Last season, Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard was a shell of himself, battling through not one but two groin injuries for most of the season. His play definitely took a hit, but not to the point that some national pundits have made it seem.
Howard was asked on Tuesday about the injuries that set him back in 2022 and whether or not getting more rest in training camp would’ve helped keep his body healthy late in the season.
“It’s 2023 now, brother. We’re not going back”, Howard laughed. “It probably would have helped. But we didn’t have many cornerbacks, so I had to do what I had to do and be on the field.”
Earlier this offseason, Howard was acknowledged as an honorable mention on ESPN’s top-10 cornerbacks list. But time and time again, he has been overlooked and oveershadowes by newcomer Jalen Ramsey. For example, in the upcoming Madden 24 video game, Xavien Howard’s rating is an 84 overall — well outside the top 10.
“Damn. I’ve got to talk to them”, Howard said. I need their number. (laughter) But it’s cool, though, man. You know I’ve never been a guy to rah-rah, talk, do this and that. I just show up and play. I let my play on the field do the talking, and we go from there.”
Maybe it’s playing alongside Ramsey that has made Howard more vocal, but he didn’t hold back when NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe asked him his thoughts on some of the critics and naysayers that continue to sleep on the former Pro Bowl cornerback and doubt his ability to return to his #elite form.
In 2022, the 30-year-old cornerback started 15 games for Miami, finishing the season with 45 total tackles, one tackle for a loss, and one interception — a number that has dropped each year since his insane 10-interception season of 2020. Howard thinks all that will change, playing opposite of Jalen Ramsey.
“It’s going to open up some doors for me, man. I feel like my game’s been my game. Intercepting the ball that’s what I want to do. I want to get touchdowns and stuff like that. I feel like without playing as much, man, like we did last year and me also traveling, playing, following a guy here and there, it’ll also help a lot. I won’t have to travel, be tired during the play. Some teams, I feel like in my career when they found out I was following their best guy, they put me in motion a lot, get me tired before the rep, then do what they do. Just staying left and right, man, I feel like it’s going to be easy, easy for me.”
Although he hasn’t seen much of what new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has up his sleeves, he sees a locker room wanting to get better and take their game to the next level this upcoming season.
“We’ve seen a little bit, but not that much. We don’t know what Vic is cooking up but I know he’s definitely going to get us right on that defense.” Howard continued, “I feel like you feel an energy though when you come into this locker room. I feel like guys are walking around here like they’ve got to get stuff done. I don’t feel like anybody’s comfortable being here or being in a position they’re in right now and I feel like you’ve got to have that. Especially being here, you know. There’s a lot of great guys on this team and I feel like from pressure there I feel like it’s a lot of pressure from there.”
The Miami Dolphins are set to practice for the first time on Wednesday, with many of the South Florida media in attendance. It will be the first time we hear about the battles between Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey vs. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. And even more intriguing, Mike McDaniel vs. Vic Fangio.
What are your thoughts on Xavien Howard and the Miami Dolphins heading into the 2023 NFL season? Let us know in the comments section below!