The Miami Dolphins will enter Week 6 with basically a new coaching staff (barring the keeping of offensive coordinator Bill Lazor), and with a new "culture," according to new interim head coach Dan Campbell. Campbell, formerly the tight ends coach for the Miami Dolphins, has seen three different head coaches in his tenure with the team.
He becomes the fourth since his arrival in Miami and the eleventh in team history. Campbell enters an odd situation, as the Miami Dolphins are 1-3, meaning Campbell still has time to turn around what has already been written off as a wasted season.
And yet, as the Dolphins sit 1-3 entering Week 6, there is still hope surrounding what has been a drowned team through the first quarter of the year. Despite their increasingly difficult odds (with each loss), this team is in fact still alive.
One thing that helps? Their next two games are very "winnable."
I put winnable in quotes here because the first four games of this season were viewed as "winnable" for the Miami Dolphins. In fact, the Dolphins were predicted by many analysts alike to go 5-1 or 6-0 to start the season. That seems like four seasons ago. Instead, 1-3 they stand.
That being said, can Dan Campbell lead the Miami Dolphins to a 2-0 start under his new regime?
Let's weigh what stands in his way.
First, this Sunday, the Miami Dolphins will travel to Nashville to LP Field and take on the Tennessee Titans. A team that, like the Miami Dolphins, have lost three straight following an impressive week 1 win. The Titans are reeling after giving up a tough home loss last week against the Buffalo Bills 14-13 in dramatic fashion. This bodes well for the 'Fins, as they will face an opponent not only facing similar problems, but that struggles to close out tough football teams. Which is exactly what Dan Campbell has vowed this team will become.
Another factor that makes this a "winnable" game for the Dolphins is that they face a rookie QB in Marcus Mariota. Sure, Mariota has looked very poised and comfortable through his first quarter of the NFL season, but he has also shown he can make rookie mistakes if prompted. Campbell and new defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo need to get to Mariota frequently and consistently throughout this game.
Next, the Dolphins will travel back to Sun Life Stadium to host the Houston Texans, a team that Miami has failed to beat. That's right, the Dolphins are an abysmal 0-7 against Houston all time, dating back to the 2003 season, when the Texans were still a new franchise. That being said, the Texans are in a simimlar boat as both the Titans and Dolphins, posting a terrible 1-4 record.
The Texans have flirted with two quarterbacks in recent games, but it is Brian Hoyer will get the nod this week against the Jaguars. Let's anticipate he is the starter against the Dolphins. This is a quarterback who loves to throw interceptions when pressured. Dan Campbell should and will know this, and it would never be a better time than this game to bring the blitzes consistently throughout the game.
If Miami can do this, in addition to stopping the run, they should prevail victorious at home.
Campbell has a tough task on his hands. It is never easy to be a first time coach in this league, let alone one that has to enter with a 1-3 record and ghosts of what could have been whispering in his ears at all times. For Campbell, this is more than just a potential job interview. This is a chance for him to show his competitive side, a side that is apparent why simply watching this man walk around. He's driven, passionate about his players, and wants to win whether it is in a game of checkers or playing the Titans on the road.
Simply put, he's everything that Joe Philbin was not.
And I think it will show this Sunday.