Black Monday is approaching fast, and it’s still not clear which coaches will be on the chopping block after many NFL teams see their season end on Sunday. The general consensus for the Detroit Lions is that head coach Matt Patricia is safe and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter is anything but safe.
And although Cooter has yet to be fired, there’s already a ton of speculation about who may be the coach to replace him. Most of it seems like baseless speculation, but there’s one name that appears to be a very likely candidate: Dolphins head coach Adam Gase.
At the moment, it is no sure thing that Gase will be fired from his current position in Miami. However, there are a few reports out there that say it’s a real possibility. The primary source of those rumors is NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
With an eye toward the looming coaching changes, here is an extensive look at what may be coming in the AFC, including a surprise: #Dolphins coach Adam Gase’s future is in real doubt, sources say. Story: https://t.co/lUNhmUz6bQ— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 29, 2018
After a promising 4-2 start, the Dolphins quickly fell out of first place in the AFC East, and as they enter Sunday 7-8 and out of the playoffs, it appears Dolphins owner Stephen Ross may have had enough of Gase after two straight seasons with no postseason (Gase and the Dolphins earned a wild card spot in his first year in 2016).
And while Gase’s status is very much still up in the air, a few insiders believe he’ll land in Detroit if on the market.
I think Gase would likely wind up in Detroit. https://t.co/ZwLzeRkfQD— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) December 30, 2018
Here’s a high-quality Lions rumor for the tweeps who are still sticking around from the olden days.— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) December 28, 2018
If Adam Gase is available in a few days, expect him to be the offensive coordinator in Detroit next year.
Gase, a Michigan native, was considered one of the brightest offensive minds when he rose up the ranks with the Denver Broncos. In his first two years as an offensive coordinator with Denver, he orchestrated the No. 1 and No. 3 ranked offenses by DVOA—although those two years he had someone named Peyton Manning at quarterback. Of course, in his first year as offensive coordinator he had some help from an offensive assistant named... Jim Bob Cooter.
From there, Gase moved to Chicago for a year (2015) and helped Jay Cutler set career highs in both adjusted yards per attempt (7.4) and passer rating (92.3).
That was enough to earn him a head coaching gig in Miami. And while he was able to take the Dolphins to the playoffs in his first year, Gase wasn’t able to revitalize Miami’s offense like expected. He’s had to deal with injuries to his quarterback in every season, but regardless, he hasn’t seen the Dolphins finish in the top half of the league in scoring in any of his three seasons with Miami.
If Gase were to come to Detroit, it wouldn’t be the first time he coached for the Lions. His first gig out of college was as a Lions scouting assistant in 2003. By 2007, he was promoted by Mike Martz to quarterbacks coach. That’s where his emergence as a “quarterback guru” began. Since then, he’s overseen drastic improvements in players like Ryan Tannehill, Jay Cutler and even Tim Tebow.
At this point, it’s far too early to pencil in Gase as the Lions’ new offensive coordinator—seeing as both he and Cooter haven’t been fired yet—but it certainly seems like right now Gase is the leading candidate for a position that isn’t even technically open yet.