Their new plan for making up for Phillips’ loss of production? It’ll look a lot like the old plan for making up for Phillips’ lack of production. Fortunately for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, he’s got proven options.
Miami Dolphins’ Vic Fangio on Jaelan Phillips Replacement Plan
“Jaelan is a great player,” Fangio said during his Thursday news conference, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Make no mistake about it. When he missed those games early in the year, it took him a game or two to get back rolling to be his normal self, but this last month or so he’s been playing great for us. We’re going to miss him.
“He’s a part of us playing the run, and obviously playing the pass, rushing the passer. We’re going to miss him tremendously.”
Vic Fangio on the loss of Jaelan Phillips and how they’ll replace him pic.twitter.com/3cfVMGCpNd
— Chris Perkins (@chrisperk) November 30, 2023
That’s certainly true. The Dolphins’ defense is diminished. But the situation isn’t as dire as some think.
Back and oblique injuries allowed Phillips to log just 29 of a possible 276 snaps in Weeks 2-5, so that’s a pretty solid sample size to use to guesstimate how Fangio will proceed.
In those four games, it was a lot of Andrew Van Ginkel, and some (but not as much as one would think) Emmanuel Ogbah. (Fangio also suggested new addition Jason Pierre-Paul will have a package of plays in nickel when he gets up to speed.)
Van Ginkel was on the field for 71.7% of Miami’s defensive snaps during that stretch, while Ogbah’s participation rate was just 30%. Both, however, made the most of their opportunities.
Van Ginkel’s stats Weeks 2-5? Six tackles for loss, four sacks, six quarterback hits, and one fumble recovery. Ogbah was just as efficient in his limited opportunities, recording one TFL, 2.5 sacks, 3 QB hits, and an interception.
As a whole, the Dolphins’ defense allowed 101 points but held their opponents to 3.4 yards per carry and 5.2 yards per play.
What’s more, Miami’s pass rush was actually a bit more effective in games Phillips was hurt (3.5) than in games he was healthy (3.4).
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