OK, so now it’s actually official – Vic Fangio is the Miami Dolphins Defensive Coordinator. Miami Dolphins writer/analyst Travis Wingfield recently interviewed Vic Fangio. The last question Wingfield posed to our new DC was “What do you hope to accomplish here in Miami?” I loved his answer, and for some reason, perhaps his age lends more credibility when saying what he said, but it was inspiring and believable that this is his aim. Fangio replied . . . “I want to take this franchise to heights that this franchise had been at in years past, and I think the NFL is a better league when the Miami Dolphins are contenders”. What I hope that Fangio can bring, and it would go hand on hand with making the Dolphins contenders, is consistency from our defense. Our defense has been inconsistent from game to game, even quarter to quarter. We’re all aware injuries to our secondary really hurt us, and I think nearly all of us felt that running the same scheme which required so much from your secondary, which was previously ran by two excellent cover corners in Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, with help from 2 excellent safeties in Jevon Holland Holland and Byron Jones, along with excellent nickel back Nik Needham, was bereft of 3/5’s of that unit. To further weaken the unit, Xavien Howard was dealing with groin injuries for at least half the season, and never regained his former level of play. To ask undrafted free agents and ST’s players converted to active duty to play at the level that the squad did last season was foolish, and no adjustments were made to help the depleted secondary.
We know we have some talent on defense, some top talent, some gritty lunchpail guys, and some young players on the cusp of becoming all pros. I think our best, and most consistent player has been DT Christian Wilkins. He’s had back to back magnificent seasons and has to be considered one of the best DT/DE’s in the NFL. In the secondary, last season it looked like Jevon Holland was going to be a perennial all pro, this past season was somewhat of a letdown. Regardless of this past season, I believe Holland can be an all pro safety. For the lunchpail crew, no player on the Dolphins exemplifies that better than DT/DE Zach Sieler. Sieler is in the final year of his contract and he’s a player I hope the Dolphins lock up for a new 4 or 5 year contract. Jaelan Phillips is an outstanding physical specimen who appears to be ready to break out and have a pro bowl season. Despite slipping to 7 sacks this season compared to 8.5 sacks 2 seasons ago, he was always around the opposing QB and his 25 QB hits easily led the team. We traded for Bradley Chubb, and he’s one player that will have to do better in aqua and orange. I believe Fangio will accomplish that, in fact, I believe Fangio will have our front 7 playing better than ever. Relying on DB’s blitzing to get pressure will not be a staple of this defense.
We definitely have work to do on the front 7. The one linebacker we had last season that may best fit the Fangio defensive scheme is Elandon Roberts. Roberts is a run stuffing downhill linebacker who makes the tackle. He’s a stout guy in the middle, but Roberts is an UFA, so we’ll see how much the Dolphins want him back, and whether he wants to come back. In the 3-4 set up, we have LDE Christian Wilkins, NT Raekwon Davis, RDE Emmanuel Ogbah, LOLB jaelan Phillips, LILB ?, RILB Jerome Baker, and ROLB Bradley Chubb. I think Raekwon Davis needs to either step up and become a better player, or he may be moved aside. I’m not sure that depth guy John Jenkins is the answer either, but Fangio will probably be looking to get the most of Davis. At 6’7 330, he has to make more of an impact. Countless times our outside rushers flushed the QB but the middle had no pressure allowing the QB to step up. If Davis was able to collapse the pocket occasionally, our outside guys all would have had double digit sacks. We need an interior guy to do that. Raekwon Davis is also in his walk year contractually, so maybe that will help him find the fire to have a better year. Back to Elandon Roberts, he had a great season and far exceeded my expectations. I’d be more than happy to have him back.
Ditching the Cover zero will help our secondary, enable us to play more zone defense, and take the pressure off individual coverage assignments. No longer will our DB’s be on an island by themselves. None of us have any clue as to whether there’s any chance that CB Byron Jones will play for our team next season. He has a huge dead cap hit of over $14M, about $10M can be deferred to the next season of we cut Jones after June 1st. I don’t know where relations are between Jones and the Miami front office, but a healthy Byron Jones has always been a good player for our team, and if they want him back, I’m good with it. S Brandon Jones looks well into his recovery from his ACL surgery November 6th, 2022, and he should be ready to go next season. Jevon Holland I’m sure will return to form with Jones as his tandem mate. Another interesting situation to watch is whether or not we’re able to re-sign NB Nik Needham. I love the guy, he stepped up every time we needed him but was also injured this season. one week prior to S Brandon Jones going down. Needham suffered a torn achilles, which is a more difficult surgery to bounce back from, but if he’s healthy and ready to go, I hope he considers coming back here.
We have 5 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, none in round 1. We have ZERO RB’s on our current roster, but there’s a good chance we’ll re-sign one or both of the 2022 tandem of Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. I think there’s a very good chance we draft a RB, and pick up a few as UDFA’s after the draft as well. As far as what position will get the first pick, (#51) Round 2, that remains to be seen. Vic Fangio will undoubtedly like to use it on a defensive player, and HC Mike McDaniel on an offensive player, but Chris Grier will do his best for the team. Last year’s draft yielded very little, although we only had 4 picks, one 3rd RD pick (LB Channing Tindall), one 4th RD pick (WR Erik Ezukanma), and two 7th RD picks, (LB Cameron Goode and QB Skylar Thompson). Of the 4, only QB Skylar Thompson saw any considerable playing time, and only due to injuries. I’ll hope that at least 2 of them make a stronger showing this season, especially Tindall and Ezukanma. Perhaps McDaniel has an aversion to playing rookies, but Ezukanma has a clear path with both Trent Sherfield and River Cracraft being UFA’s. TE is definitely another position we will need to address with the almost certain departure of Mike Gesicki. Supposedly we love Tanner Conner, but I didn’t see anything this past season to validate that, but I’m also not present at practices, where he must have shown promise. We need to draft well, restructure some contracts, and choose wisely (and thriftily) in free agency.
NEW BLOG UP!!
right on the page turn!
Magic I tell ya!
How can we control you, let me count the ways. IDK maybe they need more revenue