DAVIE — Adam Gase had an extra day this week and an extra day last week, due to Thursday and Monday night games, to do some self-evaluation of himself and every player on offense.
Jay Cutler is currently ranked 8th in the AFC in passer rating, which is somewhat surprisingly not terrible. Cutler’s rating is all the way up to 87.4, on the strength of back-to-back strong performances against the Jets and Raiders.
“When he’s had time in the pocket, he’s done a really good job of finding the open guys and getting the ball out on time,” Gase said of Cutler on Thursday. “The games that we’ve struggled in were where things were collapsing quick and we weren’t getting open quick enough. It was hard for him to get in a little bit of a rhythm. I always say this about quarterbacks: it’s the toughest position because you need 10 other guys to do their job before you even have a chance to do yours.”
In summary, when Cutler has time and his receivers get open, Gase feels Cutler is money.
Look, Gase really never wavered from the idea that Cutler as his guy. And to be totally fair, in his last eight quarters as a Miami quarterback, Cutler’s been quite good.
“I think the good thing with what Jay has done is that he’s gotten better every week,” Gase said. “The last two games that he’s played, with the Jets and the Oakland game, those are two good games back to back. This is going to be an extremely tough team for us to play, not only the personnel but the scheme that they’re running. This is going to really kind of tell us where we’re at.”
Miami plays at Carolina on Monday night, and the Panthers have the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL.
“It’s probably the best defense that we’ve played this year, so far,” Gase said. “The talent level up front is as good as you can get. I think the linebackers, I don’t know if we’ve ever – in our two years (in Miami) – played a group like this before. The back end has done a great job of staying as tight as they need to and contesting on throws. The safeties have done a good job just making sure that they’re staying in front of things and then when they get their opportunities, for the most part they’ve made plays on the ball. The linebackers always are going to be the toughest guys to go against just because of the way (Luke) Kuechly plays and Thomas Davis.”
The Dolphins have the NFL’s 31st-ranked offense, which would seem to make Monday a frightening proposition.
The Panthers are 6th in the NFL in pass defense and 2nd in the NFL in rush defense.
Miami needs to show it has truly turned a corner. Gase has been surprised by Miami’s overall offensive ineptitude.
“It’s been strange, those first eight games, just being where one game, we feel like we play well and we do a lot of good things and then all of a sudden, you get shut out really two weeks in a row, which is a little surprising,” Gase said. “We bounced back and then we had another poor performance. Really, we’re looking for consistency and it really has to start with the execution from the beginning of the game. We just need to make sure we’re doing it right at the beginning of the game just so we can have a faster start and gain that confidence. I think in some of those games, we didn’t do a very good job of rebounding from negative plays that happened early in the game.”
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