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Dan Campbell: 'I'm going to challenge these guys'

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The Miami Dolphins announced the firing of Joe Philbin yesterday, as well as the promotion of tight ends coach Dan Campbell to the interim head coach position. During his introductory press conference, Campbell was passionate and fiery. Essentially, he was the anti-Philbin. Here is the full transcript from the press conference.

You can watch the press conference on the team website by clicking here.

Courtesy Miami Dolphins

Mike Tannenbaum (Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations):

(Opening Statement) - "I appreciate everybody coming out today. First, on behalf of Steve Ross, I just want to publicly thank (Former Head) Coach (Joe) Philbin and his family, Diane, his wife, for four great years with the Dolphins organization and truly giving this organization everything he had. It was important today that we tried to handle everything with as much respect and dignity as we could. We had good conversations, Steve did, I did with Coach Philbin and again he gave us everything he had for four years, obviously things weren't going as we had hoped this year. Steve made the decision this morning and then we moved forward accordingly. Turning the page, we made the decision this morning because this season is only four games old and, when we made the decision to make Dan Campbell our interim head coach, it was with the thinking that, again, this season is four games old and we can still accomplish all of our goals this year, not a three-year rebuild, but in 2015 the Dolphins can achieve all of our goals that we set out for. Dan played in the NFL for 11 years, he's coached for six, he brings leadership, toughness and energy, and I'm really proud to have the opportunity to work with him. With that, I would like to introduce Dan Campbell as our new interim head coach."

Dan Campbell:

(Opening Statement) - "I appreciate it, Mike. First thing first with Coach Philbin, I have the upmost respect for Joe. He's been nothing but a class act for us and I've learned a lot from him. He didn't have to hire me back in 2011, but he did, I was a part of the old staff and I'm forever grateful for that. There are a lot of things I'll take with me, that I learned from him. As to what Mike just said, talking about this roster a little bit, that being said, this is my sixth season with the Miami Dolphins and this is the most talented roster that we have had in those six years. We have plenty of talent, we have the people in this building, we have the staff, there may be some things that have to be moved or shuffled as far as that goes, but I need time to sort those things out, but we have enough to win. We have to change the culture, I have to change the culture and that's what I intend to do. And what that means is that we need to become a more aggressive front or team in general. We need to get our front four on defense, our front five on the offensive line, just as a whole, we need to breed a culture of competiveness, finish and intensity, and to me that's where it all starts. That's where we have to change it, we change it in practice, we make it much more competitive and we need these guys to go after each other a little bit. The best teams that I've been a part of are the ones that during the week they go after each other, whether it's practice squad versus your defense, they're giving the look or practice squad versus offense, but it gets heated, it's intense and it's people that are fighting to win. They want to get noticed or they want to do their job, it's not just going through the motions, to me that's what's got to change and if we'll start there, I think we'll be in the right direction. I don't think, I know that will put us in the right direction and then the ‘X's and O's' will come later from there. I'm appreciative to Mr. Ross for the opportunity, I had a talk with him earlier today, I talked to Mike, I talked to Mr. Ross and this is the fifth organization that I've been a part of and nobody, nobody on those teams has spent more on resources or has committed more to wanting to win than Mr. Ross. That is the fact and he told me when I talked to him earlier he said ‘Whatever you need, I'll be there for you. Whatever you think you'll need, whatever it takes to turn the team around, you've got it.' That's fortunate to have an owner that is that way and that's what I intend to do, and I'm appreciative for the support."

Questions and Answers:

Dan Campbell:

(On what makes him the right individual for this situation) - "I feel like I relate to the players, I feel like that I'm somebody that understands them, it doesn't mean that I'm there best friend, but because I've been in that locker room and I understand what it's like when - I've been at the top, I've been at the bottom, I understand what it's like to hit that rollercoaster, I understand what it's like when things start going not the way that you wanted them to go and what it takes to bring people back. I feel like I've always been, whether it was a player or as a coach, that can pull the best out of people. I feel like everybody is different, no player is the same, no coach is the same and so with that there's different ways to motivate players, some players they do, they need a kick in the rear, some players need to be patted on the back, some need to be challenged, they need to be told that they're not good enough because that's when they rise to the top. Those are going to be the things that I have to do and I feel like that is my strength, I understand people very well, I understand players and to me that's what I do well, that's one of the things that I do well."

Dan Campbell:

(On if he expects to keep the defensive and offensive coordinators)- "To be honest with you, like I said, I just found out like two or three hours ago about being interim head coach, I need time to soak all this in, I need time to really evaluate defensively what we're doing, what we're not doing, my head has been in offense and those things will come later. I don't have time right now, I'll get to that though."

Mike Tannenbaum:

(On Stephen Ross keeping Joe Philbin in the offseason and how he feels about making the change after four games) - "I believe that Steve is going to be available later on so it's probably more appropriate - I don't want to speak on behalf of Steve, but what I can tell you from a general sense is, we weren't happy with the direction the team was going, the results through the first four games of the season. Again, we felt like this was the best opportunity for us, for the 2015 Dolphins to make the change now, to give us an impact, to give us a better chance to win this season and, as we talked about earlier, Joe did everything he could for this team, for this organization, the record was what it was, we just felt like the time was now with the bye Week, with 12 games still left to be played this season."  

