Maintaining effectiveness, while breaking tendencies is a delicate balance for Gase

DAVIE – Teams across the NFL study their opponent’s tendencies as well as their own in an effort to develop an effective game plan. In order to get a grasp for what to expect from opponents, coaches watch countless hours of tape in order to get an idea of what they can expect from the opposition.

While self-scouting, and scouting other teams for tendencies, coaches consider personnel groupings; down and distance; field position and time on the clock.

Coach Adam Gase is keenly aware of his own tendencies. The Dolphins have been running the football on early downs out of 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends, two wide receivers) in order to get larger bodies on defenders to enhance the run game. The Dolphins have seen more success in the run game as a result of his willingness to play with two tight ends, but in order to continue having success running the football, Gase must occasionally break the monotony.

Breaking tendencies by running passing plays on early downs, or running the football out of formations that they’ve routinely thrown the ball from are basic examples of how offense’s across the NFL attempt to keep defenses off balance. Gase deserves credit for sticking to what works more often than not, but he acknowledges that there’s a delicate balance between remaining effective and breaking tendencies.

“That’s a fine line,” Gase said. “It’s tough because you know what your tendencies are. A lot of times you don’t know what they’re looking for. Just because I know I have a tendency, they might not really care about that. So everybody kind of has a little different spin that they like to use as their scouting report on us.”

NFL teams don’t have much time to prepare from week-to-week, which limits the amount of film they’re able to watch. Teams can pick film from any point of the season or season’s past to fine-tune their scouting report, which is further incentive for Gase to continue calling plays based on the Dolphins’ strengths on offense.

“They could do [watch film on] the last three or four games. They can say ‘Hey, we’re going to take games one, three and five.’ You don’t know. They could take games from when we played Todd [Bowles] in 2014. You just really never know; you just kind of go off of what you think might be some games they’d look at and try to build your self-scout off of that.”

It is clear that Gase desires to vary his offensive attack, but the Dolphins must do a better job of executing when running plays out of formations or personnel grouping the opposition doesn’t expect.

Tight end MarQueis Gray, who is heavily involved in the Dolphins’ two, and three tight end sets believes that breaking tendencies is critical to an offense’s success, but he also recognizes the importance of capitalizing on plays defenses don’t anticipate.

“Anytime you make big plays off of something the defense doesn’t look forward to, it helps us out a lot more and lets us know that we have that ability to create more big plays,” Gray said.

Fans have given the Dolphins’ offense descriptors such as “mundane” and “humdrum,” and if you’re one of those fans, you’re in good company.

The repetitive nature of the Dolphins offense at this juncture is not lost on Gase and his staff.

“Overall, we’re constantly talking about it [tendencies], and I got enough people reminding me in-house of how predictable I am,” Gase said.

Predictable or not, never change Adam – continue doing what works.

Brandon Howard joined the Sports Talk Florida team to cover the Miami Dolphins in April 2017 and will work diligently to provide daily Dolphins content and give accurate analysis of the roster, coaching and front office. Last season, Howard was the curator of content for Miami Dolphins Wire/ USA Today while aggregating high school sports results in Broward and Palm Beach counties for the Sun Sentinel. Prior to moving to South Florida Howard developed NFL content for Pro Player Insiders while covering the Cleveland Browns from 2014-2015. Howard, a Columbus, Ohio native graduated from West Virginia in 2004 in Athletic Coaching and Education. He also was a scholarship track and field athlete and walk-on football player. Howard was the 2003 Big East Long and IC4A long jump Champion and was a provisional national qualifier in the event. He also maintained his status as a member of the Athletic Director Academic Honor Roll during his time as a Mountaineer.