NFL Wire News

Campbell vows to change culture as Dolphins coach


The Sports Xchange

DAVIE, Fla. – Black Monday came early for Joe Philbin as the slumping Miami Dolphins fired him as head coach one day after a humiliating 27-14 loss to the New York Jets at Wembley Stadium.

The Dolphins named tight ends coach Dan Campbell as interim coach.

Philbin, the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, had a 24-28 record in three-plus seasons, including a 7-13 mark against the AFC East. He never made the playoffs or finished better than 8-8.

Campbell, 39, becomes the youngest coach in the NFL. He’s credited with preparing Charles Clay in 2013 after veteran Dustin Keller sustained a season-ending injury in preseason, and preparing Dion Sims, the 2013 fourth-round draft pick.

“This was a tough decision for me to make knowing how tirelessly Joe worked in his four years here to make this a winning team,” said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. “He is a man of the highest character and integrity that I developed a close personal relationship with. I am extremely disappointed with how we have started the season, but I feel confident that we can improve quickly with the talent we have on our roster.”

Campbell expressed similar thoughts.

“I feel there is a lot more we can get out of these guys,” Campbell said. “We have to change the culture. This is the most talented team we’ve had.”

Campbell said one of his strengths is that he can relate to the players because he’s been there. He was a member of the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl winning team in 2010.

“I’ve been at the top, I’ve been at the bottom,” he said. “I understand what it’s like when things start going … not the way you want them to. No player is the same, no coach is the same.”

Campbell, a fifth-year Dolphins coach and former Texas A&M standout who played for the New York Giants (1999-2002), Dallas Cowboys (2003-05), Detroit Lions (2006-08) and New Orleans Saints (2009), where he won a Super Bowl, sounds as though he’s making a playoff run with the Dolphins (1-3).

“I’m not here just to finish the season up,” Campbell said. “That’s not my plan. We’re coming here to win games. It’s still early. We have time to turn everything around. But we can’t wait. This is my sixth season with the Miami Dolphins, and this is the most talented roster we have had in those six years. We have plenty of talent.

“We need to change the culture to where it is so competitive on Wednesday, Thursday, maybe even Friday, that it’s intense and heated. We may have to break up a few (fights) – that’s when things get good. You can’t go through the motions Wednesday and Thursday and turn it up on Sunday. It doesn’t work that way.”

Campbell said he is prepared to push each player – no matter their status – to get the best performance of each player come Sunday.

“You can’t just go through the motions through the week and turn it on (Sunday),” he said. “That goes for the best player we have on this team. Mike Pouncey, as great as he is, needs to be pushed. Every single day.

“That goes for (Ndamukong) Suh. That goes for (Koa) Misi. They have to be worked. They have to be challenged. That’s the first thing I’m changing. I want them to be challenged. I want them to have to compete.”

After receiving the news he had been fired, Philbin thanked Ross, the players and coaches, and Dolphins fans.

“This is a tremendous organization from top to bottom that has a talented and dedicated staff,” Philbin said. “I want to especially thank the players, coaches and football staff who have worked so unselfishly and represented the team with dignity and class.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the incredible fan base who has supported me and my family unconditionally since day one,” he added.

Club president Mike Tannenbaum said the timing was right if the Dolphins were serious about making a change and trying to compete this year.

“We weren’t happy the direction the team was going. We felt like this was the best opportunity to make a change and make an impact this season. The record was what it was. The timing was right, with the bye week, with 12 games left this season,” he said.

Philbin is the first head coach in the NFL to lose his job this season.

Traveling to London has proved to be hazardous to an NFL coaching career for two straight seasons now.

Last year, the Oakland Raiders fired coach Dennis Allen after his team was embarrassed 38-14 in London by Philbin and the Dolphins.

Philbin, a low-key, philosophical sort, never seemed to establish a bond with his players. During his first two seasons video showed him reading off index cards during his postgame speeches in victorious locker rooms instead of speaking from the heart.

Reports have said it’s up to Campbell whether he wants to keep the current staff intact.


–PASSING OFFENSE: F. Miami was ineffective in pass protection, allowing three sacks and pressure on almost every drop-back. QB Ryan Tannehill threw two INTs in the end zone. WRs Kenny Stills (five receptions, 81 yards, one TD) and Jarvis Landry (four receptions, 40 yards) were bright spots. But this was a disaster area.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: F. Nothing worked, and they didn’t try very often. WR Jarvis Landry (two carries, 29 yards) was the leading rusher. RB Lamar Miller (seven carries, 26 yards) didn’t have many opportunities. The Dolphins hardly tried to run after falling behind, 10-0, in the first quarter. That’s been a trend all season. This shortcoming is crushing the offense.

–PASS DEFENSE: F. CB Brent Grimes went out in the first quarter with a right knee injury and that was the end of the meaningful defense. Jets WR Brandon Marshall (seven receptions, 128 yards) had 106 receiving yards in the first half. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (16-for-19, 218 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) wasn’t especially sharp, but he was better than the Dolphins’ defense.

–RUSH DEFENSE: F. Jets RB Chris Ivory rushed for a career-best 166 yards. The Jets rushed for 207 yards as a team, and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (nine carries, 34 yards) gained more yards than any Dolphins ball carrier. Miami was gashed for 207 yards on the ground.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: D. Numerous penalties doomed this unit. There was even a false start by rookie CB Bobby McCain as he was serving as a gunner on punt coverage. The lack of discipline on the team has affected special teams, and it’s been hurtful.

–COACHING: F. Ex-coach Joe Philbin was fired Monday largely because his team was unresponsive in four games this season. They consistently gave lackluster efforts, which was the case Sunday against the New York Jets, and it’s no surprise Philbin lost his job. The problem for interim coach Dan Campbell, in his fifth-year as TEs coach, is offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, and special teams coach Darren Rizzi are all presiding over slumping units.

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