Coach Gase is to be commended for building a winning culture, one that is giving Dolphins fans back our pride. I had written that the game in LA would be at neutral site, and I may have been slightly wrong: that was quite nearly a home game. Our fans were in voice, optimistic, and present.
Gase has given us our team back through making great decisions about the culture of our team. His model has been fairly clear: give everyone a chance to earn their keep, run off dead weight, and emphasize high character guys. Doing so has built a reliable locker room, one that believes in itself and has the professionalism to do what it takes to win.
Lawrence Timmons therefore seems to have disrespected our core values as a team. We will all wait for some explanation, but I don't think there is any doubt that our team's leadership was blind-sided by a player's personal decisions. And now there will be the necessity of drawing a conclusion about how best to protect the culture and team Gase is building.
The knee-jerk response is "you broke the rules we value, please pack your bags." But this situation may offer a better alternative. There are times when any great leader must step above the model he has built. Everyone knows by now what Gase values in his team; might this be an opportunity to wisely invest some of that cultural capital in a second chance?
Timmons seems the right man to bet on. Younger players see themselves at career's end in this linebacker warrior. He seems to do everything right (see consecutive starts and think about the maintenance and discipline such a streak requires). Here, in his moment of weakness, will the team pick him up, a younger man might wonder?
Gase may have to move beyond his coaching philosophy here in order to make a decision that benefits all. And his doing so may make his team see that they are following a flesh and blood man, who understands the importance of rules, but also understands bonds of brotherhood, perhaps enough to forgive another man who seems to have forgotten- or at least de-prioritized- those bonds on a single afternoon.
Every player in that locker room has made mistakes; every coach has too. Perhaps this is a moment to show that we can be there, with open arms, for a brother who let us down, but who is still our brother?