After four years in a blitz-happy defense, the Miami Dolphins may test some familiar faces in new places under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
With organized team activities set to begin this week, NFL Network’s Cam Wolfe shared a few things to watch for regarding the Dolphins. Wolfe, who covered the team while at ESPN, highlighted Andrew Van Ginkel as a player that could see a new role in Fangio’s system.
Dolphins begin OTAs today. What to watch:— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) May 22, 2023
1. I’m told to expect Andrew Van Ginkel playing more inside LB. What other changes in Vic Fangio’s D?
2. Tua Tagovailoa’s 1st team drills since Christmas concussion
3. Which new additions flash?
4. Who is defense’s lead vocal leader?
“I’m told to expect Andrew Van Ginkel playing more inside linebacker,” Wolfe wrote on Twitter. “Dolphins lacking some proven depth at inside linebacker behind projected starters Jerome Baker and David Long Jr. Look for Van Ginkel to get reps with second team alongside Dule Rikely early.”
Vin Ginkel visited the New England Patriots as a free agent before returning to the Dolphins on a one-year deal. The former Wisconsin Badger played in all 17 games last season and closed the year with 24 tackles, one interception, and half a sack. Remember, despite playing every week, Van Ginkel was dealt a tough hand after a bout with appendicitis just weeks before the season began.
With an entire offseason to get right, Van Ginkel could be considered a versatile player behind edge rushers Bradley Chubb and Jaelen Phillips. The move inside allows Fangio to get more playmakers on the field.
That said, Van Ginkel has little NFL experience navigating inside the box. He has played a grand total of 87 snaps at inside linebacker throughout his four seasons, according to Pro Football Focus.
Van Ginkel played inside the box a career-high 71 times in 2021, with 34 of those snaps coming against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10. He logged a sack and three total tackles but also missed two tackles in that game, according to PFF. He played just three snaps inside in 2022.
The former fifth-round pick has limited experience playing inside at the NFL level. Still, Fangio’s defense is an entirely different language compared to what Van Ginkel is accustomed to on the football field.
With an unbalanced roster on defense, Fangio and Miami’s coaching staff seem determined to get the best players on the field — even if it involves a learning curve.