Report: Dolphins thought Chad O’Shea’s offense was too complex

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Former Dolphins offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea was in the middle of his exit interview with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, when head coach Brian Flores had someone interrupt, to break the news that it would be O’Shea’s exit interview as well.

That anecdote was part of a longer report by the Miami Herald, which painted a picture of a coach trying to do too much with a young team last year.

Hours after O’Shea was fired, Flores replaced him with veteran coordinator Chan Gailey, and players believe that will make things a bit easier to grasp.

The primary complaint about O’Shea in the story cooks down to the idea that he was teaching Patriots-level offensive complexity to a team that lacked years of experience in the system. One player described it as a “[expletive] show,” and another said the instruction and installation was a “disaster.”

Of course, it’s easy to beat up on O’Shea, who wasn’t gifted with an overwhelming amount of depth or talent to work with. Brought along with Flores from New England (where he had spent 10 years as receivers coach), it’s understandable that he’d want to coach things he knew. O’Shea has since been hired as receivers coach/passing game coordinator with the Browns.

Fitzpatrick was apparently surprised to learn that O’Shea had been fired in the middle of his meeting, and it’s unclear if he knew Gailey was on the way (the two had some success together with the Jets and Bills).

The Dolphins are going to be young again this year, with the 37-year-old Fitzpatrick the only offensive player over 30. And there’s a strong likelihood that at some point soon, Gailey will be breaking in first-rounder Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback.

Keeping things simpler should help, though it appears Flores decided after his own rookie year that having some experience on his staff would help.

12 responses to “Report: Dolphins thought Chad O’Shea’s offense was too complex

  1. It was the right move, even though at the time I was “SHOCKED” by the firing.

  2. If the Dolphins players don’t start getting smarter players on their team, they’ll never get better. It’s tough to win in the the NFL with a playbook that consists of run left, run right, desperation pass, and punt…

  3. Ok if you wanted to axe O’Shea, but Chan Gailey??? He’s a retread’s retread…..

  4. A HC can hire his coaches, but that was a poor way of handling the firing.

  5. Chan Gailey? He was head coach of the Cowboys in the late 90s and as I remember was spectacularly underwhelming.

  6. Yea complex offenses aren’t really a big thing in the nfl. It’s why you see Sean Mcvay and Kyle shanahan piping up in Super Bowls, usually against other Bronze Age offenses, like josh mcdaniels or Andy Reid. Teams certainly hired Matt lafluer and Kliff kingsbury to ya know keep it simple.

  7. If Flores knew this was a problem, why didn’t he tell him to scale it back earlier in the year? O’Shea should have realized he was working with a very young inexperienced players, that he should have Kept It Simple Stupid.

  8. It’s football not physics. The complexities break out to individual position groups. The QB would be better knowing how each unit is supposed to function on each play given variables but I find it hard to believe Fitzpatrick couldn’t learn it. I’d say that the wonderlic has value (his was high) when some players just can’t learn things fast or good enough. I suspect there may be some individual freelancing that destroys effectiveness and that is usually done by youthful or me-first stathounds. The patriots did not have many of those guys so their offense seemed to work with ease. Miami may just have some guys that see a better opportunity for themselves if they deviate but lack the knowledge to understand how bad that decision impacts the rest of the play.

  9. Read the original article in the Miami Herald and there are a couple of additional points.
    1. There was a lot of tension at practices. O’Shea was complaining about players not knowing the Playbook and player were saying that he was not teaching them.
    2. Fitzpatrick learned the playbook easily and was given a lot of credit for keeping the team together. The team went 5-4 in the last nine games. The offense scored 25.4 points per game in those games.
    3. It seemed more of the way O’Shea did stuff than what he did. Flores is tough and demand results. But he comes accross as a player’s coach.
    It is difficult to move from an OC who is producing decent results with little talent at the end of the season. I give Flores credit for taking the risk.

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