Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is a buck-stops-here type of coach.
And it should come as no surprise that he did his best Harry Truman impression Thursday in his first news conference after his unit surrendered 34 points, 233 rushing yards, and 5.8 yards per carry Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.
I didn’t have the guys ready to play the type of game that I think they’re capable of playing,” Fangio told reporters.
Vic Fangio on Miami Dolphins’ Run Defense
Here is more from Fangio about a unit that, after one week, ranks 31st or 32nd in every major run defense category:
“I think most of that was my fault. I didn’t have the guys ready to play the type of game that I think they’re capable of playing. Somewhere along the line, I didn’t do a good job of preparing them for the run game during the week. The 10 days of preparation could have started a week earlier.
“Somewhere along that way, I missed getting them ready for that.”
Vic Fangio takes the blame for the run defense pic.twitter.com/pLRiIYXo4C
— Chris Perkins (@chrisperk) September 14, 2023
The Dolphins’ issues went beyond coaching, of course. The way their defensive line got moved by Los Angeles’ offensive line, no amount of scheming could have shut down the Chargers’ ground attack.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel had another explanation on Wednesday:
“I think there are a lot of people with the right motivations that were trying to independently make plays and not thinking about technique and fundamentals. So that’s been my message to them, which is my message to all players. Really, it’s humanity.
“If you’re able to worry completely about what you can control, and only that, it’s amazing what individuals can do. … That’s a process that is not easy. It is very hard in this world to not worry about all the stuff that you can’t control. But if you’re able to do that, you might turn the page and find yourself getting better at what you actually care about.”
Perhaps they figure it out this weekend. The Dolphins on Sunday face a New England Patriots offense that didn’t run the ball well in Week 1. Pats running backs managed 54 yards on 19 carries (2.8 average) against the Eagles.
Dolphins edge defender Jaelan Phillips said he “absolutely” believes teams will continue to try shoving the ball down Miami’s throats until Fangio’s group proves it can stop it.
“It’s a copycat league,” Phillips said. “So any time you’re assessing somebody on a film and you see that a certain play or a certain formation or something has success, you’re most likely going to try to repeat that success. So we have to go out there and set the tone and prove that we can stop the run.”
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