Miami Dolphins: Defensive coordinator Josh Boyer needs to overcome Bills O

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - AUGUST 21: Josh Boyer of the Miami Dolphins looks on during a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium on August 21, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - AUGUST 21: Josh Boyer of the Miami Dolphins looks on during a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium on August 21, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

One of the biggest questions this off-season for the Miami Dolphins was how the defense would hold up without Brian Flores, Josh Boyer might get exposed.

After Brian Flores was fired in early 2022 the Miami Dolphins wanted continuity on defense, so they decided that keeping the current DC Josh Boyer was the best way to do that.

The Dolphins’ offense needed a complete revamp, but the defense was thought of as a top-tier unit in the NFL. Josh Boyer worked closely with Flores, watching how he would call the plays and even getting involved as the main defensive play caller in 2021.

So keeping him in-house as the DC and defensive play caller made the most sense, except there was one problem. Josh Boyer was already seen as the main boss on defense, and it did not turn out well.

In 2021 Josh Boyer was announced as the main play caller as Brian Flores would step away from the defensive side of the ball to focus more on HC responsibilities.

During this time the Dolphins got off to a 1-7 start mainly due to injuries, and lack of productivity on offense. But the defense had also regressed BADLY.

The Miami Dolphins defense looked their worst with Josh Boyer at the helm:

For the first 9 games in 2021, the Miami Dolphins ranked 32nd in yards allowed per game (407 yds), ranked 31st in 3rd down conversion allowed (51%), and ranked 29th in points allowed per game (29.1). (per

But during the Miami Dolphins’ week 10 matchup vs the Ravens, Brian Flores took it upon himself to call defensive plays. From there it was believed that Flores called defensive plays the rest of the season, however, Flores and the team both denied it.

Men lie, women lie, what about numbers?

At the end of the 2021 season, the Miami Dolphins ranked 16th in yards allowed per game (337), ranked 19th in 3rd down conversion allowed (41%), and ranked 15th in points allowed (21.9).


No other team in the NFL besides Miami was able to make a such drastic improvement over the second half of the season. Why?

Did Josh Boyer reinvent his game and turn into a premier DC overnight? Or did Brian Flores take charge to get the defense back to expectation?

Only one of these answers isn’t insane.

The Miami Dolphins gave up too much vs the Patriots:

After 1 week of football, the Miami Dolphins rank top 10 in pass yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, and scoring. Which is great but is to be expected against a putrid offense like the Patriots.

One thing I noticed when watching the film back was that Josh boyer played a lot of soft zone coverage, this is what defenses play versus Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen; protect the big play, let them get the underneath stuff, and we will bring out the exotic plays in the red zone.

Can someone please explain to me how playing this conservative is a good idea versus Mac Jones, Devante Parker, and Matt Patricia calling plays?

The Miami Dolphins’ defense allowed the Patriots’ bottom 5 offensive talent to convert 44% of their third downs, which ranks Miami 22nd in the league on 3rd down defense.

Why is Josh Boyer letting offenses hang around more than they should have? Flores’ 3rd down defense was aggressive while Boyer’s is very conservative.

Play calling duties on defense:

3rd down defense under Josh Boyer:

2021: 32nd

2022: 22nd

3rd down defense under Josh Boyer/Brian Flores:

2020: 1st

2021: 19th (8th when counting Flores stats only)

(All stats provided by team

The Miami Dolphins defense could not stop a nose bleed for way too long:

The Miami Dolphins went up to Baltimore and pulled off a legendary victory by coming back down 21 points, Tua Tagovailoa led the team with a monster 6-touchdown performance.

If you want to read on the offensive explosion, click the link above where I broke down Tua’s performance and Mike McDaniel’s game plan and philosophy.

But were in this article to talk about defense, because for 3.5 quarters it was bad. Really bad.

I mentioned the soft coverages Boyer showed in the Patriots game, versus the Ravens his game plan was to run a lot of what was run last year to stop Lamar Jackson. However the Ravens had stated they were ready for that gameplan from Miami, and they were.

Miami got burned off the blitz for a touchdown pass off a slant route to Bateman that went for 60+ yards of green, as well as a 75-yard touchdown run by Lamar Jackson.

Lamar Jackson had an MVP performance, and could not be stopped.

Thanks to Mike McDaniel being an offensive genius and Tua Tagovailoa going nuclear on the field these mistakes won’t be as glaring. Usually just one of those mistakes is enough to cost your team a football game.

Boyer’s defense made up for it by getting three HUGE stops in the 4th to open up the door for a comeback, but waiting until the 4th quarter for your defense to show life is not an option moving forward. This team is a playoff team, but if they want to make a run a lot needs to get cleaned up.

The defense needs to step up versus Josh Allen and the Bills because Miami cannot be expected to have 6 touchdown performances every Sunday.

Follow me on Twitter @3rdnJuan.