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While the Dolphins defense improved towards the end of the season, culminating in their best performance of the year against the Bills in the Wildcard round, the team decided to move on from Josh Boyer and, ultimately, the Flores defense. It had to be done. While Boyer deserves some slack for all the injuries to key players in our secondary, he struggled to adapt and, overall, the defense was very underwhelming this year. 

The Dolphins have interviewed at least four candidates for the DC opening:

  • Vic Fangio - Longtime defensive coordinator who is currently a consultant with the Eagles
  • Sean Desai - Associate head coach and defensive assistant in Seattle
  • Kris Richard - New Orleans co-defensive coordinator
  • Anthony Campanile - Dolphins linebackers coach

Richard interviewed with the Dolphins in 2019 for the open HC position that eventually went to Flores so it's no surprise they reached out to him now. I don't know much about Desai but he seems to have impressed in both Chicago and Seattle. Fangio is obviously the belle of the ball and he'll be a dream signing for whichever team lands him. There were reports that McDaniel wanted to bring in Fangio last offseason, but Fangio decided to take a year off after being let go as HC of the Broncos. Carolina interviewed him, and he has ties to the Panthers and their new HC Frank Reich. Fangio was the franchise's first DC and seems to have had a good relationship over the years with Reich who was their QB at the time. It's plausible Fangio could consider San Fran as it looks like their DC, DeMeco Ryans, could leave for a HC gig. The Eagles could lose their DC Jonathan Gannon, so replacing him with Fangio could be a smooth transition in Philly for everyone involved. Ryans and Gannon have been linked heavily to the Texans job, so it seems likely one of them could get it.

The Dolphins have decided to go all in with this roster and Tua so an experienced DC with a proven track record is far and away the best option over unknowns, even if those unknowns have shown a lot of promise. Another positive with Fangio is that he may not have any interest in being a HC again, which means Miami could lock him up long term. It seems inevitable that Desai and Richard will get their shots at HC sooner rather than later, especially if they find success in Miami.

My fingers are crossed for Fangio. Miami's offense ranked top 10 this past season and could certainly replicate that in year two in McDaniel's scheme. Adding Fangio would set my expectations for next year through the roof, which is uncharted territory over the last 20 years. The heartbreak is inevitable, but at least hiring Fangio would give us all something to be very excited for until the hammer falls.

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While the specifics won't be set for a few more months, we know the home and away games for Miami next year:

Home

Buffalo Bills

New England Patriots

Fuck the Jets

Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders

Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants

Tennessee Titans

Carolina Panthers

 

Away

Buffalo Bills

New England Patriots

Fuck the Jets

Kansas City Chiefs 

LA Chargers

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Commanders

Baltimore Ravens

 

Of course we play the Ravens again, and it looks pretty tough on paper but that means nothing at this point, plenty will change over the next 8 months.

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Just jotting down my thoughts on the state of the team going into the 2023 offseason. We have very little draft capital and are not in a great space cap wise, so Grier has his work cut out for him. The biggest issues I see:

  • O-Line - When Armstead played this year, the line seemed much improved over last year. The problem is that Armstead had numerous injuries and the line was historically awful last year, so "much improved" was still bad. They ended up ranking 31st in the league.
  • Running Backs - Both Jeff Wilson Jr. and Raheem Mostert are free agents so whether we bring one or both of them back, we need to address the backfield. 
  • Tight Ends - Our tight ends were just about complete non factors this year. Gesicki had stretches where he contributed but he's very likely to not be back next year and it was clear McDaniel doesn't see him as a fit for his scheme. 
  • Back up QB - A lot of fans are going to be pounding the table for a veteran QB to back up Tua due to the fact that we can't rely on him to play a full season, but I'm more than happy with sticking with Skylar as QB2. We've tried spending millions on veteran backup QBs with plenty of starting experience the last two seasons who just ended up losing when they played anyways. Skylar is cheap and we need all the cap flexibility we can get.
  • There's multiple things on the defensive side of the ball I'm not going to elaborate on yet because I think getting a solid DC with a proven track record and being healthy in the secondary would honestly make the biggest differences here. We need to lock up Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler, they both anchored the defensive line and were flat out menaces to opposing O-Lines. We don't know how Nik Needham will come back from an achille's injury. We probably will be moving on from Byron Jones but at least Kader Kohou played lights out this year and could be counted on to replace him. X heavily regressed but was it due to the scheme issues and all the injuries? I think we can still count on him to play well. Linebackers were still a weak spot as well. We've got a lot of great young talent to continue building around though. Please, football Gods, let us get Vic Fangio.
  • Jason Sanders had his second poor year in a row. I was hoping his issues last season were in part due to Michael Palardy, because it was hard to fathom him suddenly dropping off from All-Pro caliber, but his struggles this year have me worried. I'd be surprised if they don't at least bring in competition.

