Kelly: Can Jordan Poyer help Jevon Holland turn up the volume on his performance?

Jevon Holland has played in three different defenses, for three different coordinators, partnering with three different safeties during the duration of his NFL career.

If there’s one constant about what the Miami Dolphins’ safety — if not the entire defense — has experienced in recent years it has been change, and this season will be no exception.

Holland latest challenge is learn new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver’s version of a hybrid defense, and he’s being asked to create an on-field partnership with Jordan Poyer, an accomplished NFL starter who began the journey and established himself as one of the NFL’s upper-echelon safeties when Holland was in middles school.

“He’s got secrets I don’t know yet,” Holland said about Poyer, who signed a one-year deal worth $2 million with the Dolphins.

Most veterans in their 30s prefer to take it easy during this time of the offseason. They’re trying to preserve their bodies and legs for playing football in December and January.

Poyer, who edges out Terron Armstead by three months for the distinction of being the oldest Dolphins player (33) on the roster, refuses to miss a day of OTAs because he’s focused on developing chemistry with Holland.

“A lot of success comes from the communication part, especially on the back end,” Poyer said. “If you want to be successful, you’ve got to know who you’re playing with essentially. You’ve got to know the guys on and off the field. In the fourth quarter, I want to know the guy I’m playing with. I want to know about his family. You learn to trust each other that way.

“That’s essentially why I’m here,” Poyer said about Miami’s voluntary work, enters the second week of Phase 3 next Tuesday.. “I don’t necessarily have to be, but I want to be. I’m excited about this opportunity.”


If Holland has an identical career to Poyer, who has contributed 806 tackles, 12 sacks and 24 interceptions, he will have plenty to be proud of.

That’s why the Dolphins starting free safety admits he’s been picking the brain of Poyer, whom he claims has poured guidance into him more than any safety he has played with since Jason McCourty, who mentored him his rookie season.

Poyer welcomes their relationship, but admits this new challenge has him out of his comfort zone because he spent the past seven years working with the same safety, Micah Hyde, in Buffalo. Those two became so bonded they began communicating with looks.

“New experience for me,” Poyer said on becoming a mentor. “I’ve been playing on the same team for seven years, and now coming here with a new group of guys, it’s been really fun to connect with them on and off the field.

“Jevon is a great player. Talented as heck, smart as heck,” Poyer said. “Any way that I can to help him be the best player that he can be, that’s what I’m coming here for.”


Safety play is a major role in how Weaver intends to play defense based on what he has done in his past.

Last year in Baltimore, where Weaver was the Ravens’ assistant head coach and specialized on the defensive front, the Ravens secondary used a package that featured heavy use of three safeties.

Kyle Hamilton (937), Geno Smith (951) and Marcus Williams (636) collectively handled more than 55 percent of the Ravens’ defensive snaps, which hints that a three-safety package might be in Miami’s future.

But who will be the third safety?

If Weaver chooses to adapt that approach he will be picking from Elijah Campbell and Nik Needham, two former cornerbacks who are in different stages of their conversion to safety, or rookies Patrick McMorris, the team’s 2024 sixth-round pick, Isaiah Johnson or Mark Perry, two undrafted players. While there are quality free agent safeties still available, such as Jamal Adams who visited the Ravens this week, the Dolphins are taking a patient approach, examining what they have first before exploring other options.

Miami will discover if they have that third safety eventually, but the priority this summer is to ensure that the duo the Dolphins do have stays healthy, and creates a bond that will blossom, and become beneficial to everyone on the field..

“To hear [Poyer] have conversations with Jevon Holland [brings] exuberance about both players taking their game to another level. That gets you excited,” head coach Mike McDaniel said. “I think that’s really good news for the Miami Dolphins organization because at the end of the day, you want guys who are fully invested, that are excited and energetic towards the goal, and come into the building every day and work. I know that’s what [Poyer] is going to do, and I know players on the team are excited to have him.”