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Are the Miami Dolphins a Top-5 Defense Heading Into 2023?

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The Miami Dolphins spent this offseason looking to improve a defense that disappointed in 2022. By hiring an elite defensive coordinator in Vic Fangio and trading for cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the expectations for Miami’s defense have risen. We dive into whether the Dolphins can make a leap in 2023.

An Analytical Look at the Miami Dolphins’ Defense

One of the biggest surprises of the 2022 season was how much the Dolphins’ defense struggled to translate their talent into production. Miami was supposed to benefit from keeping defensive coordinator Josh Boyer from the previous regime’s staff and from a mid-season trade for edge rusher Bradley Chubb. Instead, the Dolphins cratered to 24th in defensive EPA per play and were abysmal against the pass.

Miami dropped from finishing 16th in scoring allowed, 15th in yards allowed, and eighth in turnovers produced to much worse figures. The Dolphins fell to 24th, 18th, and 30th in those respective categories. Opposing offenses destroyed Miami’s pass defense despite the Dolphins having a loaded group of pass rushers and a talented secondary.

Boyer’s blitz-heavy approach simply didn’t work. Miami ranked 15th in defensive DVOA; 25th against the pass and fourth against the run. Despite the strategy continuing to fall flat, Boyer continued to blitz in hopes of turning up the pressure on quarterbacks.

MORE: Miami Dolphins 2023 Season Preview

Miami’s defense wasn’t awful, but things always feel worse when an aggressive scheme backfires. They ranked 26th in third-down conversion rate, joining abysmal defenses like Arizona, Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, and Chicago at the bottom of the league. At least Miami’s run defense was elite, but some of that was because only one defense faced more passing attempts.

That shouldn’t have been the case for a defense boasting cornerback Xavien Howard and pass rushers Jaelan Phillips, Melvin Ingram, Christian Wilkins, and Bradley Chubb, among others.

Dolphins 2023 Defensive Outlook

miami dolphins
Nov 13, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins linebacker Melvin Ingram (6) and linebacker Jaelan Phillips (15) rush in to sack Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being a below-average unit in 2022, PFN’s own Arif Hasan ranked the Dolphins as the seventh-best defense heading into 2023.

Miami’s defense will improve simply by adding a mastermind in Fangio. Fangio’s defense has become a staple of many successful teams, forcing teams to methodically move the ball down the field before stiffening in the red zone. He described his philosophy as doing “anything and everything” to ensure offenses don’t score.

Fangio’s results speak for themselves. He produced some of the NFL’s best defenses while he was Denver’s head coach from 2019-2021, then helped the Eagles in 2022 as a consultant. Miami can expect their cornerbacks to be protected more with complex pre-snap looks and to receive more help in coverage from their safeties.

Adding Ramsey to a room with Howard and second-year CB Kader Kohou makes for a high-risk, high-reward group that needs to pay off. Both Ramsey and Howard are playmaking threats who aren’t the stickiest defenders in coverage, so safeties Jevon Holland, Brandon Jones, and DeShon Elliott will need to give them over-the-top support. Fangio’s past stops have been extremely fruitful for both corners and safeties alike, so it’s fair to expect quality seasons from Ramsey and Howard.

MORE: Best Cornerbacks in the NFL 2023

There’s an immense amount of front-seven talent to help the back end play better. The decisions to extend Chubb and add David Long and Malik Reed will help support Miami’s upside.

Getting Emmanuel Ogbah back from a torn triceps injury that cost him eight games is also considerable. Along with a third-year jump from Phillips and Wilkins entering his prime years, Miami simply doesn’t have an excuse to again struggle to pressure QBs.

Are the Dolphins a Top-5 Defense in 2023?

It’s incredibly simplistic to say, but the Dolphins can play to their talent level in 2023 and see a massive jump without any remarkable efforts. Not only did Boyer fail the talent with his blind faith in non-stop blitzing, but the individual talent fell short in their opportunities.

That either means some positive regression will come or the collective talent has been misevaluated by the majority of onlookers.

Reaching the top five is a gigantic improvement, but the pieces are in place for Miami to get to that range. If Fangio is right that Ramsey is the best cornerback he’s coached, and if he can get Chubb and Phillips to combine for 26.5 sacks as Chubb and Von Miller did under Fangio in 2020, the Dolphins’ defense can be incredible. There’s not an obvious talent weakness on the unit besides its defensive tackle depth.

However, the individuals have to hold up their end of the bargain. The Dolphins blitzed 349 times in 2022 but produced only 58 hurries and 40 sacks. Howard and Kohou both allowed over 59% of targets to be completed, and neither Holland nor Jones was impactful in coverage.

Fangio will put the players into better positions to succeed than Boyer did with his scheme and pre-snap looks. But they’ll be tested early and often, as the AFC East brings a combined four matchups against Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers. Week 1 features a trip to face Justin Herbert, and Miami later faces Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson.

MORE: Miami Dolphins 2023 Schedule

Can the Dolphins’ best players turn back the clock to their 2021 performances while also getting peak play from younger contributors? Fangio brings some promising improvement, but it’s also possible Miami again struggles with a true alpha pass rusher, and their top two corners are past their primes.

Miami has top-five potential with its defense, and its floor is higher than last year’s shocking result. Even if they land around 15th, the Dolphins’ defense will be playoff-caliber, considering the strength of their offense. The range of outcomes is greater than most, however, due to Miami’s uneven play throughout last year.