Dan Campbell:

(On if it's fair to assume that he hasn't seen the team go after it enough during practice here) - "I would say that that's fair to say. What we've done a good job of is being mindful of the fact that we're trying to keep these players fresh and ready to go on Sunday and who wouldn't? We still have to be able to approach it that way, however, I feel like there's a lot more that we can get out of these guys and we need to get out of these guys. We need to change the culture such, just like I said earlier, where it is so competitive on Wednesday, Thursdayand maybe even Friday that these guys - it is very intense, it is very heated, it may even teeter on the fact of having to break a few things up, but that is when you really get good, that is when the juices start flowing, that is when you get the most of your players, is when they're having to compete during the week because you can't just go through the motions on Wednesday, Thursday, even Friday and then you just turn it on Sunday. It doesn't work that way, it just doesn't. You want to get the most out of them, you have to challenge them, they have to be challenged. That goes from the best player we have on this team, to the one that's not the best, OK? (Center) Mike Pouncey, as great as he is, he needs to be challenged every day, he needs somebody that's going to push him every day and is trying to beat him every rep, that goes for every player, I don't care if it's (DT Ndamukong) Suh, I don't care if it's (LB) Koa Misi, I don't care if it's (WR) Jarvis Landry, they have to be pushed and they have to be worked, they have to be challenged and that's the first thing that I'm changing. I'm going to challenge these guys and I want them to have to compete."


Dan Campbell:

(On if he feels the players weren't challenged enough up to this point this season in practice) - "I feel like there's different ways to challenge these players and I'm going to do that."

Dan Campbell:

(On his immediate reaction to taking on his new role) - "It was a little surreal, but, at the same time, it was something that I was willing to accept. Of course when you come into the role as a head coach, there's only 32 of these spots, it's interim head coach, I understand that, but it's a little bit of ‘Whoa, OK, what are you getting into?' but it's also, I'm ready for this, I can do this. I understand this league, I understand these players, I know what it takes to win in this league, I've been around it, like I said, I've been around some really good coaches now and so I know what it needs to look like, I know how I want it to look like."

Dan Campbell:

(On if players have complained to him over time about the culture of the football team) - "No. No, I wouldn't say that. I say no. I guess I could say that there are maybe one or two players that have mentioned something about how they wish it was a little more competitive, OK. But I wouldn't say where it's like the whole team is, ‘Hey we aren't doing this. We aren't doing this.' Listen, just by nature, let's call it what it is, there is a lot of guys that they can kid themselves and they want to say that they are really working hard. I'm not saying they don't and that's one thing about this team. This is the honest truth, this team plays hard. This team plays hard. They have not quit. They play to the finish, but the facts of the matter are they're not competing, OK. I have to get them to compete. We have to get them to compete more, OK. So it's nothing on a judge of their character or anything of that nature. We just have to go back to the basics, OK. We have to learn how to fight for a win at any rep at any time. That's what we have to do. We have to learn that we are going to scratch and claw and do whatever it takes to win your one on one. I don't care who you are, receiver, tight end, linebacker, defensive tackle. That's what we have to do. The only way that starts is in practice. Like I said earlier, you can't just go out there and say, ‘Hey I'm going to win,' OK. There is very few freak athletes that can pull that off. There is a couple out there. There is a few that have been in history that have been able to do that. We have some very good players. We don't have those types of players to be able to do that. It's got to be taught. They need to see that this is the way that I want it and I'm going to talk the talk and walk the walk and you follow me. This is how I want it to look."

Dan Campbell:

(On if he gets respect from players because he is a former player) - "I think it's conversations since I've been here. I think it helps a little that I've been where they've been and I understand what it's like. But I also feel like I've built relationships with these players throughout the years. It's one of mutual respect. It's not one of, well you know, I'm the guy who's going to go out with you and we are going to have a good time or go out to the bar. That's not what I'm saying. That's not what I'm talking about. It's talking about getting to know these people and getting to know these players. I feel like I have a good understanding of these players from (WR) Rishard Matthews to (S) Walt Aikens. I just feel like I have a feel of these guys. I love being around these guys. That's the greatest thing about being in the NFL. Whether you are a player or a coach it's being - the comradery, being around greatness and wanting to be the best. There are so many things. Snack on Saturday nights. You guys don't even know anything about that do you? That's what it is to me."

Dan Campbell:

(On if he sees himself being more than an interim head coach in this league) - "Yeah, I would say I'm not here just to finish the season out. That's not my plan. Now, we'll see at the end of the year. I'm not standing up here just to say that I'm the interim head coach. We are coming here to win games. That's why everything has happened to this point. Like I said, I've got the utmost respect for Joe Philbin, OK. I've learned a lot from him, but this is where it is now. My plan is for this team to be competitive, find ways to win games, win now, OK. It's still early now. It's still early. We have time to turn everything around. We have plenty of the season left in us, but we can't wait.  I'll be honest with you, the bye couldn't have come at a better time. It could not have come at a better time."

