The Miami Dolphins defense was the catalyst behind the 8-1 record down the stretch last season that saw the Fins come up just short of the postseason.
After allowing 29.1 points per game, 406.9 yards per game and recording an average of 1.5 sacks per contest through Weeks 1-8, the Dolphins D gave up just 15.6 points per game, 276.9 yards per game and netted 4.0 sacks per outing in the final nine games.
Emmanuel Ogbah, who signed a four-year, $65 million contract this offseason to return to Miami, recently told Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network that he believes the Dolphins defense can build on its hot end to 2021.
"The defense, for sure, can be scary this year because we all know each other," Ogbah said. "We all know what each other are capable of, our strengths and our weaknesses. We're all going to help each other and compete with each other. It's an exciting time for the defense. We're excited.
"We're looking good right now, but we've got to compete. You shouldn't sleep, but we're just going to do our job. You can keep sleeping on us, but we're just going to keep handling our responsibilities."
The Dolphins defense returns a trove of talented players, including Ogbah (vastly underrated on a national level), cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, edge rushers Jaelan Phillips and Melvin Ingram, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, linebacker Jerome Baker and safeties Brandon Jones and Jevon Holland.
Ogbah has led the Dolphins in sacks (18.0) and QB hits (45) since 2020, ranking in the top 10 in the NFL over those two years. The veteran expects big things from Phillips -- who finished second to Micah Parsons among rookies last season with 8.5 sacks and 16 QB hits -- and new import Ingram.
"Jaelan surprised me this offseason," Ogbah said. "He has the mentality. I'm excited to see his growth this year. I'm excited to see him work, and we got Melvin, too. I'm excited for him to be a part of the team."
Mike McDaniel replaced Brian Flores as the Dolphins head coach this offseason, but the club retained defensive coordinator Josh Boyer, hoping that keeping continuity can build upon the strong end to the previous campaign. With the host of talent returning to South Beach, Miami has the players to make good on Ogbah's vision for the Dolphins' defense in 2022.