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January 19, 2007

Cam Cameron

WAYNE HUIZENGA: Good evening, everyone. Thank you for being here this evening. As you know, we just concluded a thorough, detailed and focused search around the United States looking for a new head coach. I would like to thank those involved in the selection process - Joe Bailey, CEO of Dolphins Enterprises, Bryan Wiedmeier, president of the Miami Dolphins and Randy Mueller, the general manager of the Dolphins. I would also like to take time to thank Don Shula and Dan Marino for being slightly involved, coming by and listening and giving advice.
Certainly I want to thank the fans and the media for their suggestions. Amazing how many emails and letters we received from around the country that just once again shows how much the Dolphins mean to so many people around the country.
Also, I'd like to thank the other candidates that we interviewed. We were very impressed with almost all of the people out there. They were very, very strong candidates. We wish them well, as well.
Needless to say I'm thrilled with the final decision, the coach that we have. First of all on the list is he definitely is committed to winning, and that is the thing we said a couple of days ago, that we are committed to winning. Whatever it takes, whatever it costs, we want to win. He wants to win and he wants to be successful. He has the same driving passion that we do on this.
He has had great success in San Diego. He's put together a very exciting and dominant offense there in the league. He's worked under a great coach by the name of Marty Schottenheimer. Those two have a great relationship. This coach is a great person. He's enthusiastic, energetic, and positive. It's my honor and pleasure to introduce to you the next coach of the Miami Dolphins, Cam Cameron.

