Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

The Miami Dolphins’ defense enjoyed a big boost in efficiency and production in 2020 — coming much closer to living up to the lofty standards of head coach Brian Flores. But the 2021 edition of the Dolphins’ defense is undergoing a bit of a facelift. The team will welcome back most of their starters, but the leadership of Miami’s defensive unit is undergoing a changing of the guard.

Two of Miami’s most prominent defensive leaders off of last year’s team, LB Kyle Van Noy and SAF Bobby McCain, were cut this offseason, leaving a void in leadership that Miami will need to see filled. The direct replacements for both don’t seem like admirable places to find it, either. Van Noy will likely be replaced by a combination of LB Andrew Van Ginkel and rookie Jaelan Phillips. And McCain is set to be replaced, or so it appears, by rookie Jevon Holland. Even if Phillips and Holland are home runs for Miami, they’re not great leadership resources as NFL rookies.

Enter fourth-year linebacker Jerome Baker.

Baker, who enjoyed a career year in 2020 with the Dolphins, plays the right position, has enough NFL experience and carries the right kind of clout in the Dolphins’ locker room to be a leader. And he’s ready for that challenge.

“For me, ever since I was young, it’s always been the same. I lead by example and I kind of just do what the team needs me to do. If you need me to be the guy that yells today, I’ll be that guy. If you just need me to be that guy to just lead by example, I’ll be that guy,” said Baker.

“But ultimately, I think I’m just a lead-by-example guy. I just try to do the right things. I try to do what’s best for the team and that’s always been my approach. I don’t see it changing any time soon and I think that’s what’s gotten me here thus far.”

It’s also what has Baker aligned to be a leader on defense this coming year. And, depending on how the Dolphins choose to designate team captains, perhaps even a ‘C’ on his uniform, too.