The Dolphins named Dan Campbell their interim head coach internally on Monday morning, and by Monday afternoon he was already acting the part.
On a podium next to executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum, Campbell was fearless in outlining everything that was wrong with the 1-3 Dolphins. He mentioned players by name, he hinted at a listless atmosphere at practice and he firmly challenged his locker room to step up to the competition.
"This is my sixth season being with the Miami Dolphins and this is the most talented roster we've had in those six years," Campbell, who replaced fired coach Joe Philbin on Monday, said. "We have plenty of talent. We have the people in this building. We have the staff, OK? There may be some things that have to be moved or shuffled as far as that goes, but I need to sort those things out, but we have enough to win. We have to change the culture. I have to change the culture and that's what I intend to do."
Owner Stephen Ross needed a shot in the arm and likely would not have made a decision of this magnitude if he didn't have a personality like Campbell, an 11-year NFL veteran and former Ed Block Courage Award winner, in his office already. As accomplished and likable as Philbin was, his personality did not mesh with a locker room full of dynamic attitudes. Campbell, who, as a player missed only a week of practice after appendectomy surgery, was dynamic on Monday.
"To me, the best teams that I've been a part of are the ones that, during the week, they go after each other," he said. "Whether it's practice squad versus the defense. They're giving the look of practice squad versus offense, but it gets heated. And it's intense, and it's people that are fighting to win. they want to get noticed or they want to do their job. It's not just going through the motions."
Among the other highlights:
» Campbell is not sure who his coordinators will be. Embattled defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle's future is up in the air to say the least: "I just found out two or three hours ago about being interim head coach. I need time to soak all this in, I need time to really evaluate defensively what we're doing, what we're not doing. My head's been in offense. Those things will come later, I don't have time right now. I'll get to that though."
» Outside of practice, it sounds like the Dolphins elevated Campbell to be a motivator: "I feel like I relate to the players. I feel like that I'm somebody that understands them. It doesn't mean I'm their best friend but because I've been in that locker room and I understand what it's like when you have - I've been at the top, I've been at the bottom. I understand what it's like to get that roller coaster. I understand what it's like when things start going not the way that you want them to go and what it takes to bring them back."
» The defense, regardless of whether or not Coyle remains, will be altered. "What that means is we have to become a more aggressive front, or a team in general," he said. "We need to get our front four on defense, our front five on the offensive line, just as a whole, we need to bring a culture of competitiveness, finish and intensity and to me, that's where it all starts."
These news conferences are a regurgitation of sorts. Campbell just got done hearing why ownership wanted him to be a head coach and in a whirlwind, he's asked to sit down and talk to reporters about the same thing. Is there any doubt a lack of intensity, focus and competitive spirit were brought up?
"I'm ready for this," he said. "I can do this."