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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cam Cameron Is Miami Dolphins' New Head Coach

Dolphins hire Cameron as new head coach
NFL.com wire reports

DAVIE, Fla. (Jan. 19. 2007) -- Cam Cameron will try to succeed where Nick Saban failed -- with the Miami Dolphins.

Miami concluded a two-week coaching search, hiring Cameron, the San Diego Chargers' offensive coordinator the past five seasons.

Cameron signed a four-year contract to replace Saban, who left for Alabama after a 6-10 season. Saban missed the playoffs in both years with Miami, whose roster needs an overhaul to fix an aging defense and a feeble offense.

Cameron went 18-37 as a head coach at Indiana, then directed a high-powered attack in San Diego. Led by the NFL's most valuable player, LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers ranked fourth in the league in offense this season and finished 14-2, best in the NFL.

"Good for Cam," Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I think he'll be a very fine, winning NFL coach. He has done a terrific job for us, obviously. We're excited that he has been given this opportunity. I know that there's a lot of work for him to do, but he'll measure up to the task."

Cameron will be the Dolphins' fourth coach in nine seasons. It has been a frustrating a stretch of instability for a franchise that had the same coach -- Don Shula -- for 26 years.

The Dolphins interviewed at least 12 other candidates in their most extensive coaching search since the franchise's first season in 1966. Among those still being considered midweek were Miami defensive coordinator Dom Capers, former Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora, Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey and former Alabama coach Mike Shula, son of the ex-Dolphins coach Don Shula.

Cameron, 45, inherits one of the NFL's largest coaching staffs and general manager Randy Mueller, who might be given more responsibility under the new regime. He also might inherit defensive coordinator Capers, who was offered a new three-year contract in that role last week but had yet to sign the deal believed to be worth at least $8.1 million.

Cameron first interviewed with the Dolphins shortly after Saban quit and became available when the Chargers were eliminated from the playoffs. He has been in South Florida since Jan. 17, when he began a second round of interviews. At midday an. 19, he returned to the team's complex accompanied by Mueller, then met with management for more than four hours before the deal was announced.

An offensive-minded coach appealed to the Dolphins, who averaged 16.3 points per game in 2006, their lowest figure since 1967.

Cameron also interviewed this month for head-coaching jobs with the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons. Arizona hired Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, and Atlanta hired Louisville coach Bobby Petrino.

Before joining the Chargers in 2002, Cameron was head coach at his alma mater, Indiana, from 1997 to 2001. He never finished a season above .500 but coached All-American quarterback Antwaan Randle El, and in 2000 the Hoosiers ranked seventh in the nation in rushing.

Cameron played basketball at Indiana for Bob Knight and football for Lee Corso and Sam Wyche.

Saban left the Dolphins after denying for five weeks that he was interested in the Alabama job. His disappointing two-year tenure extended the Dolphins' playoff drought to five consecutive seasons, the longest stretch in franchise history.

The Dolphins haven't reached the AFC Championship Game since Wayne Huizenga became majority owner in 1994, and they're coming off only their third losing year since 1969.

With Daunte Culpepper still struggling to recover from reconstructive knee surgery in 2005, Miami remains unsettled at quarterback, a troublesome position since Dan Marino retired seven years ago. The team needs upgrades in almost every other area.

Schottenheimer said he imagines Cameron will run the offense.

"He's very, very good on game day," Schottenheimer said

As for Cameron's replacement in San Diego, Schottenheimer said he'll take a few days and consider candidates, starting with members of the current staff. One who will be in the mix is receivers coach James Lofton, who interviewed earlier in the week for the Raiders' head-coaching vacancy.


AP Sports Writer Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this report.


