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Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer has been fired

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Josh Boyer has been fired as defensive coordinator for the Dolphins, the team announced Thursday, in head coach Mike McDaniel’s first major coaching change since the end of his inaugural season with Miami.

The team also announced that safety coach Steve Gregory, outside linebackers coach Ty McKenzie, and assistant linebackers coach Steve Ferentz were relieved of their duties.

“I am grateful for Josh’s contributions this year and throughout his tenure with the Dolphins,” McDaniel said in a press release. “The defense has moved forward throughout the season, so coming to this decision has not been easy, but at the end of the day, I feel it is in the long-term interest of the Miami Dolphins and the continued growth of our players and staff.”

Boyer was the key holdover from former head coach Brian Flores’ team as the franchise sought stability for a defense that topped its seven-game winning streak through the second half of the 2021 season.

But a defense that was expected to emerge as one of the league’s top units struggled for stretches of the season and faced several injuries to key starters.

Miami’s defense has regressed in several stats, including points allowed per game, threads, and red zone defense. Football Outsiders efficiency metrics ranked the Dolphins’ defense 15th in the league; the unit finished 10th in 2021 and 11th in 2020.

The Dolphins ranked 24th in scoring defense (23.5 points per game) and allowed fourth-fewest rushing yards per game this season (103.0), but gave up sixth-most yards per game (234, 8).

In recent seasons, the Dolphins have been one of the best blitz defenses in the NFL. However, Boyer’s trust in him backfired at times, as opponents were better prepared. He was also less successful with injuries in the secondary and an inconsistent rushing pass.

Key players such as cornerbacks Byron Jones and Nik Needham, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah and safety Brandon Jones missed a significant portion, or all, of the season, forcing Boyer to make adjustments throughout the year.

Recently, Boyer said he wouldn’t use injuries as an excuse when he spoke to McDaniel after the season.

“Isn’t it like what happens if you don’t have this guy? How did you feel about that year? It’s just not part of the mindset,” he said in early January. “It really isn’t. And we do self-assessment and we study things that we did well and things that we didn’t do well. But I think it’s crazy to worry about things you can’t control. I think the things that you have in front of you – and the reality of it is, our record will be what our record is and our stats will be what our stats are. That’s what it is. As a coach, as a coordinator, all you can control are the things you have in front of you. I think that’s how we approached it. I think anything else is wasted energy and wasted time.”

At the team’s season-ending press conference on Monday, the day after the Dolphins lost to the Buffalo Bills in the wild card round, McDaniel said he was proud of how the defense and coaching staff ended the season. However, he said it will take some time to make any decision on changes to the coaching staff.

Boyer originally joined the Flores team in 2019 as the defensive passing games coordinator and cornerbacks coach. He was promoted to defensive coordinator ahead of the 2020 season and played a key role in finding undrafted gems like Needham and cornerback Kader Kohou, who started 15 games in the regular season.

Gregory joined the Dolphins as an assistant coach in 2021 and was promoted ahead of the 2022 season. McKenzie had just finished his first season with the team, while Ferentz was an assistant coach for two seasons before being promoted to the role.

McDaniel is now tasked with hiring a defensive coordinator to build around a core of players, including outside linebacker Jaelan Phillips, safety Jevon Holland and defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, and round out an offense he has built into one of the best in the history of football. league under quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

When he was hired, McDaniel reportedly explored the hiring of Vic Fangio, a former NFL defensive coordinator who spent this season as a consultant to the Philadelphia Eagles, before finally hiring Boyer.

Fangio, who also coached the Denver Broncos from 2019 to 2021, reportedly interviewed the Atlanta Falcons for the defensive coordinator job.

This story was originally published January 19, 2023 3pm.

Daniel Oyefusi's profile picture

Daniel Oyefusi covers the Dolphins for the Miami Herald. A native of Towson, Maryland, he is a graduate of the University of Maryland: College Park. Previously, he covered the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.

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