Could Miami Dolphins have Stumbled upon a Coach Who Gets It?

There are people in every industry who just get it. They are natural-born leaders and have the perfect combination of common sense, intelligence, and emotional intelligence. These people don’t necessarily have to have as much experience as their counter-parts because they are generally quick learners, people tend to like them, and want to work for/with them.

The Miami Dolphins seem to have one of these people running the show now. I know it’s only been one game and two weeks total that Dan Campbell has been in charge, but when is the last time a Dolphins head coach seemed to get it like he does? Don Shula?

Jimmy Johnson and Nick Saban were too controlling. Their “shout at you until you get it right” mentality has never worked in the NFL. It doesn’t work in any professional industry to bark at your employees and expect results. Dave Wannstedt and Tony Sparano didn’t have the football smarts required of an NFL head coach and made questionable in-game calls. Cam Cameron and Joe Philbin tended to overthink everything and didn’t have the personality to connect with the players.

Football isn’t a difficult game. It’s about talent, preparation, and execution. If every player wins his individual matchup the unit will have success on that play. Similarly, on a macro level: if you run the ball with success it opens up the passing game, it controls the clock, it tires out the defense, and ultimately puts points on the board.

So why have the obvious basics of football that fans and local media have been clamoring about for years seemingly escaped every Dolphins head coach? Am I the only fan who sits in front of the TV shouting at the screen, “RUN THE BALL!”? We aren’t idiots. We saw what Lamar Miller did last year behind a patch-work offensive line. So why were the Dolphins throwing the ball 75% of the time even before the game was out of hand the past 4 weeks?

Yesterday, it seemed as if I guessed what the play should be on the majority of the first series: run until they stop you. Use play action when you have momentum. Why was this concept so difficult for the first four games?

Similarly on defense, if your expensive players on the defensive line are complaining about the scheme and offering suggestions on how to improve run-stopping and rushing the passer, why would a coach be so stubborn and not listen?

There are many reasons Joe Philbin and Kevin Coyle are gone, but one of the biggest is their stubbornness to stick to a plan that isn’t working.

Going into yesterday’s game, there were 4 key aspects I was interested in seeing the coaching staff handle:

  1. Run/Pass balance – check
  2. In-game adjustments (not waiting until halftime) – check
  3. Guts – check (last drive of the half, and continuing to be aggressive in scoring the final touchdown)
  4. Getting the ball in playmaker’s hands – check (Miller had 19 carries, Landry on first drive, throwing to big tight ends in the endzone)
I know we are just fans and armchair QBs/coaches, but sometimes the simplest, most obvious solution is the best one.

Dan Campbell seemingly understands this. He is leaning on his mentors and on his coordinators. He isn’t selfish. He gives credit to his players and coaching staff (straight down to the practice squad guys). He just gets it.

Whether or not Campbell can continue this success with the Dolphins’ pending brutal schedule is yet to be seen. However, win or lose this season, I don’t think you’ll see a Dolphins team play games like they did against Buffalo and the Jets.

We’re all rooting for him. Wouldn’t it be refreshing for the Miami Dolphins to finally find that “diamond in the rough” head coach for once? We as fans deserve this. Let’s hope Campbell doesn’t get ahead of himself, stays grounded in his beliefs, and we finally will have a team that makes us proud.

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