Sunday, January 23, 2011

Former NFL tight end Dan Campbell promoted to tight ends coach

The Dolphins have filled one of their two remaining coaching vacancies in-house, as former NFL tight end Dan Campbell has been promoted to the position of tight ends coach by the Miami Dolphins, according to Omar Kelly. He replaced George DeLeone, who joined Paul Pasqualoni's staff at UConn.

Campbell, who lasted played in the NFL in 2008 with the Detroit Lions and won a Super Bowl ring while on injured reserve with the Saints in 2009, served as a coaching intern on offense for the Dolphins this past season.

In addition to Campbell, the Dolphins have also hired a new offensive coordinator (Brian Daboll), running backs coach (Jeff Nixon), and head strength and conditioning coach (Darren Krein).

The Dolphins have one remaining vacancy to fill, left by quarterbacks coach David Lee, who joined Houston Nutt's staff as the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss.


A Texas A&M alum, Campbell was drafted by the New York Giants in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He played four seasons with the team, totaling 43 catches for 369 yards and five touchdowns while helping Tiki Barber rush for over 1,300 yards in 2002.

Campbell joined Bill Parcells' Dallas Cowboys as a free agent in 2003 and appeared in 35 games (30 starts) over three seasons as the No. 2 tight end behind Jason Witten. He missed most of the 2004 season with torn ligaments in his foot and had an emergency appendectomy before the 2005 season.

After signing a five-year contract with the Detroit Lions as a free agent, Campbell experienced his most productive season as a receiver in 2006 with 21 catches for 308 yards and four touchdowns.

Campbell only played in one game for the Lions in 2008 before a hamstring injury landed him on injured reserve. He signed with the Saints in 2009, but again spent the season on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered in training camp.

A coaching intern on the offensive side of the ball in 2010, the 34-year-old Campbell interviewed twice with the Dallas Cowboys for an assistant offensive line position (coincidentally with former Dolphins' offensive line coach Hudson Houck) before staying on with the Dolphins as tight ends coach.


In an interesting little turn of events, Campbell is now tasked with coaching the player that was drafted to replace him with the Cowboys in 2006 in Dolphins' starting tight end Anthony Fasano.

He's also a player that is familiar to head coach Tony Sparano, having played three seasons in Dallas when Sparano was the assistant head coach/offensive line coach under Parcells.

Campbell obviously doesn't have any real experience as a coaching tight end, but he is still relatively fresh off a long and productive career as a quality blocking tight end in the NFL.

I like the idea of Campbell getting his coaching career started in Miami, and I have to believe he has something to offer the Dolphins' tight ends as a player that has plenty of experience in the current football era.

I'm not going to go over the Dolphins' problems at tight ends, since I already did ad nauseam in my article on the departure of old tight ends coach George DeLeone.

I will, however, say that Campbell does indeed have a significant task on his hands. Fasano has been a serviceable but unspectacular starting tight end, but the Dolphins found themselves without a capable backup in 2010 and that significantly hurt the offense in all facets.

The Dolphins desperately need Campbell to either coach up Dedrick Epps, Jeron Mastrud, or Mickey Shuler into a more capable player for 2011, or he needs the Dolphins' front office to give him more to work with if those guys aren't going to cut it.

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