Mike McDaniel Just Secured The NFL Offseason's Biggest Assistant Coaching Hire In New Dolphins DC Vic Fangio
Normally a defensive coordinator hire wouldn't be that big of a deal, but make no mistake: The Miami Dolphins landing Vic Fangio is a huge deal. Mike McDaniel rolled with Josh Boyer as his defensive coordinator this past season wasn't a total disaster, as there was schematic continuity from the Brian Flores era. However, Boyer was overly aggressive at times and struggled to adjust to the myriad injuries Miami endured.
With as much experience and pedigree as any DC on the market, Fangio brings credibility to the Dolphins and a sense that they can take a big step forward on that side of the ball in 2023. There's a reason so many were flocking in for Fangio's services before he made his decision. This is the guy who basically revolutionized the way defense is played in the modern NFL.
Not to get too inside
baseball football about boring-ass Xs and Os talk but I think it's worth highlighting some details from this report in The Athletic that will be hidden from many of y'all behind a paywall:
"What makes Fangio’s defense the best response to modern offenses? Its two-high (two deep safeties) structure limits explosive plays and forces offenses to stay patient and throw short. The front mechanics allow the defense to slow down the run with light boxes and commit more resources to coverage. Pre-snap, the defense is committed to showing the same Cover 4 shell for as long as possible so quarterbacks have to make reads after the snap. Even after the snap, it’s hard to draw a bead on what the coverage is because of how the defensive backs disperse from the top down.
"[…] Fangio’s system is being popularized at a time when we are seeing an influx of blue-chip quarterbacks in the league. The goal playing against Mahomes, Josh Allen and other top quarterbacks has shifted from trying to shut them down to slowing them down and testing their patience. Fangio’s system is built to do just that, and it has the ability to create confusion that can lead to drive-killing negative plays."
Chargers fans, blame Fangio if you want for fast-tracking Brandon Staley to a head coaching position. In all seriousness, though, the AFC is stacked as fuck with excellent quarterbacks. While the Dolphins seem to have a top-flight QB with Tua Tagovailoa when he's healthy, they needed both an infusion of talent and a schematic mastermind to help them out defensively. Consider the latter objective accomplished via landing Fangio.
There was a little suspense to all this! It was being reported several days ago that Fangio had decided on Miami only for a drawn-out "MAKE 'EM WAIT" routine from the foxy 64-year-old.
Just the thought of Fangio's somewhat standoffish, old-school demeanor joining forces and talking ball with McDaniel is cracking me up a bit.
For those who think Mike McDaniel is overrated and is only worthy of attention for his press conferences, remember that a QB in Tua who was left for dead before last season was playing at an MVP level. Did McDaniel get a little too bold down the stretch with some of his play calls, and struggle with the process of getting plays to the QB throughout his first year at the helm? Yes. That still doesn't take away from the hell of a job he did, particularly with how banged-up the Fins almost everywhere you looked on the roster.
Fangio could literally be the difference between Miami returning to the playoffs and missing out. Although Tua has thankfully been 100% cleared for football activities when those start back up, his future is shrouded in mystery due to the multiple concussions he suffered in 2022. Provided the defense gets its expected boost from Fangio and Tua remains under center for a full season, expect the Dolphins to be squarely in the hunt not only for an AFC playoff berth, but vying with the Bills for the AFC East title.
OUTRAGEOUS, you say? Bear in mind that McDaniel took seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson up to Buffalo, saw him complete only 18 of 45 passes — mostly but not all Thompson's fault, to be fair — and still only managed to lose 34-31 in the Wild Card Round.