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Taylor Swift Is Shown Chugging a Beer on the Jumbotron at Super Bowl 58

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Global superstar Taylor Swift made it to the big game to support her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce. In the second quarter, it was evident that she was having a good time at the Super Bowl after taking a 12-hour flight from Tokyo the night prior.

Taylor Swift Seen Chugging Beer at Super Bowl

Swift’s attendance has been highly anticipated, as many fans questioned whether she would be able to make it to the big game since she had been in Japan until Saturday for her Eras Tour.

Sure enough, she made it to the Super Bowl and was seen making a grand entrance alongside Blake Lively and Ice Spice.

Swift made it back to the States with plenty of time to make it to Allegiant Stadium to support Kelce. After a leg of her Eras Tour, where she performed several nights in Japan, the singer appeared to let loose.

In a box full of friends, Swift was shown chugging a beer with Ashley Avignone. She was shown on the jumbotron and slammed her cup down after she finished her beer.

There was a mix of cheers and boos as Swift was shown on the big screen, and a long pass to Mecole Hardman was the only highlight of the first half for Swift and her friends. The 49ers led the Chiefs, 10-0, late in the second quarter.

On social media, Swift garnered plenty of support from NFL fans.

If you’re hating on her you can kick rocks man she’s the best,” one user posted on X

“The one thing I learned this season is that she is actually fun,” another said. 

“Booing Taylor Swift chugging a beer is so soft. She’s just one of us now and I respect it ,” another posted. 

At the time of the beer chugging, Kelce, Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, has had one catch for a single yard. It came on the first possession, which ended up being a three-and-out. The Kansas City Chiefs hadn’t done much otherwise.

They did have a deep pass play to Hardman, which put them in the red zone, but Isiah Pacheco fumbled on the very next play — one that Kelce was surprisingly on the sideline for.

Swift and Kelce have garnered much media attention as their romance has taken off throughout this NFL season.

Swift was able to support her boyfriend at many of his games throughout the final stretch of the season, as her Eras Tour was on a break. But starting on Feb. 7, she went back on the road.

MORE: NFL World Reacts to Unbelievable Super Bowl Trick Play

Despite performing in Tokyo the night before the Super Bowl, she was able to make it in time to support her boyfriend due to the time difference and is having a good time doing so.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.



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What Happened to the 49ers Linebacker?

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The San Francisco 49ers sustained a massive blow during the second quarter of Super Bowl 58, as linebacker Dre Greenlaw left the game on a medical cart.

CBS Sports confirmed that the veteran Greenlaw suffered an Achilles tear, ruling him out for the rest of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

What Happened to Dre Greenlaw?

The outside linebacker, who had already been battling past injuries to his hamstrings and calves, left with what appeared to be a leg injury.

And somehow, his left leg looked like it buckled as he tried to trot onto the field with the Niners’ defense.

Greenlaw clutched his left leg in agony before being helped off the field.

CBS Sports sideline reporter Evan Washburn reported that the outside linebacker left with what was ruled as a lower leg injury. He was later determined to sustain an Achilles injury.

Greenlaw was declared out for the rest of the game.

Greenlaw Carted Off in Passenger Seat

Even more noticeable was where Greenlaw sat on the cart.

He ended up leaving not in the back of the medical vehicle but ended up riding shotgun with his leg injury.

One would think that with an injury like an Achilles ailment, medical officials would try to make the player as comfortable as possible before they leave. It wasn’t the case here.

MORE: San Francisco 49ers Depth Chart

Regardless, Greenlaw was replaced by Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles for the rest of the first half. Greenlaw became the most significant injury of the game.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.



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NFL World Reacts to Epic Super Bowl Intro From CBS

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Super Bowl 58 is here and it’s going to be exciting. The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are facing off in the final game of 2023.

CBS is broadcasting the game and the opening was nothing short of amazing. How is the NFL world reacting to the electric Super Bowl-opening video?

Epic CBS Super Bowl Intro Garners Reaction From NFL World

The video, which spanned four minutes and 19 seconds, featured players from both teams talking about the big game and what it means to them. It also featured their families talking about their journeys to this point.

“Amazing intro! Reminds me of my dad! Bravo on the intro!,” one NFL fan said on X (formerly known as Twitter)

Additionally, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played in the background, giving it a near-movie feel. “This was incredible.,” another person said on X. “And so, the @49ers and @Chiefs face that final curtain,” CBS Sports said.

The 49ers finished the regular season as the top seed in the NFC with a 12-5 record. After their first-round bye, they defeated both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions to earn their trip to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. Both of their victories came in comeback fashion, including an NFC Championship-record 17-point comeback.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, had a more uphill battle. Entering the playoffs as the AFC’s third seed, they finished the regular season with an 11-6 record. In the playoffs, they defeated the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Baltimore Ravens to punch their ticket.

Super Bowl 58 is a re-match of Super Bowl 54 when the Chiefs defeated the 49ers 31-24. The win was the first in Patrick Mahomes career, as he also won Super Bowl MVP. Four years later, the Chiefs have made three more and won another. For the 49ers, this is their first trip back to the big game since.

The game kicked off at 6:30 p.m. ET with the 49ers receiving the opening kick. In addition to being broadcast on CBS, the game is also being streamed on Paramount+.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.



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