The Miami Dolphins have made major progress on the defensive side of the ball lately, and a handful of text messages may be partly to thank.
Over a month ago, Dolphins safety Jevon Holland texted teammate Jerome Baker at a time when Miami’s defense was trying to find its footing.
“Jevon came to me a few weeks ago,” Baker began, “and was like, ‘This is what we got to do. This is how I feel. How do you feel? How can we come together and make this defense better?'”
When speaking on what Holland was specifically referencing, Baker made sure not to reveal too much.
“It was our defense as a whole, things he was seeing, how he felt about a lot of different things,” Baker said.
“He just wanted me to know what he goes through and vice versa. I wanted him to know, ‘All right, help me on this.’ Some things I can’t help him on [because] he’s on the back end. Some things I can help him on. It was one of those things like, ‘How can I help you? How can you help me?’ It really worked out for us.”
Holland also spoke on the text exchange and revealed that Baker wasn’t the only teammate he reached out to.
“I was going through a difficult time, feeling like I had a lot on my plate when I really didn’t,” he said. “I thought I was holding a lot on my shoulders when I really wasn’t. I just wanted to know if anybody else was feeling that way and that I’m not crazy for feeling this way. I reached out to [Baker] asking if he’s OK.
“I reached out to David [Long Jr.] and a couple other guys, trying to see if they’re on the same page. It eventually kind of worked itself out. We’re able to communicate a lot easier on the field.”
“It was working on getting comfortable in the defense, trusting my teammates to be where they’re supposed to be and trusting in me to be where I’m supposed to be,” he said.
Long called the text exchange between him, Holland and Baker a “little check up” and “little reminder that we have the potential to be as good as we want to be.”
The Dolphins have allowed 21 points or fewer in four consecutive games. During that same span, they’ve held opponents to under 300 yards in each game.
Miami’s defensive unit is starting to become a strength, and that could spell trouble for other contenders around the NFL given the fact that the Dolphins already have perhaps the most lethal offensive attack in the league.
At 8-3, Miami sits atop the AFC East and has a comfortable lead over the second-place Buffalo Bills, who are 6-6. The Dolphins are hoping to clinch their first division title in years and are currently in fantastic shape to do so.
The squad will have multiple opportunities near the end of the regular season to prove that it’s capable of getting the job done against strong competition, with games against the Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens and Bills still to come.
If the 2023 season ends up being a special one for the Dolphins organization, the text messages in question could go down as an iconic part of the story.