That's it for now, I'll revisit as the offseason goes on. Until then, Fins up!

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Nice write-up!

I haven't seen enough from the Dolphins, but I figure if they're scoring points like they were, they probably need to rely on their defense a bit more. Is there a favorite for the Miami DC position from what you've seen? Panther fans want Fangio badly over any of the other candidates, but everything I've seen shared at the Panther forums suggests that Miami is a done deal. Yet many also embellish just a tad, so I'd love to hear the other side on what Dolphins fans think is the most likely scenario.

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Didn't get to respond before the news broke, Fangio was seen as the front runner, but I feel like that was just because Miami was going all in on him and he was the guy the fans badly wanted, myself included, haha. I saw reports saying Fangio was likely to land in Miami but I feel like sports reporting needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt these days. Either way, I'm stoked. I would have been happy with Desai or Richard based on what I read about them, but I really wanted someone with a proven track record. Kind of like how McVay brought in Wade Phillips. It allowed McVay to focus on offense and establishing his scheme. McDaniel had to get involved with the defense in year 1. Obviously, the HC should be able to do that but McDaniel is really inexperienced so he needs time to get there. This wasn't just his first year as a HC, it was his first year as a full time play caller too, and his scheme is really complicated.

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Either I didn't know, or I completely forgot about the whole McDaniel situation, but I've always loved the approach of bringing in the best people to be position coaches, regardless of previous connections. Obviously there needs to be some chemistry, but not only do you have a great coach, but you can also learn so much more in that 3-4 years having a guy like Fangio in place. It doesn't happen often, but those that do usually see sustained success. I can see the same with McDaniel, like Mcvay, and McPayton sean payten

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Whelp, looks like Fangio isn’t coming to Miami after all. This puts the focus back on Desai and Richard, who I feel like would be decent hires. But they know they weren’t Miami’s first choice now and would only be hearing back because we were dumped by Fangio. Promoting Campanile would be insanely disappointing after thinking we got Fangio. Yet again, us Dolphins fans are Charlie Brown trying to kick a football held by Lucy, never learning to just walk away. 

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I mean... I really really really don't want to keep having to do this, but I too know the feeling of being dumped by Fangio this week.

Spider-Man Reaction GIF

Let's just bring Dan Henning back, and he can co-call plays for the Panthers and Dolphins. I can't wait for Wildcat Bowl 2023.

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He might just be making his rounds, still. He got offered to be the highest-paid coordinator in the league from Carolina. He didn't decline but it sounds like we were an option if Miami didn't match, which they did. It sounds like Carolina agreed to the terms of the contract, as well.

I think the media just ran with it, assuming he wouldn't listen to any more teams. I think Fangio will end up where he feels he has the best chance to get a championship while there, while also being the highest-paid DC.

FWIW, it sounds like Carolina's offer is probably off the table after Fangio took the offer to Miami. Rhule did the same thing after agreeing to terms with the Panthers, but unfortunately, the Giants didn't match.

BRING ON THE HENNING!

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  • 7 months later...

Highlights from the Dolphins 70-20 win over the Broncos

I watched Red Zone for the 1:00 games, meaning I got to watch the Dolphins game since they refused to stop scoring. I can't see a game like this happening again, anytime soon. It couldn't have happened to a more deserving team and coach. Congrats on the huge win, Dolphins fans! I can't wait for the matchup vs the Chiefs. 🎆

Tom Grossi - Broncos and Dolphins Fan Reactions to the game

 

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