Dolphins Q&A: Why hasn’t Miami’s defense been better under Fangio? Is RB Jeff Wilson Jr. coming for starting job? (2024)

Here’s the latest installment of our Miami Dolphins Q&A, where South Florida Sun Sentinel writers David Furones and Chris Perkins answer questions from readers.

Q: But Chris why is this the result? Is this Fangio not having his guys, sub par play from our D, just not the great Messiah the fans thought? Seemed like he didn’t adjust or plan too much for the game after watching some film. Does he just have to get comfortable with what we have? — @Alpha_Omega1021 on X

A: Yes on the last part, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio needs to get comfortable with what he has. There’s a learning curve involved when you have a new coordinator implementing a new system with a new playing style. Plus, Fangio already told us he doesn’t have the players he needs. He also told us you can’t just have cornerback Xavien Howard shadow a wide receiver. Fangio said the other cornerback must be comfortable switching sides, too.

None of that excuses Fangio or relieves him of responsibility. He’s the highest-paid assistant coach in the NFL. He has to get the job done. But it explains why you haven’t seen immediate results. Beyond that, starters don’t play much in the preseason so Fangio is basically seeing these guys in live action for the first time during the regular season. Again, that’s not an excuse, it’s an explanation of what’s happening.

Q: Jeff Wilson Jr. coming back for that RB1? — @drew_sk33 on X

A: Interesting question. Guys that opened the season on injured reserve are eligible to come off now that they’ve been there four weeks. We’ll find out soon whether running back Wilson is close to being activated.

There’s no rush. Among Raheem Mostert, De’Von Achane, Salvon Ahmed, Chris Brooks and fullback Alec Ingold, the Dolphins are OK for now.

In fact, the big decision this week among RBs will be deciding how many touches Achane should get, and right now it appears he should get more than anyone else.

Still, the way RBs go down due to injuries it’d be nice to know Wilson is an option.

Q: They focused on Stopping Tyreek. And we didn’t adjust by running the ball down their face more. Keep that ball out of Allen’s hands. Also, if Diggs is KILLING US, friggin switch X on him and give him help over the top! You have to adjust every week in the NFL! — @GC72GC72 on X

A: Buffalo’s defense was interesting. As I understand it, they sent pressure on the early downs. And when the Dolphins abandoned the run (coach Mike McDaniel said Monday he put the passing game in a bad situation by abandoning the run), it made them predictable.

In response to knowing the Dolphins were only passing, the Bills used the safeties to provide help over the top on throws outside the numbers, and dropped the linebackers a bit deeper to defend the passes inside the numbers.

Also, the deep safeties prevented Tyreek Hill and the Dolphins’ wide receivers from getting yards after the catch.

As for Josh Allen’s passes to Stefon Diggs, Howard said he wanted that challenge of defending Diggs but Fangio opted to stay with his original plan. I’m not sure why it seemed there weren’t more double teams on Diggs.

Q: What’s the alternative? Who are they playing besides Liam? McDaniel and Grier, two people that Mia fans defend constantly, are saying Liam is the best option. Do you trust them or not? Which team doesn’t need OL help right now? Where are all these teams going to find this help? — @gmeynect1361 on X

A: Backup center Liam Eichenberg is catching lots of grief for his performance at Buffalo. It was a bad performance. But the Dolphins are in this situation because their original plan for a backup center, veteran Dan Feeney, who they signed from the New York Jets in the offseason and gave a $3 million guarantee, didn’t pan out. He likely wasn’t going to make the 53-man regular-season roster after training camp. They were fortunate to trade him to Chicago.

That meant the best options at backup center were either Eichenberg, who first played the position in organized team activities and minicamp, and hardly played it during training camp, guard Robert Jones, who was falling far behind in his bid to become a starting guard before sustaining a knee injury in training camp, guard Lester Cotton, who doesn’t have NFL experience at center, or undrafted rookie Alama Uluave.

The winner was Eichenberg, who’d already struggled at tackle and guard.

You could argue this situation points to poor planning by McDaniel and general manager Chris Grier. However, in fairness you must also consider the offensive line, considered a weakness entering the season, has been OK so far, save for one player in the Bills game. And that line was built by McDaniel and Grier.

The question is whether you trust McDaniel and Grier to address the situation going forward.

Q: Chris, this fan base wants to win now and there’s always an excuse as to why we are not deep at a position why our general manager cannot provide us what we need in an excellent offensive line. The window for the Dolphins to win is small. It’s now or never. — @yankeeslife87 on X

A: Understood. As I’ve said, I think this team, as currently constructed, has a two-year Super Bowl window. I say two years because in 2025, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will likely start earning $30 million a year or more, you have to give defensive tackle Christian Wilkins a raise, and players such as wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, edge rusher Jaelan Phillips, guard Robert Hunt, and safety Jevon Holland will all require new, expensive contracts.

And now, considering left tackle Terron Armstead’s injury situation, you might need to acquire a top-line left tackle in the offseason, which will cost many millions.

So, yeah, it’s kind of now or never. But “now” can be a long time. For example, the Dolphins can still make a major acquisition at the trade deadline, such as last year when they acquired Wilson and edge rusher Bradley Chubb.

