Today's question: Miami Dolphins rookie head coach Adam Gase comes with high expectations, especially on the offensive side of the football. Gase had success working with quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow and Jay Cutler. Now, Gase is expected to have similar results with fifth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has upside but has yet to reach his potential.
But navigating through the AFC East won't be easy. Standing in Gase's way are three of the league's top defensive minds in Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, Rex Ryan of the Buffalo Bills and Todd Bowles of the New York Jets. Gase must face these coaches a combined six times per season. Can the offensive-minded Gase thrive in a defense-heavy AFC East?
Mike Rodak, Buffalo Bills reporter: The Dolphins have fallen horribly flat against the Bills over the past three seasons, no matter if it's been Mike Pettine, Jim Schwartz or Ryan running Buffalo's defense. Miami has a 1-5 record against the Bills, has been outscored by 70 points and has a minus-11 turnover ratio over that span -- levels of incompetence surpassed only by the Jets' offense against the Bills' defense (1-5 record, minus-81 point margin and minus-19 turnover ratio since 2013). Gase will have an uphill climb in order to get Tannehill to improve on his dismal 19.3 QBR against Buffalo since 2013. But the Patriots are a different story, and I can see the Dolphins continuing their success against New England on their home turf. Belichick hasn't won in South Florida since 2012, giving Gase a foundation to build upon.
Mike Reiss, New England Patriots reporter: Gase will do just fine from an X's and O's standpoint, but to me, that's secondary to the more important issue for any coordinator becoming a head coach for the first time. He's essentially now the CEO of the entire football operation, overseeing a lot more than just the offense. That is a huge jump, and there will be times when he will be pulled in other directions and need to rely on his offensive staff, specifically coordinator Clyde Christensen, to deliver his message. How he manages that -- and still stays directly involved with the X's and O's that helped him earn his first head coaching job in the NFL -- is what I will be watching for. Those who have made the coordinator-to-head coach transition often say it's the hardest thing to do.
Rich Cimini, New York Jets reporter: Dolphins vice president Mike Tannenbaum went against the grain, hiring an offensive-minded coach in a defensive-oriented division. I've heard good things about Gase in terms of his football acumen, but he'll learn quickly that life in the NFL is tougher when you don't have Peyton Manning running your plays. If Gase wants to beat the likes of Belichick, Ryan and Bowles, he'll have to get Tannehill to raise his level of play. Since his rookie year in 2012, Tannehill has struggled in the AFC East -- an 8-16 record, 30 touchdown passes, 25 interceptions, 75 sacks and a lousy 35.5 Total QBR. It's tough to be a playoff team when you get beat up in your own neighborhood. Presumably, Gase will fare better than Joe Philbin, who was utterly clueless as a head coach.