DAVIE — Adam Gase stood before a room of reporters on Monday afternoon at Miami Dolphins camp, one day after clinching an NFL playoffs spot and said, with a straight face: “This is what I expected.”
Almost nothing else Gase said Monday could be as important.
Gase took a call from Dolphins owner Stephen Ross Sunday night, and certainly he appreciated the congratulatory gesture. But Gase wants to coach a team that expects to make the playoffs each year, and expects to be higher than a No. 5 or No. 6 seed.
Gase seemed dismissive of the notion of resting healthy players on Sunday against the New England Patriots, because he views each game as important, in the same way he didn’t consider this season over after five games.
When asked about what making the playoffs meant to him personally, Gase redirected the question to his team.
“I think for me it’s really more about our players and the fight they have shown,” he said. “A lot of people doubted those guys as far as how would we react when we were 1-4. And they did a great job of ignoring the noise outside our building and focusing on the task at hand, which was that one week.”
Gase had the Chiefs game on as background noise. He was busy studying Miami’s last game.
Gase seems to be setting a tone with his team, as good coaches do. The tone this week is pretty simple: we’re in the playoffs, yes, but this Patriots game is damn important.
“This is absolutely a team where if you look past them, they will embarrass you,” Gase said.
Gase said he was with his wife when his team officially became a playoff participant.
“I don’t think there was a high-five,” he said.
Gase was not in a jovial mood, because, frankly, he wouldn’t want his players to be.
Asked if he allows himself to smile, Gase smiled, sort of.
“I’m happy for our guys,” Gase said. “Our guys worked hard to get to this point and gave themselves an opportunity to keep competing… That was our goal when we started this whole process of what we were doing in the spring. This is the first step but we need to focus on what we’re doing right now and that’s New England.”
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