Miami Dolphins head coach Dan Campbell said that the leaders on this team need step up. This can be filed under the “Well Duh!” category. The actual question is who should step up and why didn’t they step up when the team still had a shot at actually making the post-season?
The Sun-Sentinel posted some of the Campbell press conference and then locked it behind a pay wall. If you have access to the Sentinel’s pay-per-read stuff you will find it here.
"“I think that just overall leadership is something that we’ve got to get better at,” Campbell said, via the Sun-Sentinel. “We do have leaders in that locker room. We’ve got good guys. We’ve got guys that work, but just as a whole for those guys to take ownership of how they handle their business and go about things and what they accept and don’t accept. That’s where it’s got to come from, and that’s the next step. That’s the step we’ve got to get to.”"
That step he is talking about should have been taken back in October right after Joe Philbin was fired. My question is who are the leaders that Campbell speaks of? It’s not Ndamukong Suh despite the fact he stood up and took charge of “his” defense. It’s not Greg Jennings who was supposed to be the veteran leader on the wide-receiver core. It’s not Mike Pouncey who has been bookended by two guards who can’t read…defensive line shifts. Reshad Jones? Maybe. Brent Grimes? Doubtful. Grimes is good but he isn’t exactly a vocal leader.
That brings us to Ryan Tannehill. Leader? Not really not vocally anyways. His displayed passion is only about a notch above Chad Henne. Remember Henne? The emotionless wall who never broke so much as a smirk?
Campbell is right to talk about leaders on the team but I got news for him. No one is going to step and take control of the team as a player with two weeks left in the season. No one. This is not about winning out with pride, this is about getting the season over with and either moving on or taking the rest of the league year and off-season, off.
I can’t imagine that anyone is going to magically find their voice between now and next season. Someone has to do more than simply challenge a player or two to step up and reason is because leaders are not made, they are born. They are specific types of people who command respect, earn respect, and have the winning drive to elevate the players around them. They have a passion for the game that goes so deep that anyone not helping them succeed may as well just leave.
No Miami has no players like that so asking someone to step up and be that person, it’s not happening.