Can Dolphins defense achieve a franchise first in 2023?

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
New York Jets v Miami Dolphins / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

The franchise was born in 1966 as an expansion entry in the American Football League. That means the Miami Dolphins have been in business for 57 seasons as they approach the 2023 NFL campaign. The club has obviously had a loss of success even though the last two decades have been a little rocky

The club has had some great defensive standout when it comes to getting after opposing quarterbacks. Jason Taylor amassed 131.0 sacks in 13 seasons with the team and is enshrined in Canton, Ohio. Cameron Wake racked up 98.0 quarterback traps with the club from 2009-18 and was a five-time Pro Bowler.

This year, the team's new defensive coordinator is highly regarded Vic Fangio. He has had success in many stops running defenses. So maybe, just maybe, he can help the team do something it has never done.

The Miami Dolphins have never led pro football in sacks in the single season. That includes their four years in the AFL.

Keep in mind that this is not necessarily an important accomplishment, but it does have its merits. Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles totaled a mind-boggling 70 sacks and fell short in Super Bowl LVII. However, the last team to lead the league in sacks and hoist a Lombardi Trophy the same season were the 2015 Denver Broncos.

This past season, the Dolphins totaled 40 sacks, led by linebacker Jaelen Phillips (7.0). One season earlier, Miami defenders totaled 48 QB traps, one short of tying the club’s single-season record (49) set in 1983 and tied in 2005.

That unit was led by defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, who in his second season with the team totaled nine sacks for the second straight year. A triceps injury cut in a Week 10 win over the Browns ended his 2002 season, one that saw him record one sack in Week 1 and zero sacks in eight other games. He’s been fully cleared and Ogbah now looks forward to what’s next with Fangio at the controls.

“Right now, I’m still trying to learn all of the plays, different spots and trying to learn the different schemes that he uses,” he stated last month. “I’m excited for him. He’s a great defensive mind and coach. I’m just excited to do my part to help this team win.”

A more explosive pass rush would also help a Dolphins’ squad that set a dubious franchise record in 2022 with just 14 takeaways. A bounce back season from Ogbah and more from Phillips and Bradley Chubb could make for a big year when it comes to corralling opposing quarterbacks.