Where can a Miami Dolphins fan go without reading or hearing the debate over the future of Cam Cameron as head coach? Anywhere? Doubtful! It is the topic of debate right now and rightfully so. The team is 0-12 afterall, right? Brian Miller, the lead writer here at Phinaphanatic, is in favor of keeping Cam for reasons he has explained in detail. I, however, am now seated firmly on the Fire Cam Bandwagon. I wasn’t so sure if I just wanted him to give up playcalling at first but I think I’m now seated on the wagon and probably seated there to stay. I didn’t give all my reasons before. So…let’s spell it out!
In the days that followed the Nick Saban debacle (I promise I won’t get started here with the hatred and vitriol I have for THAT loser) the debate started immediately. Fans were clamoring after the next coach to lead this franchise.
It seems that the popular pick for the next head coach was someone with a background on offense. The fans were going to be happiest with the choice of someone, anyone, to lead the offense out of the doldrums. Names like Mike Martz, Cam Cameron, et al, got bantered about.
What was lost sight of was this – it’s not about hiring a coach with a particular background but a coach who fits the job. Keep in mind that the best coaches don’t always wind up with teams that fit their backgrounds – case and point, Tony Dungy, Bill Belichick and Marvin Lewis were all brought up through the ranks as defensive coordinators and now head up teams with explosive offenses. Further, in Baltimore, the “offensive guru,” Brian Billick, has coached a team that has featured a dominant defense and a somewhat serviceable offense headed by a caretaker at QB during their best seasons. Finally, Don Shula, a cornerback as a player and a defensive coach managed to coach teams at both ends of the spectrum – from a team relying on defense and a strong running attack to a team that aired it out nearly every play.
The best coaches get the most out of their players. They don’t concentrate on one side of the ball or the other. But, Cam was brought in to resurrect a stale offense, to breathe new life into it. Bad move. The entire team needed a face lift. The defense was aging and the special teams were far from special. But many felt it was necessary to hire this offensive genius as if the offense needed more attention than the defense. Wrong. Check the stats. Where is that number-four-ranked defense now, fans?
His background was on offense that’s all anyone needed to hear…including Wayne Huizenga. Hired. Now, after twelve straight losses to start the season, the worst start in franchise history, we see many of the hire-an-offensive-minded-head-coach fans begin to question the coach that was ultimately hired. And for good reason.
I’m about to give you plenty of reasons why Cam Cameron should be fired. Feel free to keep score at home.
1) Failure to resurrect the offense. Okay, so the argument here is that the team has been a walking M*A*S*H unit and that a number of starters have been injured or placed on IR. That’s true. But looking back at the beginning of the season when everyone was healthy, where was the offense? A paultry 13 points against Washington was a bad start. That was followed closely by poor offensive showings against the likes of Oakland, Houston and Cleveland.
And for the statisticians among you – our team is ranked 27th in passing offense, 18th in rushing and 29th overall. This result from an offensive genius?
2) Questionable decision-making. The most recent example of this was during last Sunday’s game versus the Jets. The plays were apparently being called down from the offensive wizard we all know and love, Mike Mularkey, to Trent Green who would then relay the play to our rookie QB, John Beck.
When pressed about who was calling the plays, Cam Cameron used the phrase “It’s a collective effort,” not once, not twice, not even ten times but TWELVE times! How many coaches does it take to make a play call in Miami? First, it apparently takes a meeting of the minds, perhaps a discussion or two, then, maybe the consensus rules.
Why is Cam Cameron giving away his play-calling duties to anyone? Why? When he was hired, he was given the head coaching job and then pronounced himself the offensive coordinator. Can he not handle both? Was something special or time consuming going on in his life precluding him from preparing for the game? Or did he just want to give Mularkey enough rope to hang himself?
Where this gets hazy for me is this – if he was hired to do a job, and then the players see him giving away his responsibilities like that, how can they believe in him even if there is only the illusion that he doesn’t believe in himself? It doesn’t matter if that’s not true at all. What matters is that Cameron possess a self confidence and a belief in what he’s doing to demonstrate to his players that he is in complete control of the situation. He hasn’t demonstrated that and he certainly gave them just the opposite impression on Sunday.