CAM CAMERON: Thank you, Wayne.
It's extremely exciting to be here. I listened to Mr. Huizenga speak today and I've had a chance to visit with him the last couple of weeks. I would just say, as he mentioned, our fans here in South Florida, this man's committed to winning. You heard what he said about the fact that we're committed to winning.
I don't know him that well, but it didn't take me long to understand this man loves South Florida. He loves everything about the Miami Dolphins. That's the initial thing that got me extremely excited about wanting to come here and be the head football coach.
I will share with you, just briefly, the process. I want to thank his staff. Bryan did an outstanding job and Randy was integrally involved in the process. They gave Randy all the tough questions and we've gotten close in a hurry. I'm excited about that. The entire staff - they got on an airplane before our last game and came to San Diego. We had a chance to visit. I know when I left the airplane that night - Joe Bailey was there - and I can't express to you enough how committed these men are to winning, how committed they are to South Florida.
Through the process, I've learned it's an honor to be chosen as the head football coach of the Miami Dolphins. I know how thorough they are. There's a lot of good football coaches in the National Football League and I truly believe it's an honor, it's a privilege to be here as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Before I go any further, though, I think there's one thing I do want to address. Cam Cameron is here in large part by a tremendous group of men and people in San Diego. I do want to take this opportunity to thank the people in San Diego, our fans in San Diego and the players in San Diego. As you know, we have wonderful players there. I think the most difficult phone call I had to make after I signed the contract today was to Philip Rivers. The reason I share that with you is because that's why we're winning. We were winning in San Diego because of how people felt about each other. That's what we're going to do here.
I just have tremendous respect for Marty Schottenheimer. It's not very often that many of us get a chance to work to somebody we truly love. I love the man. I would not be standing here today if it weren't for Marty Schottenheimer. The entire organization - I got off the phone with A.J. Smith, thanked him. He's excited for me and my family. I haven't visited with Dean (Spanos) yet, but I know I'll visit with him this evening. I truly believe that the people in San Diego are a huge part of why Cam Cameron is standing here.
You'll get a chance, possibly here in the next or so, to meet my wife Missy, but the Cameron family, not just myself, the Cameron family is excited about coming to South Florida. Missy and I have been married 20 years. We have four children. You'll get a kick out of this. The kids are already sending dad the shirt and pant sizes. They are thrilled and can't wait to get in Miami Dolphins gear. I know Missy, she'll have them decked out here pretty quickly.
I just can't express to you how exciting it is, the challenge that we have. They've done a lot of great things here. I think that's the one thing that can get overlooked through this whole situation. I know what you've been through these last few weeks. They've done a lot of great things. I'm not talking in the past. We know those things. There's a lot of good things in place here, and that became very clear to me early on. They've done an outstanding job getting good coaches here. That gives me tremendous flexibility. I had a chance to visit with those coaches. That was the priority No. 1 from Mr. Huizenga. The first thing we wanted to do was visit with the current coaches on this staff.
I've been in the position these men have been in. It's difficult. But the thing I wanted to make sure they understood, they've done some great things here. You people know a play here, a play there, this whole thing could be flip-flopped. I wanted the coaching staff to understand that and know I respect that.
I did have a chance in this room to visit with the rest of the organization. There's a lot of great people in this organization. They've done an outstanding job of bringing quality people into this organization. I got the sense they're excited that I'm here and that we're here. I'm going to tell you, I'm excited. I'm excited because of the people I got to meet today in this organization.
The thing I will tell you before we go into questions is, it's not going to be about Cam Cameron, it's not going to be about Randy Mueller, it's not going to be about any individual. We're going to build a team here. You're going to see a football team. There have been a lot of great teams here, and they're teams. This is the greatest team sport in all of sports, not just professional sports, all of sports, the game of football. It's tough. It's a man's game. But it's a team game.
Our front office, led by Mr. Huizenga, it's going to be a team effort. You should see some of the things we've accomplished in just the last 48 hours as a group. We've got to set that example, which we're going to do. That's his style. You know his style. Our coaching staff, they will understand, there's no one above the team in this organization. I think people are excited about that. I know the people I've been around, I know the players I've coached, as we've built some things out on the West Coast. We're going to do that here because it's a team. That's what you're going to see.
Looking into the future, I got asked the question 15 minutes ago, how about the division championship? We're not going to say that's an impossibility. But talking about a division championship, that's not how you win a division championship, or a conference championship or Super Bowl in the National Football League. We're going to start getting to work. We've already begun to. We're going to continue to work and make sure everything in this organization is important to our ability to winning a championship. But it's going to take a lot of work. We're going to start that work tonight.
I think most of the media were here -- have been here throughout the day. I will just say this while we know we're all here. You're a huge part of what we're trying to accomplish here. We have tremendous fans in South Florida, but let me tell you what, as you know, there's fans all over this country. We played the Dolphins a year ago in California. If you listened to the game, you weren't sure who the home team was because there were so many Miami Dolphin fans in San Diego. There's a ton of fans all over this country. We know they're here primarily in South Florida, but we want to help you do your job and allow you to show the United States of America what the Miami Dolphins are all about.
I'll thrilled to be the head coach here, working under Wayne's leadership. We're going to be working side to side, Randy and myself. We'll address those questions. But it will be, and it's non-negotiable, it will be a team effort. We'll work at this thing together. Between the two of us, with the rest of the organization, we're going to do everything we can to bring the people of South Florida a championship.

Q. (Question regarding the relationship with Randy Mueller.)
CAM CAMERON: The question is about the relationship and the structure between Randy and myself. It's very simple because it started -- it's simple for me because Mr. Huizenga made it very simple. That's how he wants it done. That's how he's had his success.
We got two people working together. We're responsible for making the decisions that affect football and personnel. We've got people to help us. Bryan will be a tremendous resource. I know Matt Thomas, Matt is going to be a tremendous resource. I know Joe Bailey has already been a tremendous resource.
It's very simple - there's going to be a spirit of cooperation and our relationship is going to grow. Sometimes people make it too complicated. I think you put good people together and you do what this man said. Men, let's work together and understand what we're all trying to do. We're trying to win a championship. You two men try to figure out how to make those difficult decisions.
I mentioned earlier I've been married 20 years. Let's be real. Missy and I don't agree on everything. There's nobody in this world I love more than my wife. Randy and I - I'm not going to marry Randy - but we're going to work together and develop that trust and cooperation and we'll find a way to work through some of the difficult decisions that we all know are coming.

