The Miami Dolphins are one of two NFL teams playing under an interim head coach. When Dan Campbell was promoted to the position after Week 4, reporters didn’t know what to make of him.
He’s a big guy. Like, really big. And intimidating. But was he ready to coach an NFL team?
Campbell is 6 feet 5 inches tall, the tallest coach in the NFL. He’s so tall he goes into a power stance, presumably to appear like a regular-sized human, during his press conferences.
He’s also young. At just 39 years old, Campbell is the youngest coach in the NFL by a few years. Mike Tomlin and Mike McCoy are the next-youngest, and both of them turned 43 this year.
He’s been compared to Thor, and he’s been compared to a South Park character. Who he hasn’t been compared to is Don Shula, the only coach that matters in the eyes of Dolphins fans. Miami has been yearning for the success of old, and there’s been little patience in trying to get there. The Dolphins are 4-4 since he took over, including a 29-point loss to the Patriots.
It hasn’t been all his fault. Upon taking over, Campbell’s team philosophy was to establish Miami as an aggressive, physical football team. He was handed the keys to a team that played the opposite; with an offense that couldn’t seem to find any time to run the football. The result was too much pressure on young quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and not enough touches for Lamar Miller, a dynamic back in a contract year.
Things are beginning to change. Since relieving Bill Lazor of his offensive coordinator position, Miami got back to basics. Against Baltimore, Lamar Miller had more carries than Tannehill did pass attempts. The result? Miller averaged over five yards per carry, Tannehill was sacked only once, and the Dolphins picked up a 15-13 victory over the Ravens.
The Dolphins are turning it around, but it’s too late for 2015. So what happens next season, after firing their coach and both coordinators this year?
It’s no surprise the Dolphins are high on Campbell. He was promoted after only four full seasons as not only a coach for the Dolphins, but an NFL coach period. Despite his limited experience, reporters speculated it was a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ Campbell would be pushed up the Dolphins ladder.
Even if the Dolphins want to lock down Campbell for the future, they still have to follow the rules. The Rooney Rule prevents Miami from making the decision before undergoing a full coaching search, so Campbell will likely have to interview for his current job alongside other potential candidates.
After the firing and hiring, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said that Campbell was indeed a candidate for the permanent job. He told reporters he consulted several coaches about Campbell, including Bill Parcells. Campbell played three seasons of his 11 NFL seasons under Parcells, while he was in Dallas from from 2003 to 2005.