Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard didn’t mince words when talking about people who are sleeping on him heading into this season.
Xavien Howard, laughing: “I believe I am a true No. 1 cornerback, f— you talking about?”
— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) July 25, 2023
Xavien Howard on people who are sleeping on him:
“F*ck ‘em.” 😂
— Ahn Fire Digital (@AhnFireDigital) July 25, 2023
Howard’s words were direct and to the point as he adjusts to possibly no longer being the best cornerback on his own team after the Dolphins traded for Jalen Ramsey earlier this offseason.
Howard has established himself among the best at his position in the NFL. But despite a third straight Pro Bowl selection, he is thought to be coming off a down season.
During last season, the recently turned 30-year-old dealt with groin and knee injuries and had just one interception after snagging 15 in the previous two seasons combined. His 45 combined tackles were his fewest in the past three seasons.
In ESPN’s recent ranking of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, Howard was listed in the honorable mention category after he was No. 4 in 2022.
“He is on his way down but will have a good year due to scheme and is finally healthy,” an AFC scout told ESPN.
He will now be playing in the same secondary as Ramsey, who was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams. The 28-year-old is a six-time Pro Bowl selection who was ranked No. 3 by ESPN in its recent poll and also can be outspoken at times.
Having two perceived No. 1 cornerbacks in the same secondary is a situation any team would like to have, as long as the players accept their roles and don’t start feuding with each other. Ramsey’s effort reportedly has been questioned by at least one NFL scout, but he has been praising the Dolphins’ scheme under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
The highly regarded assistant coach also has been drawing raves from other members of the defense, even earning the term “genius” from Emannuel Ogbah.
Dolphins practices during training camp may be worth the price of admission with Howard and Ramsey going up against receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle plus quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Hill is on the record saying he can become the first NFL player to gain 2,000 receiving yards in a season and that the potential of the offensive unit gives him “goosebumps.”
It is likely that Hill and Waddle, along with the rest of Howard’s teammates, aren’t among those sleeping on him. And if they are, well, Howard probably will have some choice words for them too.