MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Come Friday, the Miami Dolphins‘ fan base at large will get the chance to see what a select few have been able to witness over the last few weeks: Vic Fangio’s defense.
Fangio brought his zone-heavy system with him to Miami this winter when he took over as the team’s third defensive coordinator in the last five seasons. His influential scheme will make its aqua and orange debut in Friday’s Dolphins preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
And unless Fangio undergoes a complete personality change between now and the next time we talk to him, don’t expect him to be close to satisfied.
Vic Fangio To Make Debut for Miami Dolphins
“We have some good talent in some positions,” Fangio said this week. “We need to find guys to be able to execute and play good in all 11 positions. And we’re working to get that done. So we’re not a finished product by any means, but I do like where we’re headed.”
Vic Fangio on the current state of the Miami Dolphins defense pic.twitter.com/jWgZ6tNzEd
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) August 4, 2023
That talent includes a front seven chock full of playmakers — most notably, Christian Wilkins, Bradley Chubb, Jaelan Phillips, and Emmanuel Ogbah — and a secondary that, even without Jalen Ramsey (knee) for the foreseeable future, still has more than enough quality to be a problem.
“Well, it doesn’t make you go back to the drawing board and tweak the system at all,” Fangio said. “I mean, you might have to use parts of it a little bit more than you had planned to, or you just have to always compensate. If you have a versatile system, you don’t have to go back to the drawing board. We’ve got to find players to step up and play good in his absence and go from there.”
Even with the Dolphins’ talent reservoir, Fangio still needs to identify a couple of key spots on the team’s roster over the next three weekends.
He wants a cornerback to emerge from a group of options that include Noah Igbinoghene and rookie Cam Smith. He needs to identify a safety to start alongside Jevon Holland (Elijah Campbell, DeShon Elliott, and Brandon Jones are all in the mix).
Plus Fangio doesn’t know who will be the defensive tackles behind Wilkins, Raekwon Davis, and Zach Sieler.
But those are largely first-world problems. Fangio had options when he jumped back into the job market back in January, and the Dolphins’ top-end talent was surely a big reason he decided on Miami.
And he surely has the credibility to lead such a strong-willed room.
“I like the aspect of the way he challenges you,” said Chubb, who played for Fangio when both were in Denver. “He doesn’t like go forth and say, ‘Oh man, you got to do this.’ He kind of just says it in a subtle way with that old kind of like tone that condescending tone. You’re like, ‘Hold on was he talking to me? How did he mean that?’
“You don’t really ‘Aw, man he’s talking crap about me, I got to go do this.’ You accept that challenge because I’m about to go out there and show him that I can do this and I will do this,” he added.
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