Q. (Question regarding Daunte Culpepper and the quarterback situation in Miami.)
CAM CAMERON: That's been my background, as you know, working with quarterbacks. I was a quarterback in college. There's no one formula for solving a quarterback situation.
I will tell you this: I have tremendous respect for what Daunte Culpepper has done in the National Football League. I know some people want to take that and push it into a year or maybe a few games. I think you have to look at the guy from the beginning to where he is now and then start building a relationship.
Some of the things this man has done in the National Football League have never been done before. You guys have all seen the tape when he's played at a high level. We'll factor that in. Obviously, Joey played. I have a relationship with Cleo, coming from San Diego. But the quarterback position is the toughest position in all of pro sports to play, in my opinion, at a high level on a consistent basis. We'll start working our way through the process, Randy and myself, as we really start getting into the personnel more.
I tell you, you can't take away all the good things that he's done just because of some things that maybe happened this season with the injury. We'll work our way through all those things.

Q. (Question regarding his coaching philosophy.)
CAM CAMERON: Number one, let's say we have the players we have. Let's say we had to go play a game today. I think that's where the philosophy starts. These are the guys that I have. This is what I have to work with. My philosophy's always been, I know A.J. Smith appreciated this, I know Marty appreciated this, as coach it's my job to make this personnel work and find a way to score. You don't have to have everything on offense to score. The philosophy would be maximize every guy that you have, and ask every guy, starting with each guy individually, what does this guy do best? Ask him to do what he does best.
Now, usually you have about 18 guys active, maybe 19 or 20 on offense. You got 20 guys, let's say. What can those 20 guys do to get us in the end zone and at the same time take care of the football? You just find a way to find what everybody does best, get them to play together, do what they do best, play together, and do everything you can to score on every down and try not to turn the football over. Now, that is a starting point.
Now, when you start to build, there's no question we all know where it starts. It starts with the quarterback position. I think you build it from the center. If you look at the team in San Diego, Nick Hardwick, Pro Bowl, the guy standing right behind him (Philip Rivers), Pro Bowl, Lorenzo Neal, Pro Bowl. What's that other guy's name? that other guy - LaDainian (Tomlinson). You start, you build it from the middle out. You have to start at the core of your offense and build, get guys to play together. But you got to score. That's the oldest principle in this game. Before there was a way to keep score, you try to score. You got to score. That's the way it works.

Q. (Question on if he considers himself a guy that likes to air it out)
CAM CAMERON: Hayden Fry, when I was at Michigan as a young coach, I always marveled at Coach Fry when he was at Iowa, how they took people that no one ever heard of and found a way to score points. One day I heard someone say, Coach Fry, what is your philosophy? He's from Texas, as he says, that Texas twang, he says, "Boys, we're going to scratch where it itches." I didn't know what he meant.
The bottom line is, you got to take what you have and make the most of it. If you have the ability as of today to run the ball better, run the ball. If you can't run the football, you better try to throw it.
Now, then you hopefully work over time into an ideal situation which I think I've been in now for the last three years where it doesn't matter. We were the second rushing team in the National Football League this year and only ran the ball 40 percent of the time. Think about that. We're throwing the ball 60 percent of the time, we're the second rushing team behind Atlanta, who had a quarterback that rushed for over a thousand.
Ideally you want to be able to do both. That's where I think you can reach the top of the league and score points when people don't know whether you're going to run or throw it.
It's not just about calling runs or passes. It's not about that. It's about calling what you think is going to work. I've run the ball, you can check, there was a game when San Diego clinched - I'm going to say "we" one more time, and I saw you catch that off the bat - in San Diego there was a division championship won where the ball was run over 50 times. Games have been won throwing it over 50 times. You like to think you can keep people from knowing which one you're going to do. It's a lot harder to do than to talk about it.

