’t try to go outside that ability that those players have. He really focuses on, ‘What can I get this guy to do to help us win the game?’”

And now McDaniels will put that strategy to the test against his former protege and the Dolphins for the 2016 season finale.