Monday, October 26, 2015

Miami Dolphins: New Coach + Winning Attitude= WINS!

My coach can beat
up your coach!

When the 2015 football season started, Miami Dolphins fans had extremely high hopes. Many sportswriters were picking them to go deep in the playoffs after off season acquisitions of skill players like Cameron Jordan, Greg Jennings, and Ndamukong Suh. With all the talent already on the team, with players like Jarvis Landry, and Ryan Tannehill ready to make the step from good players into gamebreakers, the stage seemed to be set for a dream season that Phins fans had been waiting for years to witness. 

Then, reality set in after an extremely lackluster showing in a win over the Washington Redskins. Fans were disappointed, but gave them a pass, assuming that the team just started slow, and they would come in and dominate the Jacksonville Jaguars the following week. That didn't happen. The Dolphins lost to Jacksonville. Then, for the home opener, they lost badly to the Buffalo Bills, and lost again in an even more abysmal performance against the New York Jets. The Miami Dolphins were 1-3, and would have been 0-4 had it not been for a lucky punt return against the Redskins courtesy of Jarvis Landry. To make matters worse, they were 0-2 in the AFC East, and the fans were demanding answers. And action.

Head Coach, Joe Philbin entered the season on the hot seat. This was a do or die season for him, and he certainly wasn't doing it. Neither was defensive coordinator, Kevin Coyle. Both were fired following the debacle against the Jets, and rightfully so. There was NO excuse for the pathetic look that the team was showing with all the talent on the roster.

So, Tight End Coach, Dan Campbell was named interim head coach. He immediately started talking about a change in attitude. High intensity practices with competition. He was saying all the right things, and Dolphins fans were cautiously optimistic once again. 

The Dolphins had a much needed bye week after the Jets loss, and the next opponent up was the Tennessee Titans. Everyone knew that the Titans were not a good team, and if Miami played a decent game, they should win. And, if the Dolphins players bought into Campbell's ideas, this should be a lopsided blowout win for the Dolphins. It was. 38-10. The Titans never knew what hit them. Cameron Wake had 4 sacks, and Dan Campbell got a Gatorade bath at the end of the game. The team looked energized, and were definitely playing with passion. 

The following week, the Houston Texans came to town. Another sub 500 team, but this was a team had a history with Miami. The Miami Dolphins had NEVER beaten the Texans. But, another dominant performance ensued. Going into halftime, the score was 41-0, a franchise record. Jarvis Landry and Lamar Miller both had two long touchdowns. Reshad Jones had a second pick six in 2 weeks. Ndamukong Suh came alive with 2 sacks, and Cameron Wake got 2 more. Ryan Tannehill set an NFL record for most consecutive completed passes, with 25. Not to mention finishing with a perfect passer rating. During the second half, Campbell rested starters due to the upcoming Thursday night game against the Patriots, and the Texans put 26 points on the board. The final score was 44-26.

So, under Coach Campbell, the Miami Dolphins are 2-0 and are back in the post season hunt with a record of 3-3. They are re-energized, and playing with passion. In 2 games, they have scored 82 points. In the first 4 games, they only scored 65 points. Let that sink in a bit. Under Philbin, they looked lazy and clueless. Under Campbell, they are focused, intense, fast, accurate, and powerful.

So, here we are. The Dolphins are the most improved team in the NFL, and while they have everyone's attention, they still have a long way to go. But, its one step at a time. Sure, the Titans and Texans aren't powerhouse teams, the Dolphins beat them the way any elite team would have. In fact, none of the elite teams have put up 41 points in a half this year. The next step comes this Thursday when they go to Foxboro to play the Patriots. You could say that is a first real test, but in my opinion, every game from here on out is a test. Sure, they might lose Thursday, but they might win too. Miami has won 2 of the last 3 games vs the Patriots, and the 2 teams usually split. So as much as I would love to see a win Thursday, I'm not going to get my heart broken if they don't win. Personally, I think they will win. They are firing on all cylinders and playing they way they were supposed to be playing. If Campbell had been the coach from week one, the Dolphins would be 6-0 right now. Also, if Philbin had been the coach, Miami likely would have lost the last 2 games. That's all the difference. The players are buying into what Campbell is preaching, and it shows. They trust him, and are willing to do whatever is needed because they believe in him. Campbell believes in the players too. 

Its a special time to be a Miami Dolphins fan. While Dan Campbell is the interim head coach, he has the rest of the season to use as an audition to be the actual head coach. The fans love him too, and it was evident at the Texans game which Campbell dubbed 'The real home opener.' As backup QB Matt Moore ran the Victory Formation, the fans were voicing their opinion of the coach. Deafening chants "CAMPBELL! CAMPBELL! CAMPBELL!" filled the stadium, and you could definitely tell that he has won the hearts of not only the players, but the fans too. Great things are coming for this team, and I am looking forward to a long and successful tenure of Dan Campbell as head coach of the Miami Dolphins

Welcome to the team, Coach!

PS: My coach can not only beat up your coach, he can probably beat up some of your LINEBACKERS!

PPS: Yeah, I know. I spoke too soon. Welcome to a day in the life of a Dolphins fan. #$%^&*%$!!!

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