Have a question?

EmailDavid Furones, or tag@ChrisPerkor@DavidFurones_ on X (Twitter).

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Dolphins Q&A: Why hasn’t Miami’s defense been better under Fangio? Is RB Jeff Wilson Jr. coming for starting job? (2024)

FAQs

Does Miami Dolphins have a good run defense? ›

The Dolphins are also fourth against the run, allowing just 90.4 rushing yards a game. Only Chicago, New England and San Francisco are allowing fewer rushing yards per game.

Is Vic Fangio the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator? ›

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio have mutually agreed to part ways following the 2023 season. "I want to thank Vic for his contributions in 2023.

Where does Vic Fangio live? ›

Fangio served as the Dolphins' defensive coordinator last season, but Miami reportedly allowed him to leave to be closer to his family. The 65-year-old Fangio is from Dunmore, Pennsylvania, just outside Scranton and roughly two and a half hours from Philadelphia.

Did the Miami Dolphins hire a defensive coordinator? ›

The Dolphins introduced Anthony Weaver as their defensive play-caller on Thursday. The 43-year-old Weaver joins the Dolphins after serving as the Baltimore Ravens' defensive line coach the past three seasons. "I think of coaching as like service work," Weaver said.

What is Miami Dolphins Defence ranked? ›

Total Defense
#TeamDefense Yards Avg.
10Dolphins318.3
11Falcons321.1
12Bears324.2
13Saints327.2
28 more rows
Feb 2, 2024

How is Miami Dolphins defense ranked? ›

NFL 2023 Division Standings
AFC NorthPCT
2Dolphins.647
AFC WestPCT
1Chiefs.647
2Raiders.471
7 more rows

Why did Miami let Vic Fangio go? ›

ESPN also reported that Miami is allowing Fangio to leave to be closer to his family in Pennsylvania. Last year, ESPN reported that Fangio likely would have been the next Eagles defensive coordinator if not for the Arizona Cardinals tampering with Jonathan Gannon.

Why did Vic Fangio leave Miami Dolphins? ›

The Miami Dolphins landed Vic Fangio as one of their top assistant coaches last offseason because they were willing to make the grizzled coach the highest-paid defensive coordinator in NFL history. But money wasn't enough to keep Fangio around for a second season.

What type of defense does Vic Fangio run? ›

Fangio's defense usually has a two high safety look with light boxes. It also doesn't blitz a lot, but Fangio is known for his ability to disguise coverages and pressures with the same look, according to Shawn Syed of Sumer Sports, who wrote "The Book of Fangio."

What is Vic Fangio known for? ›

He has a lot of experience, including history as a head coaching. Fangio has been coaching in the NFL for 36seasons. In addition to serving as the head coach of the Broncos from 2019-2021 — and putting up a 19-30 record during his time there — Fangio has been a defensive coordinator for six NFL teams.

Who did Vic Fangio replace? ›

Fangio, 65, replaced Josh Boyer as Miami's defensive coordinator last offseason and led the Dolphins' defense to a No. 10 finish in 2023, up from 18th at the end of the 2022 season. It was the first time Miami finished a season with a top-10 defense since 2010.

Where is Fangio buried? ›

The five-time Formula 1 world champion had been buried in a cemetery in his home town of Balcarce since his death in 1995 aged 84, but his remains have been exhumed and relocated to a dedicated area of rest within the Museo Juan Manuel Fangio, close to the house where he was born in 1911.

Who is the Miami Dolphins' new defensive coordinator? ›

"This is an exciting day for me and the Miami Dolphins," Head Coach Mike McDaniel said Thursday as he introduced the team's new defensive coordinator, Anthony Weaver, to the local media.

Have the Miami Dolphins named Anthony Weaver their new defensive coordinator? ›

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins announced they have named Anthony Weaver defensive coordinator. The 2024 season will mark Weaver's 20th season in the NFL – his 13th as a coach after seven as an NFL player.

What happened to Eric Bieniemy? ›

Eric Bieniemy officially named UCLA's associate head coach and offensive coordinator. LOS ANGELES (AP) — UCLA made it official on Saturday, announcing Eric Bieniemy is the Bruins' associate head coach and offensive coordinator.

Which NFL team has the best run defense? ›

Who has the best run defense in the NFL? The Chicago bears have the best run defense in the NFL, allowing a league-low 84 rushing yards per game.

Do the Dolphins run the ball a lot? ›

The Dolphins currently stand second in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 144.5 and they're at the top in rushing yards per attempt at 5.26.

What do Dolphins do for defense? ›

Dolphins use a plethora of defense mechanisms to defend themselves from danger. These include using their intelligence, incredible speed, communication, echolocation, and traveling in pods. In fact, dolphins are able to scare off sharks just by swimming in large groups.

What do Dolphins do for Defence? ›

The best defense mechanism that dolphins have is their social organization and the strong bonds between them. The primary purpose of pods, composed of about 12 dolphins is the protection of the members. These groups make sharks, the only predator that dolphins have to face, to avoid approaching the pod.

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