3) Ted Ginn. I’m gonna beat this drum louder all the time, I guess. Whether this was Cam’s pick or Randy Mueller’s pick is simply not that important to me. How can Cam justify taking the “Ginn Family” number 9 overall when his strength is on punt returns and kickoff returns?
Does that mean that Devin Hester was worthy of being taken in the top ten? A player who won’t see the field that often is never worthy of being taken that high. Sure, Ginn has been given the starting WR job since Chris Chambers was traded. How has that worked out? Ginn has answered with 15 receptions for 176 yards and one TD. That production had better increase exponentially or the Ginn pick will continue to look exactly like what it looks like now – a HUGE REACH!
4) Lorenzo Booker. More than once, I’ve heard everyone who supports keeping Cameron tell us that the team has suffered too many injuries to really get a read for what he can do. They tell us that having all those players hurt keeps Cam from having the best players at his disposal…especially at running back.
So, with all of these injuries, are we to believe that Samkon Gado is our best option to play behind Jesse Chatman? Is this rookie who drew rave reviews from the team’s defenders and the media not good enough to garner any playing time? Really? Was that a mirage these people witnessed during training camp? And shouldn’t the youngsters get the chance to play now that the season is in the tank?
5) Game Management. Fourth-and-15 may become the mantra for all of us supporting the firing of Cameron. Scoreless game, fourth quarter, on the road, in field goal range, muddy field or not, going for that conversion was hardly a smart decision. Didn’t they hire Jay Feely because of his ability to kick in poor weather conditions? Well??
His game management came into question in the season’s first game versus Washington. The team was inside the Redskins’ 10 with the clock running out in the first half. No timeout was called. The clock kept ticking. Luckily, they punched it in or there would have been an audible wailing and gnashing of teeth from the fans.
6) Continuity?? Okay, so many want to keep Cameron in order to avoid having to hire a new coach and teach the players a new system. They argue that we need to give this trainwreck more time. He hasn’t had time to correct the mistakes made by past coaches.
I’ll give you that part about the previous chumps to wander the sidelines in Miami. What I won’t give you is the continuity argument. Ya’ see, if you hire someone to do a job and they aren’t cut out to do it, you cut your losses and move on. Period. More importantly, if you hire someone to head up a company and they suddenly decide to abdicate and allow someone else to do it for a week, like Cam did with Mularkey, then you have to ask yourself if that person really wanted the job in the first place.
Besides, Wayne didn’t hire Mularkey to do that job. He hired Cameron to do that job. That’s why he allowed him to have the head coaching job and the offensive coordinator job to begin with. To have Cameron give it away is a serious indicator that something is wrong.
Allowing Mularkey to call the plays twelve games into the season isn’t continuity in the first place. But this is a precedent that Cameron himself set during the preseason when he named Dom Capers interim head coach for a game so he could evaluate. That’s not continuity. It’s confusion. It’s certainly not something that will send the right message to your players and it doesn’t exactly give those players the greatest confidence in the man responsible to lead the team. The boss should be the boss. No one else. Not Dom Capers and certainly not the dim-witted offensive mind of Mike Mularkey!
7) Bottom line. Stats really don’t matter to me. The offense could rank anywhere from 1st to 32nd. Same for the defense. I could care less if the team sends any players to the Pro Bowl. It’s not my concern who plays and who sits. What I care about as a fan is wins and losses. And going 0-12 is something worse than anything I have ever seen this franchise endure. It’s embarrassing to be the punchline of the sports world. Besides, I’d like to have a little pride in wearing my team colors.
Injuries, poor drafting in the past, bad shell fish – blame it on whatever you want to blame it on. The talent level is bad at best, it sure is. But here’s a stat that should clinch it – no expansion team has ever gone 0-16…EVER! Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went winless during their first season but that was when the NFL only played a 14 game schedule. So, am I to believe that the talent on this team right now is worse than that of a first year expansion team?
The bottom line is this – the odds that this team goes oh-for-the-season are pretty good with the remaining schedule they face. That wouldn’t just be embarrassing but a pretty damning indictment of the Cam Cameron era.