tions and a retooled power structure.
Several underperforming position groups will have new supervisors when they hit the field for organized team activities this spring: offensive line, running backs, wide receivers, defensive line and defensive backs.
“Sometimes change is good,” safety T.J. McDonald said. “We definitely needed a little change, whether it was through the coaches or whatever it might have been, so if this is the first step they felt like we needed, then we’re all in.”
The biggest shift comes at the top of the Dolphins’ offense, where Gase replaced coordinator Clyde Chris- tensen with Dowell Loggains.
Christensen has almost 40 years of experience in coaching and agreed to be Gase’s offensive coordinator knowing that title wouldn’t come with much authority since the head coach would still call plays. He was a vital advisor, but as he put it, “It’s (Gase’s) show, and I’m just dancing in it.”
It won’t be that way with Loggains. Gase won’t let go of play-calling, but he brought in a 37-year-old peer and is willing to delegate some aspects of the offense.
The offensive line has been a major concern during Gase’s two-year run, and it was a mess last season with the forced resigna- tion of Chris Foerster. The Dolphins brought in Dave DeGuglielmo as an emer- gency option mid-season, and Gase settled on Jere- miah Washburn last month as a permanent solution.
Washburn was the assistant o-line coach in 2016 and left to take the same job in Chicago last season. Miami is keeping Chris Kuper as his assistant.
It’s likely no new coach faces more critical decisions than Washburn, who comes in without a starting five in place. With right tackle Ja’Wuan James pos- sibly on his way out, Wash- burn has to figure out where to play guard/tackle Jesse Davis, whether guard Ted Larsen works better on the left or right side, and how to get more out of left tackle Laremy Tunsil after a disappointing season.
Gase fired running backs coach Danny Barrett and re p laced him with Eric Studesville, who he worked with in Denver. Studesville also holds the title of run game coordinator. At receivers coach, Gase promoted longtime Dolphins staffer Ben Johnson from assistant position coach to the head job, and former receivers coach Shawn Jefferson is now the assistant head coach.
Gase retained tight ends coach Shane Day despite that position being a debacle each of the last two seasons and kept quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree, who was responsible for most of Miami’s red zone scheming last season.
Defensively, the Dolphins shelled out the fourth-highest amount of money for a defensive line in the league and finished 26th in sacks. Kris Kocurek, Ndamukong Suh’s first NFL position coach, came in from the Lions to see if he can do what Terrell Williams couldn’t. Kocurek also coached in Detroit with Matt Burke, who is staying as defensive coordinator.
Burke and Gase also made a change in the secondary after the team finished in the middle of the pack in passing yards allowed and in the bottom third of the NFL in opponent completion percentage and passer rating. The Dolphins intercepted nine passes out of 528 attempts against them last year.
There’s a sense that talent isn’t the issue, and that must’ve been Gase’s thinking when he fired defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo. Tony Oden, who was freed up by the head-coaching change in Detroit, has made a strong impression on players.
“Coach Oden’s a really good coach, great guy,” cornerback Bobby McCain said. “He knows what he’s doing. We’re happy to have him.”
Miami is also giving former safety Renaldo Hill his first NFL coaching job. He jumped from the University of Pittsburgh to become Oden’s assistant.