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Add Jerome Baker to the list of players excited for Vic Fangio’s defense

The Miami Dolphins are changing to a zone-heavy defense after years of being a blitz-first team.

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Josh Boyer was the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins for three years, and while the unit didn’t necessarily struggle — it’s safe to say the team blitzed just a bit too much.

The Dolphins blitzed on 33 percent of the plays in 2022, per Pro Football Reference, down from 39.6 percent in 2021. The team decided to not only move on from Boyer to reshape the defense — it was willing to make Vic Fangio the league’s highest-paid defensive coordinator.

Fangio, a 41-year coaching veteran, is viewed as one of the league’s top defensive minds, and it’s time to add linebacker Jerome Baker to the list of players looking forward to a fresh start in his 3-4 scheme.

Baker, on Tuesday afternoon, spoke with Miami Herald reporter Daniel Oyefusi and noted that there’s more freedom to play in Fangio’s system, which should lead to a greater impact on the field.

Baker isn’t the only veteran looking forward to a change of pace. Xavien Howard said something similar in February.

“I feel like the defense is definitely going to elevate,” Howard said when speaking to NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe. “I feel like every defense [Fangio] had was in the top five, so I feel like he can do a lot of good things on defense and really put a lot of guys in a defensive position to make plays.”

Fangio was the head coach of the Denver Broncos for three years before spending a season as a consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2021, Fangio’s final year coaching the Broncos, the team allowed just under 19 points per game.

“I think in my NFL career, Vic is one of one in my opinion, of creating and innovating and sustaining high-quality defense,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said on Feb. 28. “I don’t know about you but in 1995, I was 12-years-old and cheering for the inaugural Colorado Rockies. He started coordinating defenses at that time. But then has been able to adjust it to the game, and to the things he’s having to defend and to the players that he has.

“I think having the opportunity to add Vic Fangio is as exciting of an opportunity in the offseason that I could have. I think all players on defense will benefit from it.”