MIAMI — The Dolphins fired defensive coordinator Josh Boyer after four seasons with the franchise, the last three as defensive coordinator, the team announced Thursday.
In addition to Boyer, the Dolphins also fired safeties coach Steve Gregory, outside linebackers coach Ty McKenzie and assistant linebackers coach Steve Ferentz.
“I am grateful for Josh’s contributions this year and throughout his tenure with the Dolphins,” coach Mike McDaniel said in a statement. “The defense made strides through the season, so coming to this decision was not easy, but ultimately I feel it is in the best long-term interests of the Miami Dolphins and the continued growth of our players and team.”
The Dolphins sustained several season-ending injuries to key starters this season, including cornerbacks Byron Jones and Nik Needham, safety Brandon Jones and defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. To jump-start their depleted defense, they traded for Pro Bowl linebacker Bradley Chubb in November, signing him to a five-year, $110 million contract days after acquiring him.
While Miami owned the league’s fourth-best run defense, it also ranked 21st in defensive expected points added, 22nd in sacks per pass attempt, and 24th in points allowed per game and third-down percentage. A defense that ranked in the top 10 in takeaways in each of the previous two seasons struggled to create turnovers in 2022, finishing with just 14 takeaways — tied for the second fewest in the NFL.
Boyer was retained on staff after the Dolphins fired then-coach Brian Flores after the 2021 season with the hope that his unit could retain its productivity from the second half of last season, when it led the NFL in defensive EPA.
Boyer first came to Miami in 2019 under Flores. Before his arrival in South Florida, Boyer spent 12 years with the New England Patriots as a defensive assistant, defensive backs coach and cornerbacks coach.
“You learn that when something’s not broke, [you don’t fix it],” McDaniel told ESPN in February last year. “There’s also relationships with players that come into it, there’s the scheme itself, and then there’s the human relationships. There’s a good amount of time that I spent with Josh before I made that decision. All of those things contribute and then relying on the people that hired me that were in the building with him. This is not something that you just all of a sudden say, ‘Just keep him, I don’t feel like looking into stuff.’ It’s a calculated decision that’s very informed — and I think the proof is in the pudding. That’s a top-10 defense last year that I would not want to play against.
“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
The Dolphins’ opening at defensive coordinator should be an attractive position, with players like Xavien Howard, Jevon Holland, Christian Wilkins, Jaelan Phillips and Chubb all under contract for at least next season.