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Gase: Support from coach is key to quarterback confidence

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Dolphins coach Adam Gase got the job in large part due to his ability to get the most out of a diverse group of quarterbacks, from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning to most recently Jay Cutler. Gase joined Friday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio for a conversation that touched in large part on his work with quarterbacks.

“I think it starts with the group of guys that you’re working with,” Gase said when asked about his ability to work so well with quarterbacks. “I feel like lucky enough to be around some great staffs. The head coaches that I’ve worked for in the past were guys that were very personable and quarterbacks gravitated to as far as creating an environment where they feel like the head coach had their back. And I really think that helps when you’re going through adversity, [with] John Fox being a great example. You always felt like he was always right behind the quarterback. He always made sure that the quarterback knew that no matter what happened he was side by side with them and then when you’re the coordinator or the quarterbacks coach, when you’re head coach has that aspect you know that really helps the confidence. It helps you sustain that fight that you have to have because it’s not always going be good. And as the season progresses you just see guys get more confident.”

Gase’s next challenge will be to get the most out of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. So I asked Gase what Tannehill does best.

“We’re still in that evaluation process,” Gase said. “I know that’s not really the answer you’re looking for right now but we still have a lot of time to really build this thing. We’ve got some time before players are going to be in here. So we’re finishing up getting our staff together. We’re still going through that process and then we’re going to be able to sit down [and] kind of formulate our plan, what we want to do with the guys that are here and then once we kinda get through free agency, get through the draft, we really can tighten that thing up. So we’re still a ways off from actually being able to say here’s exactly what he does well. Or here’s our group does well so we’re still in that process right now.”

Since it will be a process to get to that point, Gase then was asked to elaborate on the process itself.

“You take a look at his mobility, look at the throws that he does well,” Gase said. “Some play-actions, naked [bootlegs], drop backs. What does he do best? You know, the screen game, how does that fit in there? The run game, what does our line block well? What do our running backs do well? What do our wide receivers do well? So it all kind of fits, ties together and you have to kind of piecemeal that together and figure it out. It takes a little time. You do go through the spring and you try to figure out what everybody does best and hopefully by the time you hit training camp and preseason and the regular season you really have a good bead on it.”

Gase’s explanation underscores the reality that it’s not about imposing any system on his players, but about assessing his players and figuring out what they can do and what they can’t do before figuring out what the Dolphins should and should not do. It’s the smart way to coach players, and it explains why Gase has been successful with such different quarterbacks in playing style and personality.

And it suggests that Gase will get the most out of Tannehill, whatever that may be.

For the full interview, check out the podcast from Friday’s show.