Who is Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell?
The Miami Dolphins cut ties with head coach Joe Philbin on Monday after the team started the season 1-3. Philbin never finished with a record above .500 in three-plus years in Miami and was just 24-28 overall with the Dolphins.
In his place, the Dolphins promoted tight ends coach Dan Campbell as the interim head coach. While the players are also to blame for the team's poor start, the coaching staff has had its issues as well. By going to Campbell, the Dolphins hope to change the culture of the team and locker room.
“We have plenty of talent. We have the people in this building, we have the staff,” Campbell said in his press conference Monday. “There may be some things that need to be moved and shuffled, I have to sort those things out, but we have enough to win. We have to change the culture. I have to change the culture.”
So who is Dan Campbell? Well, he's never held a head coaching gig in the NFL but he has plenty of experience in the league. He played tight end for 11 seasons from 1999 to 2008 with the Giants, Cowboys, Lions and Saints. He caught 11 touchdown passes with his best season coming in 2006 with the Lions.
After his playing days, Campbell joined the Dolphins as a coaching intern in 2010. In 2011, he was bumped up to being the team's tight ends coach, a position that he held until Monday when he was named the interim head coach.
Needless to say, Campbell was taught by some of the best coaches in the league. During his time with the Cowboys, Campbell's head coach was Bill Parcells, with Sean Payton as his offensive coordinator. That alone helps Campbell as a head coach.
He also understands the important of toughness and grit on the field — something the Dolphins seemed to lack under Philbin. Immediately, Campbell will bring those two characteristics to practice and game day, and he's already preached that early on.
“We need to become a more aggressive front,” he said. “Our front four on defense, our front five on the offensive line, we need to breed a culture of competitiveness, finish, intensity.”
Unlike the tight end group, both lines have performed very poorly in four games. Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake have yet to make a serious impact, and Ryan Tannehill hasn't had the time he needs for plays to develop downfield. Campbell seems aware of that already, and he hopes to change that with aggressiveness.
At the very least, he's proven that his players can produce. Jordan Cameron has played well in his first season with the team, while Dion Sims and Charles Clay have proven to be talented tight ends, too. All three have played under Campbell and learned from him.
Campbell may not be a big name coach, but he's ready to change the Dolphins' culture.