Dan Campbell:

(On if there is enough leadership on this team) - "Yes there is. There is enough."

Mike Tannenbaum:

(On the chronology of this event that led to Dan Campbell being named interim head coach) - "I could probably help out on that as well. We had some preliminary discussions last night in terms of (Owner) Steve Ross, myself, (President) Tom Garfinkel, our president, it was before we left. Tom and I flew back with the team. This morning the decision was finalized by Steve and then from there we had to move obviously quickly. I had some conversations with (Interim Head Coach) Dan (Campbell). Steve had a long conversation with Dan and we finalized the decision after Steve spoke to Dan."

Mike Tannenbaum:

(On hearing interim head coach Dan Campbell discuss what he wants to change and if he thinks those things are the root of what the problem has been) - "Again, we are trying to figure out the best way to move forward. After four games, there were some things that weren't going well. Obviously, there were a lot of things that we thought had to be better. In talking it over with Tom (Garfinkel), Matt Higgins, our vice chairman, and obviously Steve Ross, Dan's (Campbell) name came to the top of the list pretty quick and we just felt based on Dan's leadership, experience, he played again for 11 years. We just felt, given our circumstances, where we are as an organization, he gave us the best chance to move forward. It's an important decision but at the end of the day it was a unanimous one. It was a quick one. There were a couple conversations this morning, but we moved forward and we felt really good about the decision."

Dan Campbell:

(On the difference between playing hard and not competing) - "I would say it's the fact that there is a difference between players that never give up. When you never give up, everybody's looking for that quality. But just saying you never gave up and you're getting beat one on one, that's not competing. You're not giving up, but you aren't competing. That's the difference."

Dan Campbell:

(On if the players gave up at times in the first four games) - "No."

Dan Campbell:

(On if he has talked to the players yet) - "No, I have not. I plan on talking to them later this afternoon."

Dan Campbell:

(On if the offense needs to run the ball more and if the defense needs to rush up the field more) - "Again, that's more X's and O's, and I'm just not ready to get into that. Again, I just found this out a few hours ago. There are things that I have to digest. Of course there are things I know about offense, what happened, what didn't happen. To me, it's not time for that. It's time to analyze where we go from here and that's my plan. That's what I'm going to do, so I don't even want to get into that."

Dan Campbell:

(On how he would want to build a football team other than the competitive aspect) - "That's tough to say because to me that's where it all starts. When you say, ‘other than a competitive team,' that's where it all starts with me. Are you trying to go with X's and O's?(On his vision) - "Here is my vision. My vision is a bunch of hard-nosed guys that go out every day for practice and they are ultra-competitive to the point that it is fueled with intensity. These are guys that are scratching and clawing, let me not go that far into it. Very competitive, very intense, very heated. We go out Sunday and it's that same team. It's a team that's not playing conservative or not holding back worrying about, ‘Am I a little too close to the quarterback?', or ‘Should I hit him like this?' We're going to play by the rules, but we're going to be much more aggressive. We're going to walk that line is what we're going to do. There is always that line where this is OK to do and this is dirty. I'm not saying we want dirty players, but we are going to walk that line. That's what I want to do. I want us pulling the trigger. I don't want us playing conservative. I don't want us playing on our heels. I want us playing on our toes and we're going forward, and we're going through you. That's the mentality."

Dan Campbell:

(On what former coach had the biggest impact on his coaching style) - "I've had many, many coaches. I mentioned some of them earlier from head coaches to position coaches to coordinators and to me I feel like I've taken a little of all of them with me. From Sean Peyton, Bill Parcells had a huge impact, there is no doubt. There is no question. I learned a lot from Bill. To me, nobody was better suited to deal with players than Bill Parcells. It's funny because Bill was always regarded as a guy that you either loved Bill or you hated Bill, but you know what, everybody respected Bill and that made a big difference. To me, I feel like I've learned a lot about what to do and what not to do and I've taken the best qualities of all of those coaches that I've been around." 

Dan Campbell:

(On the vision he described for the team and if that is how he would describe himself as a player) - "I would say so, yes. I feel like I was a guy who always gave 110 percent. I wanted to win my one on ones. I was an emotional player. I was not the most talented player, but I feel like I was dependable. I could be counted on. And when my number was called, I would make the play. It's funny because from a tight end - which is what I played - and I was a grunt. But you line up and you play a defensive end. They tell those guys in the defensive room, if they try to run to you and the tight end is blocking you - that's not going to happen, right. It's just a tight end. I used to take that personal. Like that used to really bother me, and I didn't want to be that guy. I wanted to be a guy that was you got your hands full all day and this is not just some ordinary tight end. And that's what I've tried to instill with my guys since I've been here in that room. And that's what I want to instill on this team. I don't want guys just to do their job. I want guys to go out and dominate. To me, you don't just coach guys to just get the job done. You coach guys to get the very most you can out of their talent. That's the whole point. We have people in this building who bring in talent. Our job is to pull the utmost that we can get out of that talent, so that we get production on the field. It's not just about doing your job. To me, doing your job is this - it's what we'll have, we'll go 8-8, 9-7, 7-9. To pull the most talent we can out of those players, that's how you win."