Here’s what modified — and didn’t — with Boyer right here and Flores gone. Dolphins supply perception

In deciding to stay with a lot of the identical defensive personnel and this identical defensive coordinator, the Dolphins instructed us two issues with out particularly saying it this previous spring:

1). They imagine the standard of this protection is nearer to the unit that allowed 15.5 factors by means of the ultimate 9 video games in 2021, not the one which relinquished 29.1 factors per sport by means of the primary eight.

2). They imagine this wasn’t former coach Brian Flores’ protection — one reliant on his presence to succeed — however largely Josh Boyer’s.

The choices to not dramatically change the personnel — or exchange Boyer as defensive coordinator — look good within the day-after glow of a 20-7 opening-day win in opposition to one of many dominant franchises in twenty first century sports activities, albeit one drastically diminished now.

After beating New England, the Dolphins awoke Monday ranked second within the league in factors allowed (behind Tampa Bay) and sixth in yards yielded (271).

So did defensive conferences — and preparation — modified with Boyer now not working in Flores’ shadow?

Not a lot, gamers stated.

The Dolphins say that Boyer known as defensive performs in each sport final season, and gamers say it’s not like Boyer abruptly has been given authority that he didn’t have below Flores, who has a pointy defensive thoughts.

“I don’t see a big difference,” linebacker Jerome Baker stated. “I can see a head coach just letting Josh do his thing. But it’s not that he has more authority or anything. [Mike McDaniel] is going to sit back and let Josh do his thing. In front of us, nothing really changes.”

Baker paused to make an necessary level: “Josh is smart as hell, on top of us. He looks at everything, every individual rep, he looks at everything” in making each calculated determination.

Linebacker Sam Eguavoen stated: “Flo would be in our [defensive] meetings more often [than McDaniel so far]. But a lot of times he would have Josh have the floor. It’s pretty much been the same.”

And Baker identified that Flores “was never in the [defensive] meetings all the time. He would come in now and again but not as much as you would think.”

But there have been some modifications in latest weeks and on Sunday. Among them:

Eguavoen cited one in every of them: the defensive depth within the early levels of apply.

Boyer has been decided to keep away from one other sluggish defensive begin like final season, when the Dolphins have been stout within the opener (a 17-16 win in opposition to New England) however then allowed 35 factors in Week 2 (to Buffalo), 31 in Week 3 (an time beyond regulation loss in Las Vegas), 27 in Week 4 (a loss to Indianapolis), 45 in Week 5 (a loss to Tampa Bay) and 30 in Week 7 (a loss to Atlanta) earlier than stiffening.

Inside linebackers coach Anthony Campanile, a returnee from final yr’s employees, “has no mercy on us,” Eguavoen stated. “We are going to go hard [early in practice]. We are going to be gassed by the time team periods come. It’s good; that’s the best way to train. Train when you’re tired. His approach has always been like that. [But] all the other coaches got onto it” and are doing the identical.

How a lot has Boyer emphasised a greater begin this season?

“Too much,” Eguavoen stated in jest. “At the beginning of practice, we are damn near like dead because we gas out [in individual drills]. We’ve got to mentally still find a way to run to the ball after we’re tired before practice even starts.”

That method paid dividends Sunday, when Miami’s protection didn’t wilt within the oppressive warmth; the Dolphins didn’t permit a degree within the Patriots’ last three possessions.

“We’re upping the intensity,” Eguavoen stated. “The standards are way higher. We went on a long run last year and we were flat at the beginning of the year. The bar is set” increased now.

From a personnel standpoint, these vital modifications occurred:

Melvin Ingram — signed to a one-year deal that might be value as a lot as $5 million — changed Andrew Van Ginkel as a beginning exterior linebacker and performed effectively, with a deal with for loss and a landing off the Brandon Jones strip sack.

The defensive snap rely between Ingram (32) and Van Ginkel (7) was stark, nevertheless it won’t be fairly as lopsided when Van Ginkel is absolutely again from having his appendix eliminated.

Instead of utilizing Justin Coleman (now in Seattle) and Noah Igbinoghene as backup corners, Miami opted for Kader Kohou (18 snaps), Keion Crossen (16) and Elijah Campbell (4). All performed very effectively, particularly Kohou.

Xavien Howard and safeties Jevon Holland and Jones performed all 57 defensive snaps; cornerback Nik Needham performed 56.

The Dolphins wanted to switch the function of defensive lineman Adam Butler, who logged 53 p.c of Miami’s defensive snaps final season.

Those snaps ended up being wolfed up by Zach Sieler (performed 77 p.c on Sunday, up from 46 all of final season) and John Jenkins, who performed 10 snaps — a choice that allowed Raekwon Davis a breather after he rolled his knee in Thursday’s apply.

Davis performed 36 of Miami’s 57 defensive snaps.

And Sieler ended up enjoying barely greater than Christian Wilkins (41 snaps) and Emmanuel Ogbah and Jaelan Phillips (40 apiece).

The problem turns into significantly tougher now, with three top-10 quarterbacks awaiting within the subsequent three weeks: Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson (the Dolphins held him to a 73.6 passer score in Miami’s 22-10 Thursday night time win final season), Buffalo’s Josh Allen (107 profession passer score in opposition to Miami) and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow.

The Dolphins will enter Sunday’s sport in Baltimore having held their previous 11 opponents to lower than 300 yards passing (their longest streak since 2017) and their final 13 opponents to 400 yards or much less total (their longest such streak since 2005/06).

Ingram’s indoctrination to this protection left him satisfied: “It’s all 11 guys out there getting to that ball, and it’s something special here.”

And not less than defensively, it’s enterprise as typical with Boyer, however no Flores.

Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.

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