Why Dion Sims, Zach Miller see the Jay Cutler-Adam Gase reunion being successful in Miami

Why Dion Sims, Zach Miller see the Jay Cutler-Adam Gase reunion being successful in Miami

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — Take it from two tight ends who played in Adam Gase’s offensive system: Jay Cutler is an ideal fit in Miami. 

Dion Sims played in Gase’s offense last year with the Dolphins and got a glimpse of how good the system could be. Miami ranked 14th in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA last year, and it wasn’t Ryan Tannehill’s most productive season (DVOA ranked him 25th out of 34 quarterbacks with at least 200 passing attempts). But the hope was the Dolphins’ offense would take a step forward with a quarterback playing his second year in Gase’s system. 

“It takes a minute (to learn),” Sims said. “Even being there, the first year with Tannehill, I still don’t think that we were able to max out on the things we could do as an offense, move all those pieces around. It takes a little while.”

So in signing Jay Cutler to a one-year contract — a move made official Monday afternoon — the Dolphins still have quarterback who will be playing his second year in Gase’s system. There's just a one-year hiatus in the middle. 

By DVOA, Cutler was a top-10 quarterback under Gase in 2015. His interception rate (2.3 percent) was the second-lowest of his career, and his quarterback rating (92.3) was a career best. 

“I think Adam gave him full reign and comfort to be himself and to be a leader and really step up,” tight end Zach Miller said. “Be a little more vocal. Connect in a different way with other players and other people than he did in the past. I think that’s why he played so well.”

The Bears went only 6-10 in 2015, though. Cutler is stepping into a team that reached the playoffs last year and should have similar expectations this year. But both Sims (who doesn’t know Cutler) and Miller (who does) foresee success for the Cutler-Gase reunion in Miami. 

“I’m sure Gase knows how to get him going,” Sims said. “They’ll probably get the best out of him. I don’t really know Jay, but for him being around Gase and me knowing Gase, I’m sure that they have a good connection.” 

And said Miller: “They’re gonna get a hell of a quarterback in my opinion. A guy who’s already been in that system and knows that system and played very well under that system. 

“Obviously him and Adam had a great relationship with what they were doing, so hopefully he steps in and he’s ready to go and they get a leader, a natural leader on their football team and can win some games.” 

People actually thought that Garth Brooks was wearing a Bernie Sanders Lions jersey


People actually thought that Garth Brooks was wearing a Bernie Sanders Lions jersey

Karens everywhere are officially Mad Online. 

The latest -- and probably dumbest -- example yet? Let's check in on country megastar Garth Brooks. Sports! 

Garth was playing a concert in Detroit recently, and decided to butter up the home crowd by wearing a Barry Sanders jersey. As far as in-concert statements go, that's about as innocuous as it gets. Surely nothing could have ruined a night of Garth belting out the lyrics to his most recent song about truckbeds and moonshine and American Values while wearing the jersey of *the* great player in Lions' history? 

Ha ha ha actually no, of course things were ruined. People IN DETROIT somehow thought that Garth Brooks, of all people, was supporting Bernie Sanders. Garth Brooks! If you asked 1000 random people -- apparently they can't be from Detroit though -- what political candidate they thought Garth Brooks supported, not a single human being asked would say Bernie Sanders (although maybe they should?). Not one.  AND YET: 

I can't quite put my finger on what everyone who's making a fool of themselves on Garth's Facebook has in common, but I'm sure there's some sort of connective tissue. We'll probably never know! 

Anyways, get 'em, Barry: 

No easy answers: How Matt Nagy, Bears will try to fix run game

No easy answers: How Matt Nagy, Bears will try to fix run game

Let’s start with a pop quiz: 

You’ll get the answer near the bottom of this article. Anyways, let’s get to it: 

There’s no simple fix for the Bears’ run game in 2020. There’s not much room to dramatically improve the offensive line, with 80% of its starters returning. David Montgomery isn’t going anywhere. A new tight end or two may help a bit, but the point is, the core of this offense that averaged 3.7 yards per carry in 2019 (fourth-worst in the NFL) will be back in 2020. 

So the only place for the Bears to really go in search of a run game fix is with their coaching. And Matt Nagy’s firing of offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride Jr. and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand (and replacing them with Bill Lazor, Clancy Barone and Juan Castillo) felt like a tacit acknowledgement of where the problem can be fixed. 

In talking about not having a run game coordinator, the first name Nagy brought up was Castillo, who previously coached with Nagy for the Philadelphia Eagles. 

“(Castillo’s) expertise in football is second to none,” Nagy said. “And so I have a lot of respect for him and how he does things. Just the last several weeks that we've been together talking scheme-wise, it just feels really good. I just appreciate a lot of simplicity of where he’s at and the consistency too. So it will be fun to get going on that.”

It’s notable the only coach Nagy hired this winter who he’d previously worked with was Castillo, who’s had stints as a run game coordinator/offensive line coach with the Eagles (1998-2010), Baltimore Ravens (2013-2016) and Buffalo Bills (2017-2018). Perhaps Nagy believes he’ll be less likely to abandon his run game if he has more trust in the guys overseeing it. 

Barone, too, has coached tight ends all over the league but also has experience as an offensive line coach, including with the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos a few years ago. Lazor’s experience is with quarterbacks but the Cincinnati Bengals did rank eighth in rushing yards per play (4.7) in 2018, his last year as offensive coordinator there. 

“I’m doing a lot of listening and I think now is the time to do that so we can collaborate, figure out what went wrong last year and let’s fix it,” Nagy said. “Let’s be about solutions.”

Those solutions, though, are neither simple nor obvious. Remember that question at the top of the article? Here’s the answer: 

A (David Montgomery running from the shotgun): 115 carries, 478 yards, 4.2 YPC, 3 TD

B (David Montgomery running from under center): 127 carries, 411 yards, 3.2 YPC, 3 TD

The Bears’ run game needs a complete overhaul, not just a few tweaks, and there’s not a clear solution with the roster currently in place. Can Castillo & Co. give Nagy the run game he needs, and then can Nagy trust it on gamedays when he’s calling plays? 

We’ll find out in September, but those are two of the most important questions for this team to answer in 2020. 

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