Adam Gase returns to Miami Gardens on Sunday as head coach of the New York Jets (1-6), having traded in Dolphins’ aqua and orange for the Jets’ green and white.
“A little weird,” Gase said of the situation.
The last time he and new Dolphins coach Brian Flores faced each other was when Miami (currently 0-7), with Gase onboard, defeated the Patriots last December. At the time, Flores was calling New England’s defensive plays.
Flores says, “Gase does a very, very good job putting his players in position to make plays.”
On the flip side, Gase says of his rival, “He makes it very difficult to prepare for. It’s a lot of stuff.”
Since that December 2018 win over the Patriots, the Dolphins are 0-10, and as a head coach, Gase is 1-9 and Flores is 0-7 on the season.
According to Gase, “We have a lot to work on. We have a lot of problems of our own that we need to get corrected.”
The Dolphins finished last season ranked 31st in the NFL, in terms of offense. Gase’s Jets are currently ranked 32nd in the NFL in offense, worse than Miami.
When Miami and Gase upset Bill Belichick and Flores’ Patriots last year, the Dolphins were 7-6. They were also positioned for a playoff run. That changed very quickly.
On offense, Miami started against New England: Ryan Tannehill (traded), Frank Gore (Buffalo), Danny Amendola (Detroit), Kenny Stills (traded), DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, Laremy Tunsil (traded), Ted Larsen (Chicago), Travis Swanson (retired), Jesse Davis, and Ja’Wuan James (Denver).
“Most of those guys are gone,” says Parker, the only Dolphin remaining from that roster.
On defense that day, Miami started: Robert Quinn (traded), Cameron Wake (Tennessee), Akeem Spence (Jaguars), Davon Godchaux, Kiko Alonso (traded), Raekwon McMillan, Minkah Fitzpatrick (traded), Bobby McCain, T.J. McDonald (cut), Reshad Jones, and Walt Aikens.
Things have been downhill for Gase since then. He ended up with three losses, to finish 7-9.
Still, he says, “I can’t worry about what could have been.”
Some are not as confident as he is going into Sunday. The game comes with low expectations. According to Elias Research, the Dolphins-Jets contest is the only one in NFL history that pits two teams that have each been outscored by more than 100 points in the first half of the season.
Anything is possible, even for this game to wrap up in a way similar to when Gase and Flores last met.
Time will tell.
Kickoff time is 1 p.m. Sunday, on CBS.