Q. (Question regarding if he prefers using a two-running back system)
CAM CAMERON: I don't have a preference, and here is why. Every guy in this league is different. To compare anybody to LaDainian just doesn't make sense. They're different. You take another great player. No matter how great these two guys are, they're different. My experience has taught me that every guy on your team is unique and different.
To make any comparisons, and you weren't making comparisons, but that's why I don't do a lot of that. Everybody's unique.
Now, do you have one running back or two? It depends how good the one is. If the one's a great one, then you probably are going to play the one that's the best, like LaDainian, 90 percent of the time. I tell you, you got to be careful when you take a great player like LaDainian. The only reason we run the ball 40 percent of the time, you can take a great back and run him right into the ground. These guys can't run a ball forever. If you've ever seen a running back on Monday, you know what I'm talking about.
Ideally, you need two. You may play one more of the time, but you need at least two because you need to be able to run the football in critical situations to win in this league. You need to be able to run it in short yardage, in the scoring zone and late in games. Other than that, in my view, there's no significance to when you run the football. But you better be able to run it in those situations or you're going to have a tough time closing teams out or scoring touchdowns versus field goals.
I think he scored 30-some touchdowns this year. We did not have a goal that said we want him to break the all-time record. That was never the goal. The goal was to scratch where it itched and play to our strength. Our best player was a runner. He's a running back. Defenses are geared today to stop the pass in the scoring zone. What makes sense? Run the ball in the end zone. They're all there covering Antonio Gates, run the ball in the end zone.
You see how it ties in with the philosophy? If you can get three and hang on to three, three would be better than two. You find ways to use all your most talented guys.

Q. (On if he thinks Cleo Lemon can be a starter in the NFL)
CAM CAMERON: He has been. He's been a starter. I would share this with you about Cleo - because there's still an evaluation process, and I need to see how far he's grown in the last year and a half or so - Cleo Lemon, I'm pretty sure, unless someone breaks the record this year, he was the first player that we had at that time to go three consecutive years and never miss a workout. That tells you about Cleo Lemon because I think that's the first and most important thing a quarterback has to be - the hardest worker in your organization. There is not a lot of negotiation that is going to go in to that. There's not a lot of negotiation that's going to go into that.
So he's done, in my opinion, the most critical thing a guy has to do. Now, can he be? Well, we'll find out. He's done the first part, in my opinion.

Q. (Question on what made him stand out)
CAM CAMERON: Obviously I have no idea and have no ability to answer that. But I do know this. It's not going to answer the question, but it's going to give you insight to my approach.
There's competition in everything we do in this business. There's competition in your business. I can honestly tell you I spent zero time thinking about anyone that interviewed for this job not because it was about me. One of my strengths and the strengths that I like to think the people around me are going to have is have the ability to focus on things they can control. When you focus on what you can control, you give yourself -- you're yourself.
I'm not avoiding the question, but I haven't put any thought into it. I'm sure Wayne or Bryan, Joe, those guys could answer those questions.
The bottom line is, the Camerons are here. We're here. Whatever those reasons were, we're going to do everything to make sure that these people are rewarded for making that choice.

Q. What will be your priorities in getting acclimated here?
CAM CAMERON: Good question. I think the priority, number one, was the current coaching staff. We had an introductory meeting today. I'll spend the next two days interviewing everyone on the current coaching staff. Will we finalize decisions in the next two days? I can't guarantee you that. There may be some. But I would doubt that all those decisions will be made in two days. I don't think you want to get in too big a hurry as you put the staff together. There's a plan and it's not going to be executed in two days.
The current staff, having been in their shoes, is the first priority. Now, right next to that are our players. I will start, depending on how much time we spend together tonight, if there's some added things we want to do, then we'll start contacting the players. I don't think we need to talk any more about that.
I would say this to you. The people in this room, you're a priority. I've met with the coaches. I'm going to meet with the players. But tonight is your night. We're going to make you a priority as well. I want to be respectful to that.
Between the coaches, the players, all of you in the media, those will be the priorities we'd like to get done in the next three days.

Q. What is your relationship today with Coach Bob Knight? You played for Coach Knight and other coaches. How will those relationships help your confidence in believing that you're the right person for this job?
CAM CAMERON: Number one, you heard what I said about Marty Schottenheimer. I love the man. I lost a man earlier this year that I loved dearly in Bo Schembechler. You don't play for Bob Knight and not love him. I can just tell you that. I can speak for all the former Indiana basketball players. You don't have to agree with people you love all the time. We're all unique.
Bob Knight and I are different in a lot of ways. I love him. I mentioned earlier, I got three sons. If they can dribble and shoot, he wanted them, their recruiting is over, they're playing at Texas Tech because I love the man. Honestly, I could go on all night about these men. I'm not going to do that.
I will tell you this, you won't find three tougher men, guys that are mentally tough, than you would of Bo Schembechler, Bob Knight and Marty Schottenheimer. It's a tough business, whether it be pro football or big-time college basketball. The experiences you have with the media, the criticism you and your family take, it's a tough business. But I've learned from three of the toughest that lasted. Two are still coaching.
I would say the first thing is just mental toughness. With that is your ability to lead. It does take courage to get up and lead people, lead in the National Football League, where you are leading the greatest athletes and some of the toughest men in this world. To be able to be tutored by those men in those areas, I don't think it can get any better than that.

