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Vic Fangio details Miami Dolphins’ defensive strategy after losing LB Jaelan Phillips

The 2021 first-round pick leads the Miami Dolphins with 6.5 sacks.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips underwent surgery Wednesday on a torn Achilles he suffered against the New York Jets on Black Friday. Thursday, during his weekly session with the media, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was asked about the 2021 first-round pick.

“Jaelan is a great player, make no mistake about it,” Fangio said when asked about Phillips’ ability to set the edge. “When he missed those games early in the year, it took him a game or two to get back rolling to be his normal self. But this last month or so, he’s been playing great for us. We’re going to miss him.

“And yeah, he’s a part of us playing the run and obviously playing the pass with him rushing the passer. We’re going to miss him tremendously and yeah, he was a big part of that.”

Phillips was picking up steam, logging six sacks over his last five games after recovering from an early-season back injury. Miami leaned on Andrew Van Ginkel and Emmanual Ogbah early in the year when he was out of the lineup.

With six games left in the regular season, general manager Chris Grier signed linebacker Jason-Pierre-Paul off the New Orleans Saints practice squad for some additional depth.

“Yeah, we can still play Gink inside some and put Ogbah outside some and even Cam Goode or JPP if he comes along,” Fangio said of the team's versatility at linebacker. “But yeah, [Pierre-Paul] will be in there less.

“At this point in the season, we’re going to try and focus [Pierre-Paul] on the nickel stuff and not much on the base stuff to take that off his plate. I think he can get there fairly quickly with just the nickel stuff.”