DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — With the playoffs now out of reach, Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase says injuries sabotaged the season, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill never had a chance to be fairly evaluated.
And does the head coach deserve to return in 2019?
“I don’t need to lobby for my job,” Gase said Monday. “I’m not worried about that.”
Gase said he hasn’t had any discussions regarding his future with team owner Stephen Ross, who faces decisions regarding possible offseason organizational changes in the wake of the Dolphins’ elimination from playoff contention. A dismal 17-7 loss at home Sunday to lowly Jacksonville ensured the team will again sit out the postseason.
Ross has declined to say Gase will be back for a fourth season. Gase is 23-25 at Miami, including 7-8 this year after a 3-0 start.
His biggest regret about 2018?
“I wish everybody hadn’t gotten hurt,” Gase said. “That would have been nice.”
The Dolphins lost 12 key players to season-ending injuries, including two top offensive linemen, their best run stopper and dynamic receivers Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant.
“We lost good players,” Gase said. “There’s a reason we started 3-0 — because all those guys were there.”
Tannehill missed five games with an injury to his throwing shoulder. And when he played, the offense was wildly inconsistent, fueling speculation Sunday’s season finale at Buffalo will be his last game with the Dolphins.
Tannehill has never taken a snap in the postseason, but Gase continues to argue the seven-year veteran can be an elite quarterback with a better supporting cast.
“Everybody is always going to blame the quarterback,” Gase said. “We just need everybody doing their job, and then you can really evaluate the quarterback. We haven’t had the consistency we need on offense to look at what Ryan is, really. Nobody helps him, and then he starts to try to do more than he should, and then that hurts him.”
Such was the case Sunday, when Tannehill’s ill-advised pass under pressure in the fourth quarter was intercepted and returned for a touchdown that sealed the defeat.
Tannehill said every position has contributed to the offensive inconsistencies.
“Start with me and just go right down the line,” Tannehill said. “When you have that, it all stacks up and you’re not moving the ball. We have to be cleaner, every position, starting with me.”
Tannehill and the other starters will assume their usual roles at Buffalo, Gase said. That’s a change from last year, when the coach gave younger, inexperienced players tryouts in the meaningless finale.
“I’m never going to do that again,” Gase said. “I’d rather go 8-8. We’re going to try to win the game.”
Even with a victory, the Dolphins are assured of sitting out the playoffs for the 15th time in the past 17 seasons. They’ll finish at .500 or worse for the ninth time in the past 10 seasons.
Statistics say that by winning seven games, the Dolphins have actually overachieved. They’re on the verge of several franchise records, none good.
They’ve been outgained by 1,463 yards. The team record is 1,321 in 1967.
They’re allowing 392 yards per game. The team record is 383 two years ago.
They’ve allowed 3,717 net yards passing. The team record is 4,000 in 2015.
On offense, total yardage will likely be the Dolphins’ lowest total since 2007. Net yards passing could be the lowest since 2003.
The Dolphins rank 30th in the 32-team NFL on both offense and defense. They’ve never finished worse than 30th on offense or 29th on defense.
But they’re 7-1 in one-score games. They’re 0-7 in games decided by 10 points or more, and have been outscored in those games 228-104.
Those are the statistics of January spectators.
“We share failures, we share successes,” veteran defensive end Cameron Wake said. “It’s on everybody.”
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