Dan Campbell has a word for anyone who has gotten used to losing:
And no matter how much time he has left as Dolphins coach — three games or three decades — Campbell doesn’t plan on going out as one.
“I’ve been here six years and nothing has gone the way that we wanted it to be,” Campbell said. “Every year we come in with new hope and, there again, we’re going to have another season where we have a playoff drought. I make damn sure that it stings and it hurts because the minute you go numb to that, then you’re just a loser. I want it to hurt.”
Campbell added: “It motivates me and it pisses me off. It’s not too much for me to handle. To me, that’s how you get motivated to win because you get tired of losing and it stinks.”
When Campbell took the job on an interim basis in October, he vowed — if nothing else — to change the culture in Miami.
Has he succeeded? How hard his team fights as it finishes out another lost season might tell the tale.
With Monday night’s loss to the Giants putting the playoffs officially out of reach, the Dolphins (5-8) have nothing left to play for but “the love of the game,” as Campbell put it.
They can’t even play spoiler this week; the Chargers (3-10) are even worse than the Dolphins.
And there’s a growing sense that Campbell’s chance to win the job on a permanent basis has slipped from his grip. Would running the table to finish 8-8 make a difference? Hard to say — and Campbell didn’t even want to entertain the question Tuesday.
“I know you guys are going to want more of an answer,” Campbell said. “I’ll be honest with you, I just want to win. And all I care about is San Diego. I just want to finish this season out. That’s it.”
If Campbell is going to go out, he’s going out his way — honestly and without regrets.
He acknowledged what anyone with eyes this season has seen — that the secondary is a problem, and Brent Grimes isn’t the same player as in years past.
Grimes has now been exposed by three top-flight receivers (Odell Beckham went for 166 yards on seven catches Monday, and much of that production came against the Dolphins’ Pro Bowl corner). And that’s despite Grimes being “completely healthy,” Campbell said.
“They’re playing their keys,” Campbell said. “If coverage dictates that they go his way, then they’ll throw it. They made some plays.”
Does that mean receivers are getting open more against Grimes this season?
“Yeah, I guess so,” Campbell said. “There’s plays that are being made out there. I think, if you look at what we’ve been able to do … historically, I don’t know how far you want to go back, but we’ve made plays on the ball in the secondary and we’re not getting those right now. That’s the difference.”
With Bobby McCain hurt and Grimes and Jamar Taylor struggling, the Dolphins plan to get a long look at rookie Tony Lippett in coverage Sunday, Campbell said.
Other takeaways from a forthcoming meeting reporters:
▪ Campbell remained incensed about four personal fouls, including a costly one late by Jarvis Landry.
“Those things will be addressed one-on-one with those individuals,” Campbell said. “The ones you’re talking about are totally inexcusable. There is absolutely … nothing that’s OK about that.”
▪ After the game, Lamar Miller said he was healthy despite getting just one carry in the fourth quarter. But Campbell believed otherwise, citing an ankle injury.
“This is the first that I’ve heard of, that he was OK to go in the second,” Campbell said. “If that’s what he told you guys. … I knew that he wasn’t in there for a spell because I saw him limp off the field. So at that point I was just trying to manage the game.”
▪ The Dolphins officially claimed Giants defensive end Damontre Moore off waivers Tuesday and waived lineman Jacques McClendon to make room.