Jaelan Phillips earned 15.5 sacks throughout his first two seasons playing for the Miami Dolphins in defensive coordinator Josh Boyer’s blitz-happy system. Entering his junior year, the 2021 first-round pick is adjusting to his new role with Vic Fangio taking over as the franchise’s defensive coordinator
“I just think that we’re obviously figuring it out and only been practicing it a few times, but really just about locking in on your technique and job,” Phillips said of the team’s defense on June 6. “Obviously we’re going to be high-motor, high-effort guys flying around the ball and just playing for each other.
“There is still a lot to learn, but it’s been good so far, for sure.”
Phillips finished last season with seven sacks and fellow linebacker Bradley Chubb got to the quarterback eight times. Chubb registered 2.5 sacks after the Dolphins traded Chase Edmonds and a first-round pick to the Denver Broncos for him in early November.
“We definitely spend a lot of time getting closer off the field and I feel that just helps on the field,” Phillips said of his relationship with Chubb. “And I think when you have relationships with your teammates, then it just brings up the motivation and makes you want to play with them even more. I think it’s just iron sharpening iron with us. We’re competitive, but we’re for each other.”
Chubb was drafted fifth overall in the 2018 NFL Draft and earned 28.5 sacks throughout his five-year career. Fangio was Denver’s head coach when Chibb earned 7.5 sacks and a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2020.
“He’s a baller. He’s a gamer. His technique is really what I like the most,” Phillips said of Chubb “I kind of look up to him when it comes to that honestly and have him kind of put me on game, showing me different techniques and things. I think he’s very crafty and obviously physically gifted, so I love having him on the opposite side of me for sure.”
The Dolphins have a pair of All-Pro cornerbacks in Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey, along with emerging safeties in Jevon Holland and Brandon Jones leading the secondary. That said, an effective pass rush goes a long way in a playoff push.
“It’s been a great offseason so far,” Phillips said. “Obviously feeling confident and comfortable in the defense, comfortable with the guys. I’m just looking to build on what we did last year, and what I’ve done so far this offseason.”