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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mike Masala

How the reported hiring of Vic Fangio changes the Dolphins’ defense

After firing defensive coordinator Josh Boyer along with three of his positional coaches at the end of the season, the Miami Dolphins have appeared to find the next man for the job in Vic Fangio.

Fangio, 64, has reportedly agreed to terms to join Mike McDaniel’s staff after his Philadelphia Eagles, where he’s currently a defensive consultant, play in the upcoming Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.

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How exactly will his arrival change things for that side of the ball?

Under Boyer’s tutelage, Miami ranked 31st in takeaways (14) and 24th in scoring (23.5 points allowed per game). Part of these issues was due to the injuries that the unit suffered.

Cornerback Byron Jones missed all season after offseason Achilles surgery. Nik Needham, Brandon Jones and Emmanuel Ogbah all went down with season-ending injuries at various points as well.

Despite the loss of valuable, impactful contributors, Boyer didn’t adjust his defensive plans. He continued to deploy man-to-man schemes with heavy pressure, blitzing at the third-highest rate in the NFL (33.3%).

With Fangio leading the defense, Miami will likely see a regression in the pure number of blitzes. During his years as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, Fangio’s units never blitzed more than 27.9% of the time in a single season.

They’ll also likely use more zone coverages.

Fangio’s Cover 6 scheme will be useful for a secondary that has a number of players coming back from injury, as even Xavien Howard dealt with groin injuries in 2022.

This would allow the cornerbacks to have some deep safety help over the top which they would certainly benefit from.

Obviously, the coaching staff won’t be the only thing that changes. Miami will also look to add some talent to their defense, and it wouldn’t be too surprising to see a player or two traded or released.

Until then, we’ll just have to imagine what the group looks like, and even that abstract concept feels better than it did in 2022.

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