Miami Dolphins CB Cam Smith Thriving Without Vic Fangio: ‘I Feel Like I’m Free’

The Miami Dolphins got next to nothing out of their 2023 second-round pick last season. But a bigger, stronger Cam Smith believes he can contribute in Year 2.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — There’s no one reason why then-Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio didn’t play Cam Smith as a rookie in 2023.

It was just five months ago that Fangio said to see the field, Smith needed to “improve in all areas — assignment, technique, execution, know-how.”

Fangio is now gone, so we won’t get his updated evaluation on Smith’s ability. But already, we know one significant way in which the second-year cornerback has changed: He’s noticeably bigger.

Miami Dolphins CB Cam Smith Ready for Year 2 Jump

Smith told reporters here after Miami’s Tuesday OTA practice that he has put on 15 pounds since the Dolphins’ season ended. The secret to his success? Six Ensure shakes a day.

“Physically, I feel like I’m a lot better player,” Smith said. “Gaining the weight, [I’ll] actually actually be able to stop receivers when I press, not absorbing contact.

“And then mentally, just kind of having that season behind me, I can say, ‘All right, I’m good. I got my feet wet.'”

Smith was candid about the mental struggles that come when a high draft pick has an unimpactful rookie season. Smith, taken by the Dolphins 51st overall a year ago April, had just 20 defensive snaps in all of 2023 — fewer than even Kelvin Joseph, a forgotten role player who was off the team by mid-November.

When injuries forced the Dolphins to turn to backups in January’s playoff loss to the Chiefs, Ethan Bonner — an undrafted rookie — got defensive snaps over Smith.

“[There was] definitely frustration,” Smith said. “It was during camp, so it was early. … I mean, of course, you think about it certain times during games, stuff like that.

“But I wasn’t really focused on it, because when I was focused on it, I felt like I was losing my love for the game doing that,” he added. “Like, so just kind of staying in and honing and on what I can do and what I can control, it was a big thing.”

Smith probably won’t get a better chance this offseason to prove to his coaching staff that he’s made the Year 2 jump than now.

Starters Jalen Ramsey and Kendall Fuller have stayed away from Dolphins OTAs this spring (at least for the two open to reporters), and Kader Kohou didn’t practice Tuesday with what looked to be a minor injury.

KEEP READING: Jevon Holland Has No Love Lost for Ex-Dolphins DC Vic Fangio

That meant lots of opportunities for Smith, who (unlike Jevon Holland) had an understated yet still effective reaction to the Dolphins’ decision to move on from Fangio this offseason. He sent out a tweet with a single emoji: An unlocked padlock.

“Yeah, I didn’t have the season I wanted,” Smith said. “I ain’t really get the opportunities I wanted. In the end, ain’t nothing given to you in this league. So stuff happens, and I’m here. So I feel like I’m free.”

Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast

Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Dolphins Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Dolphins Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

Related Articles