Pardon certain members of the Miami Dolphins defense if they do not shed a tear over Vic Fangio and the Fish agreeing to part ways on Wednesday.
Miami head coach Mike McDaniel was complimentary of the highest-paid defensive coordinator in the NFL when he announced the parting of ways. The statement issued through the team was a look-forward analysis of where the defense will be going and not a look back to where it has been.
“I want to thank Vic for his contributions in 2023. When we assessed the season, it became apparent that this was the best path forward for all parties involved,” said Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel in a statement released by the team. “Now, we turn our focus to 2024 and beyond with urgency as we identify the best candidate to lead our defense moving forward. We remain steadfastly committed to the development of our players and to building a winning team with sustained success.”
However, that was where the pleasantries ended.
Safety Jevon Holland took to his Instagram page and was in a rather giddy mood after hearing that the former Denver Broncos head coach was not returning to the team next season. He imitated someone "kicking rocks" which was analogous to telling the defensive coordinator to take the quickest path out of town and beat it.
Cam Smith, the rookie second-round pick who did not see much playing time this past season and spent so much time in Fangio's dog house that he should have paid rent, was another player who took to social media to express his delight that he just might now have an opportunity to see the field and get a fresh start with a new coordinator.
His picture of a lock, being opened, referencing the fact that he might now be out of the doghouse and freed to show his talents which caused the Dolphins to select him in the 2023 NFL Draft.
When the Miami secondary was hit hard with injuries to Xavien Howard and Eli Apple, late in the season, Smith still could not see the field from where he was standing. In fact, in the wild-card game against Kansas City, Smith was listed among the inactive. He watched undrafted rookie Ethan Bonner get playing time, while Smith was put on layaway.
Smith told a group of reporters a few days after the game that he was just willing to learn, bide his team and come back next season ready to play.
“[The message was] just kind of making sure that I stayed the course,” Smith said. “In the end, I feel like it was kind of a good thing for me just making sure that I stayed down and kind of learned from everybody that was around me.
“I had some of the best vets in the world in front of me. So just kind of learning from them, picking their brain every day. It was just kind of best for me. But at the same time, I was frustrated; I was not feeling the whole situation at first, but in the end, I feel like it worked out great for me.”