DE Emmanuel Ogbah says ‘this is the year’ for Dolphins defense: ‘We can be as good as we want to be’

NEWS

With the Miami Dolphins boasting a new defensive coordinator and a bevy of stars on the roster, defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah said this weekend that the team believes there are no external limitations on the potential of this year’s defense.

“I’ll say we can be as good as we want to be. I’m excited about this defense,” Ogbah told Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 at his annual football camp. “We’ve got Vic (Fangio) coaching us up. I can’t wait. It’s been a long time coming. This year, I feel like this is the year. We can be as good as we want to be. I’m ready to go out there and dominate.”

Last year’s squad came into the season with a new head coach and much hype for the potential on both sides of the roster, and got off to a hot start. Even through the quarterback health struggles later in the season, the team still managed to earn a 9-8 record and playoff berth, Miami’s first since 2016.

The Dolphins earned that postseason spot by fighting through a surprisingly tough AFC East, demonstrated by the fact that all four teams were in the playoff hunt late into the season, and it was Buffalo that ended up knocking out Miami in the Wild Card Round.

And the division is only expected to get tougher in 2023, as the Bills are set to be just as strong as in recent years, and the Jets made big moves to build up the offense behind new QB Aaron Rodgers.

But Ogbah said the Dolphins don’t feel intimidated by the pressure of the rising competition levels, even welcoming the challenge of building on their 2022 finish and staying competitive within the division.

“Our division is tough now,” Ogbah said. “But we’re excited, we love the competition. We’re ready to go. We don’t look at nobody [else]. We compete against ourself.”

The biggest defensive change Miami made this offseason was the hiring of Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator. Fangio has over two decades of experience and the hope is that his expertise will help bring the Dolphins defense up from the middle of the pack to a premier unit.

At his disposal Fangio will have one of the deepest defenses in the league, highlighted by big names all over the field. Ogbah, Jaelan Phillips, Christian Wilkins and Bradley Chubb should be leaders up front, while the secondary saw the addition of CB Jalen Ramsey to complement 2022 Pro Bowler Xavien Howard and Jevon Holland. If the defense can gel under Fangio as expected, it could end up being a unit to beware in 2023.

But a roster can only be so good if its players can’t get on the field together, a fact Ogbah acknowledged when addressing his injury-hampered 2022 season, in which he recorded career-lows in sacks (1.0) and tackles (11). Ogbah suffered a season-ending triceps injury in Week 10, meaning that he only got to play one full game alongside Chubb, as the latter came over from Denver at the trade deadline.

“I can’t wait to get back on the field with all of them boys at the same time,” Ogbah said.

After recording 9.0 sacks for the second straight year in 2021, Ogbah knows what he needs to do to get back on the field on a consistent basis.

“It’s all about healthy. This game’s all about being healthy. I’m excited. I’ve been doing the right things with my body, taking care of my body, just making sure I’m ready and fit to last the whole season,” he said.

The Dolphins will next come together on July 25th when all players report to training camp, and will have a further three weeks of practice before we see the team’s new defense for the first time in preseason. But even before the first snap, Ogbah is already confident about the high ceiling of this year’s squad.