Dan Campbell is the new sheriff in town, and everyone is on notice. Now that the Miami Dolphins have sent Joe Philbin into coaching exile, it's high time to assess what parts of this team can be fixed on the fly. Campbell seems like a fiery guy who will use his experiences as a former NFL player to relate to the players, some who are just a few years younger than the new head coach.
But the sad fact for Fins fans is that there are deeper problems with this team that Campbell won't be able to pep-talk his way into fixing.
Dallas Thomas and Jamil Douglas rank last among guards in the NFL on @PFF grades. 78th and 79th in the league.— Chris Wittyngham (@ChrisWittyngham) October 5, 2015
Dan Campbell's fiery talks won't make the Dolphins' offensive guards suck less.
So this experiment has not gone well. The Dolphins took a calculated gamble and chose to bank on their young, unproven guards getting the job done instead of shelling out some moola and signing a veteran-proven guard like Evan Mathis. The results have been, well, a disaster. Thomas and Douglas have been not only the worst guard tandem in the NFL but also the worst guards respectively. Realistically, nothing Campbell can say will improve that too much.
Let's hope Campbell and his foot-up-asses approach will light a fire under some of the more talented players, but the fact is that no words can make these Dolphins guards significantly better at their jobs.
What could fix it: Nothing.
Campbell can't fix the Dolphins' terrible secondary.
This is another case of the Dolphins being void of talent in an area of weakness, no matter how hard Campbell stares at them. Brice McCain, who was a decent slot corner for the Steelers last season, has been a turnstile opposite Brent Grimes in the secondary. He's been totally lost. Jamar Taylor can't seem to beat out McCain, which says more about him than it does about McCain's play.
The Dolphins rotate Michael Thomas and Walt Aikens at a safety spot, continually looking for anything similar to the production Louis Delmas gave them before being injured, and it's just a complete band-aid job in a league that has never thrown the ball more. If you don't have a handful of good secondary players, you're going nowhere in the NFL, and it seems as if the Dolphins have no more than two this year.
What could fix it: A better pass rush or an in-season trade.
No amount of Campbell moxie can help Brandon Albert stay healthy.
It's pretty obvious now that Brandon Albert rushed back to the field following knee surgery, and he's struggling to get his body back into NFL shape. Albert played in the first game, left with a hamstring injury, and has yet to see the field again. That's not exactly what the Dolphins envisioned for their Pro Bowl left tackle through 25 percent of the year. Campbell wants to press players harder in practice to get them to compete better on Sundays — but what do you do when your high-priced left tackle isn't healthy enough to participate?
What could fix it: The bye week or a strip-mall clinic in Miami.
Kevin Coyle won't become a better defensive coordinator now that Campbell has replaced Philbin.
Is Kevin Coyle fired yet? He might already be fired. If he's fired, then — taaaa-daaaaa! — this problem is solved. Coyle is a lost cause, and at this point, he must be already telling his family it's time to plan a going-away party. Players lost belief in his coaching long ago, and the results have plummeted to a point where his schemes are at the forefront of the reasons this team has underachieved. Campbell can ask him to change some things, but what's the point really? Just let Coyle move on. The team needs a new voice.
What could fix it: Fire Coyle.
Stephen Ross is still clueless when it comes to football operations.
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Stephen Ross has spent the money not only to build a winner but also to do it in style — that can't be questioned. What can be questioned is the fact that he continues to trust the wrong people. He's loyal to a fault and is far too patient for an owner of a NFL team in 2015. Ross has basically entrusted Mike Tannenbaum with all the day-to-day operations of the team this season, and that's off to a terrible start. Will Tannenbaum be given half a decade to figure it out? Because that's been how Ross handles employees thus far since spending $1 billion on the team.
Dan Campbell might be the right coach, but he can't make Stephen Ross the right owner.
What could fix it: Break the bank for a big-name GM coach, and give him all the power.