How Worried Is Mike McDaniel About the Miami Dolphins’ Defense?

The Miami Dolphins defense is a concern. There's no debating that. The only questions that matter are "how big of a concern" and "can it be fixed?"

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins have the AFC East’s worst defense through four weeks. Skeptical? The stats tell the tale.

But your eyes don’t lie, either.

Sunday was ugly when a monthlong concern bubbled over into a mini-crisis. Josh Allen shredded Miami’s D for 320 yards and four touchdowns on 21 of 25 passing. The Bills tallied 48 points, 24 first downs, and 414 yards in the worst loss of the Mike McDaniel era.

The Dolphins have now faced two elite offenses in 2023 (the Bills and Chargers), and both have torched them. Stefon Diggs led the way on Sunday, totaling 120 yards and three touchdowns on just six catches.

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The schedule does soften a bit in the near future, with home games against the Giants and Panthers in the next two weeks.

But after that, the Dolphins face the Eagles and Chiefs in the span of three weeks. Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts will surely see what’s gone wrong in Miami and try to exploit it.

Mike McDaniel on Miami Dolphins Defense

With all that being said, what is McDaniel’s level of concern surrounding a defensive unit that has taken a significant step back in Vic Fangio’s first season?

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“We are 3-1, and two of those wins came with, bottom line, the defense was on the field to win the game, so to speak, both at the Chargers and New England,” McDaniel said. “So, like every season, first and foremost, I know nothing matters during the course of the season if you’re not progressing and getting better.”

“My concern would be if what happened to us on this previous game, we didn’t absolutely get better from,” McDaniel added. “Because I know the journey is long, and at the end of it, for the season to be worth anything, you have to be in big games and be at your best, and those things that happened on Sunday can’t happen.”

McDaniel went on to say that he has “the utmost faith in the defensive coaching staff and our players.”

But he also relayed some tough truths during Monday’s post-mortem.

“I was very candid and let them know that my expectation is that we aren’t that team that continually makes the same mistakes,” McDaniel added. “I really, really want to see guys come together in their journey and understand that not one player has to make a play on each play.

“I think there’s some of that, too, where guys have a high standard they can feel during the game, and it’s not living up to their standard. So it’s, ‘Alright, well, I’m going to go strip the ball from this ball carrier,’ and then not get the ball carrier down and leak for seven more yards. Things of that nature. Guys just trying to make a play.”

“The entire locker room, they need to really come together as a group, and we need to as a defense play better team defense,” he added.

“That’s the great thing about this game is there’s nowhere to hide. It is what it is, and that doesn’t bother me. You get beat 48-20, you should know coming into the building that things have to get corrected, and that’s not to our standard. I think we’re on that process. I think meetings have been good today, and we’ll see what that brings forth on Wednesday.”

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