NFL-PER-20B 1/19/07
New England Patriots Probable Tom Brady (Right S houlder)
New Orleans Saints
QUESTIONABLE WR Joe Horn (Groin); S Omar Stoutmire (Hip)
PROBABLE TE Mark Campbell (Knee)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Joe Horn; Mark Campbell
THURS Joe Horn
FRI Joe Horn
Chicago Bears
QUESTIONABLE WR Mark Bradley (Ankle)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Mark Bradley; Adewale Ogunleye
THURS Mark Bradley; Muhsin Muhammad
FRI All Players Practiced
New England Patriots
DOUBTFUL S Rodney Harrison (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE WR Troy Brown (Illness-Flu); DE Mike Wright (Illness-Flu);
T Ryan O'Callaghan (Illness-Flu)
PROBABLE QB Tom Brady (Right Shoulder)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED Rodney Harrison; Mike Wright; Ryan O'Callaghan; Troy
THURS Rodney Harrison; Mike Wright; Ryan O'Callaghan; Troy
FRI Rodney Harrison; Troy Brown; Mike Wright; Ryan
Indianapolis Colts
QUESTIONABLE WR Ricky Proehl (Hamstring); LB Rob Morris (Knee); CB
Nicholas Harper (Ankle); T Ryan Diem (Shoulder); LB Cato
June (Concussion); S Bob Sanders (Knee); G Ryan Lilja
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
WED All Players Participated
THURS All Players Participated
FRI Rob Morris

New England Patriots Superbowl Vince Lombardi Trophy

Can you imagine the gall of just leaving the Vince Lombardi Trophy out there for someone to just steal. Look at the photo!! The damn thing's just out there for the taking. What are the Pats thinking?

A Colts victory will certainly quell any fears of future weirdness with the hardware.

Steve Sarkisian Or Bobby Petrino - Raiders Latest Coaching Snub Reveals Problems - Part One

It doens't matter who's take you read, this is the result of a larger problem. Read this work by ESPN's By Len Pasquarelli, first. Then, I'll present others. My overall take is that this is the result of a dysfunctional organization that prides itself on playing head games with people and all in an effort to pove that it's important and powerful, from coaches like Art Shell, to heirs of the ownership, and to young, promissing coaches. It's no accident that this has happned for the second straight year.

First Louisville's Bobby Petrino, now USC's Steve Sarkisian. What's vexing is they -- the Oakland Raiders -- bent over backwards for an unproven assistant college coach and pissed off the more NFL-capable Chargers Coach James Lofton in the process.

Here's Len:

Raiders coaching candidate Sarkisian rejects offer
By Len Pasquarelli

In a strange twist that left the Oakland Raiders jilted by their first choice to succeed Art Shell, Southern California quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian on Friday evening rejected the team's offer to become its next head coach.

League sources who confirmed the move by Sarkisian gave no reason for his decision. The Raiders had offered a contract longer than the two-year deal Shell signed but further details were not available.

In a statement late Friday, the Raiders denied Sarkisian had been offered the job, and said he removed his name from consideration. The statement, in part, read: "The Oakland Raiders were not ready to offer the position and wanted to wait until after the weekend as the organization is still doing its due diligence."

In a separate statement, released by the university, Sarkisian said he wanted to stay at USC.

"I thank them for their interest in me," Sarkisian said. "While the job was never offered to me, at this time in my career, I've told them I want to stay at USC. I strongly believe that the Raiders' job is a great opportunity for whomever their next head coach is going to be."

The presumptive front-runner for the Oakland vacancy for much of this week, Sarkisian interviewed on Wednesday with team officials for the second time in two weeks. He then flew back to Los Angeles, but returned to the Bay Area on Thursday for another round of interviews.

In fact, the Raiders even interviewed Southern California offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who was Sarkisian's choice to be his No. 1 offensive assistant, on Thursday. That prompted speculation that the club was close to finalizing a deal with Sarkisian.

In their statement, the Raiders said that Kiffin had made "no commitment" to join the staff if Sarkisian landed the job.

Sarkisian, 32, served as the Oakland quarterbacks coach in 2004 and, while he has not been a coordinator or head coach, he fit the mold of the kind of coach owner Al Davis has traditionally sought. Davis typically looks for candidates whose expertise is on the offensive side of the ball, and who are young and innovative.

A former Brigham Young quarterback who played three seasons in the CFL (1997-99), Sarkisian has a limited coaching resume. Beyond his two stints at Southern California (2001-2003 and 2005), Sarkisian was on the staff at El Camino (Calf.) Junior College in 2000.

In a related matter, San Diego Chargers wide receivers coach and Hall of Fame member James Lofton, who met earlier this week with Oakland officials, withdrew his name from consideration for the job.

Beyond Sarkisian and Loton, the Raiders have interviewed current Oakland defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel. ESPN.com reported Tuesday that former Arizona Cardinals coach Dennis Green rebuffed overtures from Oakland officials to arrange an interview.

It is not known if Oakland will expand its search now or simply work from the pool of current candidates.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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