Jalen Ramsey a big Brandon Staley backer, says Dolphins ‘weren't couch potatoes'

ORLANDO — Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the only defensive player on the Dolphins to make the Pro Bowl this season, appears to have a preferred candidate to replace departed coordinator Vic Fangio.

Among the multiple contenders for the job is Brandon Staley, the former Los Angeles Chargers head coach, but more importantly as far as Ramsey is concerned, his defensive coordinator on the 2020 L.A. Rams team that went 10-6 as a prologue to a championship in 2021.

“How was the experience working under coach Staley?” Ramsey said. “We were the No. 1 defense in the whole NFL when I was with coach Staley. So it was a good experience. You know, he was one of the first coaches to really use all of my abilities and so that was nice. I really got to express who I was. That was probably my best year in my career.”

More: Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa addresses long-team contract prospects at Pro Bowl

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey says his first year with the Dolphins was ‘a special year for me.'
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey says his first year with the Dolphins was ‘a special year for me.'

Ramsey made both Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors under Staley, as he did the following season when Staley was with the Chargers and Raheem Morris served as DC on the Rams, who won the Super Bowl.

The possibility of Staley joining Mike McDaniel’s staff wouldn’t be an option had it not been for Vic Fangio’s departure after just one season. Asked his reaction to Fangio leaving, Ramsey said, “Um,” followed by a long pause. “I wish Vic well in what he does.”

Fangio’s departure, which the club described as a mutual decision, hasn’t gone smoothly. This past week, Ron Jaworski did a radio interview essentially speaking on Fangio’s behalf in which he said some members of the Dolphins didn’t work hard enough.

“Guys like to party at night and South Beach is really a great place to party,” Jaworski said. “And Vic tried to get those guys and push those guys to become harder workers and better athletes and more committed to their team. And he couldn’t get through to those guys. Those were the guys that Vic was pushing and they’re the guys that are whining right now.”

Informed of those comments, Ramsey said: “If Vic said that, then I would say that he should be man enough to address who it is. I don’t think Vic said that, though. Personally, I don’t think Vic would do that. I know how I worked, for damn sure. And I know how I led the other guys in that secondary and I know how we worked.

“But yeah, at the same time, we weren’t couch potatoes.”

Ramsey likely drew more praise than anyone on the Dolphins for how hard he worked to rehabilitate his knee from a meniscus injury in training camp. Rather than missing most of the season, Ramsey made his Dolphins debut against New England in October.

“I’ll stand on the table and say I worked harder than anybody out here right now,” Ramsey said during AFC practice for the Pro Bowl. “But tonight, I’m going to be with my homies and we’re going to chill and we’re going to do whatever we’ve got to do. And tomorrow I’ll be back at practice doing my thing again.

“So you’ve got to have a balance in life in general, but when it’s about work and when it’s about football, you have to be about football.”

The Dolphins finished 11-6 before losing in the wild-card round to Kansas City. At the time Ramsey joined the lineup, Miami’s defense ranked 21st in the league. With Ramsey, it steadily climbed the rankings and finished 10th, helping Ramsey earn his seventh Pro Bowl invitation.

“It was a special year for me even though we didn't obviously go through Super Bowl, win the Super Bowl like that,” he said. “It was super special for me. Next year will be totally different. So I won't even try to compare it like that. But in this year, I was super grateful for the opportunity ahead.”

Dolphins reporter Hal Habib can be reached at Follow him on social media @gunnerhal.

Click here to subscribe.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Miami Dolphins' Jalen Ramsey: Brandon Staley probably got best from me