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    The No. 1 Factor That Will Determine Jalen Ramsey’s 2024 Role in Miami Dolphins Defense

    The Miami Dolphins want to unlock the best of Jalen Ramsey in 2024. But to do so, they have to trust that their other defensive backs won't get exposed.

    MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — New Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver wants to unlock the best in Jalen Ramsey this fall.

    And Jalen Ramsey’s best comes not from lining him up almost exclusively as the boundary corner — which was Vic Fangio’s approach in 2023 — but by moving him all over the defensive backfield.

    How Will Miami Dolphins Use Jalen Ramsey in 2024?

    Fangio’s reluctance to do that led to big-time friction between player and coach in 2023, and was a factor in the Dolphins’ decision to move on from their DC this past offseason.

    “Those are things that I’ve done throughout my whole career besides last year,” Ramsey told reporters at last week’s minicamp. “Last year was the only time I didn’t follow and only stayed on one side of the field. So last year was kind of a different year for me rather than this being different.

    “This is like back to what I do, back to where I thrive and [make an] impact and have a lot of fun playing the game.”

    But just because the new Dolphins defensive coaching staff wants to use Ramsey as their Swiss Army Knife doesn’t necessarily mean they will.

    Ramsey’s 2024 role will depend less on the Dolphins’ trust in him (which couldn’t be higher), and more on their trust in those around him.

    For Ramsey to play multiple roles, the rest of the starting secondary has to feel comfortable doing the same.

    So expect the experimentation that began this spring to get dialed up to 10 during training camp, which begins next month.

    This week’s addition of Marcus Maye should add to Weaver’s comfort level in his defensive backfield. The Dolphins now have three safeties they can trust — Maye, Jevon Holland, and Jordan Poyer.

    The early reviews on cornerback Kendall Fuller, another free agent pickup, have also been good. But there’s no denying that plenty of questions remain about Miami’s No. 3-5 cornerbacks.

    Cam Smith, Kader Kohou, Ethan Bonner, Nik Needham, and Siran Neal will all get long looks this summer. Ramsey should be rooting for them all to succeed if he wants maximum position flexibility.

    “There’s not one player in the back end, including Jalen, that has any questions on the motivations on their coach,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said. “I’m very proud of this offseason because it’s hard in the NFL. There are so many different things going on with individual players and everyone has scars.

    “So to be able to actually have the right coaching points and being able to reach the players is super important and that facilitation is evident to me through our practices. Jalen is moving around because he’s bought into it and all the players around him are pumped about it because they’re bought into what opportunities that presents for them.”

    Jalen Ramsey Injury Update

    Another reason to expect a better version of Ramsey in 2024: He’s almost a full year removed from surgery to repair a damaged meniscus. The injury kept him out of seven games last year.

    Ramsey last week bristled at the idea that he wasn’t 100% after his midseason return, saying: “If I didn’t feel good, I wouldn’t have played last year,” and “I played, and I was a Pro Bowler, so I did pretty well.”

    But there are subtler ways in which Ramsey should show year-over-year improvement.

    “Jalen Ramsey is an exception as an athlete so you’re not really looking at it like it’s a big jump for him necessarily from an athleticism standpoint,” McDaniel said. “[But] I’m sure deep down in the subconscious, the more reps that you have successfully executing without injury, the more inherent confidence or maybe conviction you can play with.

    “He has come back this year really, really strong. We didn’t have this situation last year where he was in the spring time in team reps. I think the first 7-on-7 rep he made it known that he was there and he’s doing it in multiple of ways. Making plays in coverage, in the run game, from various amounts of spots.

    “It’s cool because he helps — when he’s activated like that and he’s engaged and trusts his situation and is thriving, he’s a value-adder for his teammates.”

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