The Dolphins started the new league year with a bang by adding a top 5 cornerback in Jalen Ramsey.
The team then continued to add pieces to the defense, but this time, they focused on value. Players like linebacker David Long Jr, safety Deshon Elliott, and they just added today outside linebacker Malik Reed.
However, in Vic Fangio’s defense, I would argue the two most important players are Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb. Bradley Chubb signed a 5-year extension last year worth $110 million in new money with $33.4 million guaranteed at signing. All that to say, he signed for huge money and has played under Vic Fangio before. Chubb arguably played his best ball under Fangio, and because of the new contract, expectations are high.
Last year, Chubb finished with eight sacks between the Broncos and the Dolphins. Chubb also played well in the playoff game against the Bills, finishing with a strip sack on Josh Allen.
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Jaelen Phillips was a high draft pick from the University of Miami and has shown improvement in his first two seasons as a member of the Miami Dolphins. Last season, he finished with seven sacks and a forced fumble and also played well in that playoff game.
This season, both are going to be expected to raise the level of their play and produce more sacks and quarterback pressures in order to make life easier for the cornerbacks and safeties in this new scheme. Barring any injury, there are no excuses for Chubb and Phillips not to cause havoc on the opposing quarterbacks.
Vic Fangio’s defense does not blitz as much as Josh Boyer’s defense, and while a Jalen Ramsey and Xavien Howard combo is great, their job would be much easier if the quarterback didn’t have all day to throw the ball.
I fully expect the Dolphins’ pass rush to be improved this year, and it is going to have to be if the Miami Dolphins expect to make a big run deep into the playoffs and be a Super Bowl contender.