The most frequently asked questions I'm getting from readers the past few days are ...
What do I think of the hiring of Adam Gase as the new Miami Dolphins head coach?
And what do I think of the coaching staff hires Gase has made so far?
This is my answer:
Every new NFL head coach and his staff typically get a honeymoon period. During that time, they get a pass on mistakes. They get the benefit of the doubt when things don't go necessarily right. There is a period during which everyone is getting to know one another and that time -- which often lasts a season or so -- is a hands off time.
And that is what Adam Gase and his new coaching staff are going to get ... from Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. From executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum. From everyone within the organization that is invested in the success of what has happened within the organization the past two weeks.
The Dolphins believe they have hit a collective home run. Both publicly and privately, there is a great sense of accomplishment about the hirings of the past few days. Indeed, publicly there is even more bravado about the hirings than there is privately.
Those Super Bowls, plural, Ross said Gase was going to deliver will surely come! "I think in Adam Gase we have found that person that will lead us to many, many Super Bowls in the future," Ross said.
And it's fine for Ross and his Dolphins to feel that way.
But not me.
Sorry. (Not sorry).
I am a grown man who has covered sports since 1983 and covered the Dolphins and the NFL since 1990 and I am have been around greatness and I have been around, well, the exact opposite of greatness. I have seen the Dolphins abound. I have seen them abase. And I've mostly seen the latter the past 20 years or so. So I've made a professional decision to not drink the Kool-Aid anymore.
I am declining to believe Adam Gase is an offensive mastermind simply because people say so. He will have to prove it to me.
I am declining to believe things are going to be different with this inexperienced coach after seeing the three previous inexperienced coaches fail over the past nine years. I am declining to believe that the inexperienced coach so far filling out his coaching staff with other inexperienced assistants is not a repeat of what happened with the last inexperienced coach who filled out his staff with inexperienced assistants.
I'm not going to believe the Dolphins have found leaders of men simply because they say so. I'm not going to believe the Dolphins hit a home run simply because they say so. I'm not going to think things are going to be different, simply because the Dolphins say so. You know why?
Because they said so before. And it wasn't true.
And some of the same folks who said so before are saying so again. And they were wrong the last time. So why should I trust they will be right this time?
By the way, if they say so, I shall report it. You deserve that. But me say it? Only when I see it.
New general manager Chris Grier said at his introductory press conference the days of Dolphins dysfunction are over. Great. Prove it. Show me.
Grier has been with the Dolphins 16 years so he should be quite familiar with the dysfunction. What is he going to change to make sure the dysfunction ends? Indeed, does he really have the power to change anything? Because he's the GM, but, um, Mike Tannenbaum is the epicenter of power within the Dolphins organization.
So Grier is going to do what he thinks is right without Tannenbaum's approval? No, he's not. So what happens if they don't see eye to eye like sometimes Dennis Hickey and Tannenbaum didn't see eye to eye?
The Dolphins say Gase has control over the 53 man roster. That's great news. Sort of. On the one hand, the head coach should be able to pick the guys he's taking to the battle. But this assumes he has a clear vision and plan for those guys. This assumes he has acumen in making those choices. How do we know Gase has that acumen? He's never done it before. So even the Dolphins are projecting that Gase will be good at this.
I'm not projecting.
And if he doesn't, is he going to ask for help? Yes? No? What's the answer?
Show us. Prove yourselves, Miami Dolphins.
Now, please, do not misread this. I am not saying you should expect failure. I am not saying Gase, all of 0-0 in his NFL career as a head coach, is already a failure. That is not true and that is unfair. And, if you have read the words in this space for any length of time, the search is always for truth and fairness. So let's not hate on anyone that just got hired. This is not morning radio.
I'm also not saying defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, a first-time NFL defensive coordinator coming to the Dolphins as the Cincinnati Bengals defensive backs coach, is going to be the same guy and get the same results as Kevin Coyle, the last first-time NFL defensive coordinator coming to the Dolphins as the Cincinnati Bengals defensive backs coach.
It looks strange, but I'm not saying it is strange. Or bad. Or wrong.
But neither will I simply buy into the narrative that the next three to five years are going be awesome, either. I'm not trusting anything until games, results, scores, facts point me to a conclusion.
I made a bad mistake last year. Knowing that Joe Philbin was not a leader of men, having told high-ranking Dolphins officials this several times over the past couple of years, I bought in to the 2015 Dolphins during the preseason anyway. I believed because I wanted to. I was just tired of being the success atheist.
Philbin was talking championships and that was different. He was trying to relate and build team chemistry so that was a little different. And the team went to Carolina for dual practices with the Panthers, a team that had been in the playoffs in '14, and dominated them. I mean, the Dolphins beat the Panthers at every level, every day they were up there.
And so I drank that terrible concoction that made me look at the Dolphins and see a playoff team.
Not doing that anymore. Not. Doing. It.
Not trusting their words. Because I've heard them so often that they ring hollow now.
Not trusting their slogans. Because #strongertogether is a joke -- just ask Ryan Tannehill, and those practice squad players he had issues with, and Miko Grimes, and Jarvis Landry and that running back he got into a fight with, and Joe Philbin, and Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake, and the six empty locker stalls between them.
Not trusting the OTAs and minicamps. Because football isn't played in shorts with no contact.
Not trusting training camp. Because that comes in July and August and I need to see results in December and January.
Not trusting the preseason. Because it doesn't count.
I am only going to trust what we see on Sunday. And Thursday night. And maybe Monday night, although I doubt it because the Dolphins, once the kings of Monday Night Football, have dropped so far that they aren't big ratings draws anymore.
So this is where I am: Show me. Prove it. I wish you the best, Miami Dolphins. I hope good days are coming. But I'm not going to say they are here.
Until they are here.