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Reunited with Vic Fangio, Bradley Chubb is playing some of his best football — ever

Bradley Chubb leads the Miami Dolphins with six sacks and is tied for the league lead with Myles Garrett and Trent McDuffie in forced fumbles. TLDR: HE’S A BEAST!

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

When the Miami Dolphins traded a 2023 first-round pick, a 2024 fourth-round pick, and running back Chase Edmonds to the Denver Broncos in exchange for Bradley Chubb and a 2025 fifth-round pick, they expected to get one of the best EDGE defenders in football. Unfortunately, in year one with Miami — and even earlier this season — Chubb wasn’t himself.

But that’s not to say he didn’t help everyone on the defensive line — drawing attention and double teams from some of the best offensive linemen in the league. Last season, Christian Wilkins had a career year, as did Zach Sieler and Jaelan Phillips. So, to say his presence wasn’t felt would be naive. Still, we knew there was another gear. Chubb knew there was as well.

Chubb spoke to the media earlier this week and talked about his play at the start of the season.

“I feel like early in the season, I wasn’t at the point that I wanted to be. I kind of just started understanding and getting back to who I was and what I knew he expected of me and what I knew this defense expected of me.”

Last year, with time in Denver and Miami, Chubb would combine for 39 tackles and eight sacks. With Miami, however, he only recorded 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks—a far cry from what the team and Chubb expected from himself. And then, everything changed. Many of us talked about his familiarity with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and how that would likely impact his performance this season, but I don’t know that we knew it would be like this.

This is what the Dolphins invested all those draft picks in.

Through nine games with Vic Fangio, you could argue Bradley Chubb has been the most explosive playmaker on Miami’s defense. He already has more tackles than last year, and he’s only two sacks shy of tying his sack total. Additionally, he’s tied for the league lead in forced fumbles with four. Cleveland Browns EDGE Myles Garrett and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Trent McDuffie also have four.

Best of all, he’s making plays and creating pressure when Miami needs it most. Late in games with the game on the line, or like we saw last week vs. the Chiefs when Miami needed one opportunity. Chubb is playing at an #elite level, unlike anything we’ve seen since he arrived in Miami.

“Earlier in the season, I just didn’t feel like I was making that big of an impact on the field and I was kind of letting it get to me. I’m supposed to be this guy and all that. But that’s when I had to look at the man in the mirror and understand, hey man, you do this. It’s not about what people who put expectations on you, it’s not about that. It’s about what you know you can do and how you prepare to do that. I just started tapping into that a lot more and I did that, I started bringing guys along with me, and I feel like that’s kind of shifted the energy for all of us as a defense. It’s allowed us to grow better because everybody had that same mindset of looking in the mirror and understanding what they need to do better. It allows all of us to grow, I feel like.”

However, his #elite play might not surprise Fangio, who witnessed Chubb’s best season as a rookie in 2018. The former 5th-overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft recorded a career-best in tackles (60) and sacks (12) under Fangio in Denver. Could he surpass those numbers in 2023 after being reunited with Fangio?

There’s plenty of football left to be played, but based on the first half of the season, the man who calls himself The Astronaut is headed to the moon. And he’s got the rest of the Miami Dolphins strapped to the rocket along with him.

What are your thoughts on Bradley Chubb’s strong start to the 2023 NFL Season? Is he your mid-season defensive MVP? How many sacks do you think he will finish with this season? Let us know in the comments section below!