Arguably the most coveted coordinator of the 2023 NFL cycle is headed to South Beach as the Miami Dolphins reportedly hired veteran Vic Fangio to run the team’s defense.
Fangio, 64, will become the NFL’s highest-paid coordinator, as first reported by NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero. The Dolphins previously fired defensive coordinator Josh Boyer.
Fangio has served as a defensive coordinator for more than two decades and was the head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2019-21. He is known for having one of the best defensive minds in the game and creativity to do it in a multitude of ways.
So while Dolphins second-year head coach Mike McDaniel certainly welcomed the spending of owner Stephen Ross, others around the conference probably weren’t as happy to hear it. Especially a division rival like the New England Patriots.
“I think Vic has had an outstanding career as a defensive coach in the National Football League,” Belichick told reporters of Fangio in October 2020. “They just keep getting better, but they present a lot of problems with the schemes. The way he calls the game is very, very good and he’s a good defensive coach and has put together a good football team in all three phases.”
Fangio’s arrival in Miami should greatly help a Dolphins teams that ranked 24th in points allowed and had one of the league’s worse passing defenses. It’s certainly not like the Dolphins don’t have talent on that side of the ball with 2021 first-round linebacker Jaelan Phillips, 2019 first-round defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and 2018 first-round pass rusher Bradley Chubb. Chubb, whom the Dolphins acquired from the Broncos at the 2022 NFL trade deadline, previously played for Fangio and was named a Pro Bowler in 2020. He’ll also have four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard and 2021 second-round safety Jevon Hollard in the secondary.
Fangio’s defenses have ranked in the top 10 in points allowed in 10 of his 22 NFL seasons and top three six different times. Five of those six came with Fangio as the defensive coordinator, while Denver’s defense in 2021 also ranked third in points allowed.
It’s likely why McDaniel viewed Fangio as a “top target” to run a defense even dating back to before he took over in Miami, as shared by ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe.