It’s been a long time coming, but change has finally occurred. A lot of Miami Dolphins fans were ready for a change in leadership, and they won’t have to wait any longer.
Standing at 1-3, the Dolphins have once again started off the NFL season with a losing record. The good news is it’s the last year they’ll have to start off with a losing record under head coach Joe Philbin. Due to the fact that owner Stephen Ross has given coach Philbin the boot, the Dolphins can now look forward to the leadership skills of rookie interim head coach Dan Campbell.
The fiery leader is someone who Dolphins fans are going to grow to love.
— DavetheWave (@WaveDavethe) October 6, 2015
In addition to Philbin, Campbell helped Ross with the coaching personnel decisions and brought along defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle to accompany Philbin out of the organization. Then he signed defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo and Al Saunders to an offensive assistant position to work with Bill Lazor.
Now that Campbell is the leader of men that will be held accountable for the Dolphins success or failure, should we start to place unreal expectations around the year?
The firing of Joe Phiblin signifies either two concepts for the rest of the season.
One of them being the end of the Dolphins season. Normally when teams fire their head coach in the middle of the year it marks the beginning of the end of the season. Losing the leader is normally when teams waive the white flag and proceed to worry about rebuilding next season.
On the other hand it also could mean that the Dolphins really needed a new spark and a change in their leadership, which could in essence galvanize their team. On October 1, 2012, Bruce Arians was named the interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts because head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. Arians led the Colts to a 9-3 record and they had one of the biggest turnarounds in NFL history.
Outside of this remarkable story, it’s very difficult for any head coach to step in and led the team to bigger heights than the former one during the same season. For some reason though Dolphins fans are optimistic that Campbell might be one of the people who can do it, and their not wrong.
Dan Campbell's vision:https://t.co/WWBXZBF8z3
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) October 6, 2015
One of the biggest strengths that Campbell has going for him is that he’s a former player and many players in the league and former players respect him and speak highly about him. Elite players in the NFL such as Jeremy Shockey hold Campbell in very high regard. In addition, it helps having a coach that played the game and that really shares the same passion about winning as the players he’s coaching. He’s even reached the pinnacle of football’s greatest achievement playing in two Super Bowls (2009 with the Saints, 2000 with the Giants).
Moreover, Campbell has been with the Dolphins for the last five years so he’s used to seeing the culture that Joe Philbin brought with the team. For the last few seasons the Dolphins have been mentally weak, they’ve been undisciplined, and they haven’t been a very good team. They created a culture of mediocrity and inconsistency and it’s only hurt the team in the long run.
Since Campbell has been with the organization for half a decade and he was able to see Philbin run the daily operations of the team, he should be able to determine what should and shouldn’t be done on a daily basis. Campbell had a first class ticket to see the error of Philbin’s ways from everything such as interacting with players, to punishment of players, interacting with the media and more importantly motivating people to play on Sundays.
In Campbell’s first practice alone he did something the Dolphins hadn’t done, he brought physicality. The Dolphins ran the Oklahoma drill because Campbell wanted the team to get back to the essence of being football players. He wants them to become savage barbarians that want to knock out and destroy the person who’s lined up in front of them.
The Dolphins signed Ndamukong Suh this offseason to play physical. They gave Ryan Tannehill an extension because they felt he was the quarterback of the future. They got rid of Joe Philbin and Kevin Coyle to ensure their future is brighter instead of bleaker. They gave Dan Campbell the job because they felt he’s the person in the interim to turn the team around.
By the end of the year we’ll know if it was the right decision.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.