Is Dan Campbell the next Dolphins head coach?


The Miami Dolphins have Dan Campbell. They may not let him go. They surely don’t want to let him go. A new coach may not want Campbell around and that could be problematic.

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Assuming that Miami’s love for Campbell is real and by all accounts it is based on how the front office talks about him, we have to believe that during interviews with coaching candidates, retaining Campbell is something that is brought up. It makes sense. But here is the thing, Miami seems to love him far too much.

After listening to yesterdays Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier press conference I realized that something didn’t seem right. Something felt, almost, typical. Backhanded even. Not a slap just a touch of the shoulder. Something that said to me the Dolphins are really considering Dan Campbell to remain in his position as head coach.

On Monday Tannenbaum opened the presser with this.

"“Dan Campbell is a candidate. We told that to Dan when he got the job; both Steve (Ross) and I told him that. I want to publicly thank Dan for everything that he did. And yesterday’s result was nothing short of remarkable in terms of his leadership and his ability to manage his staff and the players to give such a great effort all the way through the end of the season. That’s just a great reflection of him as a person and as a coach.”"

O.k. nothing major. It’s a simple tip of the hat to a man who took over a bad situation and finished a respectable 5-7 given the changes to both coordinators. He should be commended for sure. Tannenbaum continued to talk about Campbell and while he said nothing that sticks out as a “Ahhhh, I see what you’re doing” moment, the remarks just made step back a bit.

"“And I think what Coach Campbell did will never be understood, what he accomplished and changing coordinators where he did. Here’s a man who coached four players and the next day he’s the head coach of an NFL team. That’s really remarkable.”"

When asked specifically about whether or not they would recommend Campbell being retained by the next head coach, Tannenbaum said this.

"“Well again, I think I can give you a better answer to that next week. We’re going to go through the process. Dan is going to have his day in court. He’s been told that. We wanted to give him some days so he can put his plan together in earnest. I believe that’s what he’s working on now. If you hear Metallica or there’s a lot of dipping chewed upstairs, he’s probably taking a study break right now; but I’m sure we’ll get his best efforts in the interview.”"

Again, nothing earth shattering here by any means, it’s hunch, gas pocket in my stomach. Call it what you want. Something said to me that Campbell is a legitimate candidate for the job. As I heard Mike Smith was interviewing for the job I asked myself if Smith was really a candidate for the head coaching job or a candidate for Campbell’s staff. It would make some sense to at least explore the options on the table should Campbell be retained.

Interestingly enough, I believe that Campbell is in the long-term plans for Miami. They know they have an up and coming head coach who might not be ready just yet. It’s important to keep that in mind because a young head coach, an Adam Gase type coach may not want to have competition placed on his staff by the team. A coach like Shanahan, Coughlin, or even Mike Smith might be more willing realizing that in 3-5 years Campbell could be ready. Something Armando Salguero said in his blog today. Something I eluded to in yesterday’s Mike Shanahan piece.

That is of course if the Dolphins don’t just hand him the job now, let him grow with some top coordinators and see what he can do with that degree of help and better players that fit his style. Like I said, this is nothing more than a feeling. And I have been wrong before. A lot in fact. It’s not a bad move if the Dolphins do keep him. The players respect him and that’s half the battle.