No incumbent Miami Dolphins player entered the 2022 season with higher expectations than safety Jevon Holland. Perhaps the expectations were unrealistically high. Holland — a member of the all-rookie team in 2021 — had a fine second season, but it didn’t match the hype.
He recorded fewer forced turnovers, fewer tackles for loss, and fewer quarterback hits in Year 2 than he did in Year 1. Fortunately for Holland, the dynamic changes again now in Year 3. The arrival of Vic Fangio and Jalen Ramsey both takes media attention away from Holland and also sets him up to succeed in a way no Dolphins safety has in years.
Can he level up? Holland discussed the season to come during a Zoom call with local reporters Tuesday.
Miami Dolphins’ Jevon Holland Is Thinking Big
Holland is set to thrive in Fangio’s safety-friendly defense. And he shouldn’t have to cover up for as many mistakes on the outside with Xavien Howard healed from a groin injury and Ramsey acquired from the Los Angeles Rams via trade.
“Rams[ey] is a hell of a player, clearly,” Holland said. “He’s just got so much knowledge that, you know, puts me in a position to be able to develop more. And he’s a great guy, funny dude. He’s very nice for the locker room.”
Holland should also benefit from the return of fellow safety Brandon Jones from injury.
For much of the 2022 season, Holland was the only healthy Week 1 starter in a secondary that gave up the sixth-most passing yards in football (234.8 per game) and had the league’s third-worst interception rate (1.3%).
The talent and scheme should both be much improved in 2023. Which is why the expectations for this Dolphins team, in general, and their defense, in particular, are through the roof.
“It is what it is, man,” Holland said, when asked about those expectations. “It is what it is. I mean, it’s not gonna change what we do on the field. Your expectation is your expectation. That’s y’all — not in the building. It ain’t got nothing to do with us. We just gonna keep doing what we doing and play.”
Holland, on Tuesday, was most candid and introspective when asked about his own performance in 2022 — what went well, what didn’t.
“Tackling out of the post is always a difficult feat for free safeties, safeties in general,” he said. “I feel like I improved on that, you know, as the season progressed, I was put in a lot of different positions during the season last year, and I was able to handle those. So I was proud of myself for that, but also wanting to continue to, you know, build and capitalize on the opportunities that are in front of me.
“Yeah, man, not leaving money on the field, things like that. It’s a new defense. So, you know, there’s a lot of moving, parts getting to know the defense better, just understanding more. So baby steps right now.
“But I’m not really goal-based, you know. When you’re goal based and you don’t succeed, or you get to your goal, you know, you kind of fall into a depressive state or a negative state. I’m enjoying myself and enjoying the process itself throughout my whole time here. So, I’m happy either way. I’m just enjoying playing the game and, and, and living a good life. Can’t even trip.”
That led us to an obvious follow-up: Are things like Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams a motivation? Or simply a nice reward for a strong season?
Holland suggested it’s the former.
“Absolutely,” he replied. “You know, people have North Stars, and I don’t think it’s negative, it’s a bad thing to have a North Star, but I, you know, I don’t focus on that, you know, day in and day out.
“I focus on pushing myself, pushing past my limits, day in and day out, because I know that I’m getting better progressively. So if I’m getting better progressively, you know, from the point of when we started to now, and, and, and so forth. I mean, I just know that I’ll be better next season because I’m continuously trying to get better. So, that’s basically my process.”
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