Q. (Question on if he considers himself a disciplinarian)
CAM CAMERON: I really don't, because I don't think they do either. Marty Schottenheimer, Bo Schembechler, Bob Knight, never said they believed they were disciplinarians. I've never heard them say that. I will tell you what we all believe in is discipline. There's a huge difference, huge. If we're sitting up here down the road talking about Cam Cameron being a disciplinarian, we're in trouble. What has happened is we haven't developed an ability to get our team to believe in discipline.
I believe in discipline. I didn't sign on as a dean of boys. I didn't. I signed on to lead and teach people how to put discipline in their lives, discipline so they can go out and play the toughest game, the toughest team sport, I believe, there is. It takes discipline.
I have no interest in being the disciplinarian. I'm sure there will be some things that will come up. Again, Bo, Coach Knight, but Marty can articulate that better than I just did. To his team, he could do that. I think men want discipline. I believe that. I think we all do.

Q. (Question on Jason Taylor.)
CAM CAMERON: I don't think there's anything that I could say about Jason that hasn't already been said, other than the fact that if we can get the message relayed to him that I'm thrilled to death to be on the same team as he is at this point. When you have to prepare for someone that can put his hand on the ground, someone that can stand up on both sides, someone that can drop into coverage, do all the things that he can do - that creates tremendous problems.
You people know how good Dom Capers is. I don't need to keep talking about that, but it's true. That same philosophy that we talk about offensively, you take every talent a guy has, what he does best, you try to create as many problems as you can for the other side of the football. That will be a challenge.
People start to get an idea of all the things we did with him this year. He's going to have to continue to grow. That will be my first challenge to him, just like it would be to LaDainian. You're the MVP. Now what? Lorenzo Neal, you'd have to check the numbers, but I think he had his best year in his 14th year. This year was his 15th, then he had his next best in the 15th. I could be off a year, but I think I'm right.
You don't have to play your best football in your third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh years. There's men out there that can play their best football in their ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, if they can stay healthy. You guys know him better than I do. You now how self-motivated he is. I'd be shocked if he's not excited about trying to be a better football player this year than he was this past year.

Q. (Question on his familiarity with the Dolphins' roster)
CAM CAMERON: I think when you're in the league long enough, you have a pretty good feel for every roster. How does that work? You go against these defenses. We played Miami a year ago. You play against a guy like Zach Thomas, and he makes every play every time you play him. If he doesn't make it, he almost made it. You get pretty familiar. There's only 32 teams. I'm very familiar with this defense.
At the same time what you've done, because of -- doing college draft work as an offensive coach or free agency or whatever it may be, you do a ton of work on guys throughout the league. I probably would bet, if you took the three quarterbacks, if you took Daunte, Joey and Cleo, I've probably seen with my own two eyes every throw they've ever made in their career in the National Football League because that's what you do. You're not only studying what you're doing, you're studying what other people are doing.
I'll have a lot better feel in two months. I'll have a better feel next week than I did this week. I mean, I know quite a bit. But I'm going to know more as we go along. As I said earlier, there's a lot of good coaches here already, I know that. I know there's a lot of good football players here as well. Yeah, there's going to be some change. We know that.
He (Jason Taylor) is the best defensive player in the National Football League. I know guys are going to find out, Shawne Merriman will have a field day with that one. I'm going to be getting a box tonight. I'll have a box tonight with a Lights Out shirt, with a hat and some popcorn or something.
No, I feel awfully good. We got to get better, we all know that. It starts today.
Thank you.

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