Miami Dolphins

In Miami Dolphins' drubbing of Patriots, Dan Campbell makes his case to keep his job

Miami Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron celebrates a fourth quarter touchdown with offensive guard Dallas Thomas and quarterback Ryan Tannehill as the Dolphins host the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on January 3, 2016.
Miami Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron celebrates a fourth quarter touchdown with offensive guard Dallas Thomas and quarterback Ryan Tannehill as the Dolphins host the New England Patriots at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on January 3, 2016. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Stephen Ross had the floor.

But Dan Campbell owned the room.

In the moments following the Dolphins' shocking 20-10 triumph over the mighty Patriots Sunday, Ross spoke in the locker room about his franchise's future.

Miami Herald sportswriter Adam H. Beasley recaps the Miami Dolphins' 20-10 win against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2015.

The organization is about to make its most important decision in the last half-decade — who will be the Dolphins next coach? — and Ross gave the players a short briefing on what's to come.

"He was just saying that he was going to do everything he can to bring in the guy who is best for the organization," Ryan Tannehill recalled.

That's when the chant began:

"CAMP-BELL! CAMP-BELL! CAMP-BELL!"

Sadly for Campbell, Dolphins players don't get a vote. But, at the very least, they have a voice.

And they want the Dolphins' coaching search to be a short one. Their pick is already in the building.

"If it was my choice, I'd want Dan Campbell as the coach next year," Branden Albert said. "But I'm just the left tackle."

Campbell will get an interview. It might have unofficially begun Sunday, when the Dolphins (6-10) played their best, most complete game in months.

They entered the day as 10-point underdogs. And yet, they throttled the playoff-bound Patriots (12-4) in every way possible.

They had more yards (438-196), first downs (20-12) and third-down conversions (8-4).

Ryan Tannehill out-dueled Tom Brady, completing 25 of 38 passes for 350 yards and two touchdowns. DeVante Parker closed out a rocky rookie season with five catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.

The defense harassed Brady all afternoon, and limited the Patriots to just 3.6 yards per play.

Put simply, the Dolphins looked like the team owner Ross envisioned this preseason when he called this the most talented Dolphins roster in "many, many years."

Of course, nothing that followed went as planned. In the five months since, the Dolphins have lost 10 of 16 games and fired their coach (Joe Philbin), offensive coordinator (Bill Lazor), defensive coordinator (Kevin Coyle) and, most recently, their general manager (Dennis Hickey).

Monday morning is about the Dolphins' future. They'll finalize a contract with Chris Grier, the team's director of college scouting, that names him Hickey's successor.

Assuming all goes as planned, Grier, who has worked for the Dolphins since 2000, will become the highest-ranking African-American employee in franchise history.

The team will also waste no time in finding their next head coach, assuming (as many do), that Campbell is not it. They have several interviews set for this week, and candidates include Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase, former Bills head coach Doug Marrone and two-time Super Bowl champion Mike Shanahan.

Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Buccaneers play-caller Dirk Koetter and former Falcons coach Mike Smith are also on Miami's radar. Several more names will surely be added to that list in the days and weeks to come.

But, for at least one more day, the job — and the locker room — belonged to Campbell.

"I just told [the players] that I appreciate the effort," Campbell said. "... They didn't check out. They came out to fight. They came out to win and that's exactly what they did."

Added Ross, in that ebullient locker room: "I love Dan Campbell. He is great."

Sounds like the message was received.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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