Dolphins Dan Campbell makes his case today


The Miami Dolphins have interviewed more than a few candidates thus far for head coach. Today, interim head coach Dan Campbell will have the biggest interview of his life.

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Campbell is scheduled to meet with the executive coaching committee today for the first time regarding the team’s head coaching vacancy. He comes in with knowledge of the teams framework, knowledge of the players, and is set on changing the culture of the locker room and team.

In his first year as a head coach, albeit with the interim tag, Campbell led the team from 1-4 to start the season to 5-7 down the stretch. He did this after firing defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. He did this after firing Bill Lazor. He did this with Lou Anarumo coaching the defense and Zac Taylor calling plays. And the players love him for it. But do the Dolphins who make the decision love him for it?

The consensus around the Dolphins is that they do indeed love what Campbell has done with the team. They love his energy and thanks to Campbell, they have boxes that need checked off with every coaching candidate they interview. Dan Campbell has stressed more physical play. Check. A culture change from top to bottom. Check. The Dolphins want a leader of men. Check. A leader in the locker room. Check. Everything the Dolphins want, Dan Campbell has started implementing. Check. Check. Check. Sans one.


If Campbell had been a coach longer this decision would be a no-brainer. He knows the men in the locker room but he lacks the coaching experience. He also lacks the ability to entice top coordinators and assistant coaches. Or so we think. Today, he will have a chance to walk into the meeting and tell them who he plans to hire and who he plans to fire. It’s on his shoulders now.

Stephen Ross reportedly wants Adam Gase but let’s look at this for a second. Gase has less experience as a head coach than Dan Campbell does. Gase is the hot name because of his work with players like Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, and Jay Cutler. Miami hopes he can work the same magic with Ryan Tannehill. Tebow may be out of the league but his one year with the Broncos as a starter, well, Gase found a way to get him acclimated to the NFL.

Can Dan Campbell do that with Tannehill? Not likely.

Campbell needs to walk a clearly defined line today. He needs to lay out his plan, his intentions, and one of those will be who will coach Ryan Tannehill. Zac Taylor isn’t the answer and it’s here that I would draw the line on serious consideration for Campbell. Campbell must be ready to fire a lot of the staff or at the very least reassign them. Zac Taylor has had four years to work with Tannehill and Tannehill has yet to progress into the quarterback Miami had expected and hoped for. He has made progress but not enough. If Campbell wants to keep Taylor, it’s time to look somewhere else.

The same can be said for Lou Anarumo. Anarumo did a very good job with what he had to work with but he isn’t ready to be a full-time DC just yet. Especially if Campbell is the HC. Too much inexperience will doom the franchise and while the Dolphins can wait for Campbell to grow into the role with a solid support cast, they can’t wait for Campbell, Anarumo, and another staff member to become ready. One is fine but not two and especially not three.

There are a lot of coaches out there but can Campbell deliver the staff with the clout and innovation to turn the team around? Can he deliver a Jim Schwartz type to run his defense? Can he bring in a top offensive coordinator who knows how to balance an offense and get the most out of Tannehill? Can he find the best quarterback coach that is on the street right now who can make Tannehill a game changing quarterback?

It’s very well possible that no one can. Campbell has to try. In fact all of the coaches will have to figure that out.

On Friday the Dolphins will also interview former Bills HC Doug Marrone. Marrone has the acumen to be a very good head coach but something doesn’t sit well with me in regards to Marrone. I don’t like a coach who walked out on his team because he had a “clause” that allowed him to leave and take all the money on his contract. And it’s not so much that he walked out as much as it’s about the way he left the Bills. He didn’t bother to tell the players themselves. That’s not earning respect in my opinion.

Marrone however has the strength to bring in a guy like Schwartz and can likely build on the offense as well. Something that Campbell may not be able to do.

On Thursday the Dolphins let Adam Gase leave without a deal. Whether by choice or by Gase’s choice. They won’t hire Dan Campbell today but they will have plenty to think about. If Miami is going to go the route of a first time head coach then Dan Campbell in my opinion is as qualified as any other first timer. In fact, he may be more so. For the reasons mentioned above. Today it’s his shot at convincing the front office that he is better than the other first time head coaches.