New Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell has a big job in front of him, trying to salvage something of a season off to a dysfunctional 1-3 start.
But those who have seen his work up close think he has a chance to succeed.
Saints coach Sean Payton coached Campbell in Dallas, and briefly in New Orleans as his playing career was winding down. Payton said he thinks Campbell has a chance to do a good job.
“He’s a fantastic guy, a great worker, a great teammate,” Payton said, via Evan Woodberry of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “He’s someone that is tough, strong. I can’t say enough good things.”
Of course, he’s also faced with a significant challenge, trying to instill some degree of spirit into a team that felt the need to make a change a quarter of the way through the season.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has also been in that situation (and has background with Campbell), having inherited a 1-7 team in midseason of 2010, and helping them bounce back to finish the second half of the season 5-3.
Garrett and Campbell played together with the Giants, before Garrett moved onto Dallas in 2003 as a Bill Parcells signing.
“Sometimes these things happen,” Garrett said, via Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com. “It’s a challenge when they happen during the season but Dan Campbell was a teammate of mine and he’s just a hell of a guy and I think he’s a really good football guy. I think somehow someway he’s going to help that football team get righted and he’s going to do that because he’s a really willful guy. He’s got a great personality and he’s a tough guy and I just wish him nothing but the best. . . .
“Always a very smart guy. Knew the game really well, knew things beyond his position and really cared about it, cared about detail, always wanted to know more and loved to play, has a great passion for playing, a great passion for teams and a great passion for the game of football.”
That passion was evident from his introductory press conference. Now he’ll get a chance to prove himself on the fly, and he can only hope to do it as well as Garrett did.