The offseason is a great time to reminisce about the past, the “could–have–beens” and the “what–ifs”.
It’s also a great time to spew hype and hope for the season ahead before the euphoria of a Week 1 win or the crushing ‘all-hope-is-lost’ despair of a defeat.
Last time, we took a look back into the past to highlight a handful of Dolphins players from the 1990’s who donned the aqua and orange and likely deserve more recognition for their efforts than they currently receive some 20-30 years later.
This week, we’ll dig into more recent memories and filter through the rosters of the 2000’s to shine a light on the players who left their footprints on the turf of Pro Player/Dolphins/Dolphin/Land Shark Stadium and deserve to still have their names brought up in positive Miami football conversations.
For many Dolphins fans in their early-mid 30s the 2000’s is where their fandom was solidified, despite the fact that the decade began with team having already failed to deliver on the best years of Marino’s career in the 80’s and early-mid 90’s and had seen him end his career in Miami without a Super Bowl ring. The reins of the franchise had been passed from the stable hands of Don Shula through a tumultuous couple of seasons under Jimmy Johnson and the millenium bug was on the verge of destroying all life as we know it.
In 2000 – his first year as the Dolphins’ Head Coach – the task of returning the franchise to a course of stability and championship contention was awarded to Dave Wannstedt. The season gave fans significant hope with an 11-5 record, 1st place in the AFC East and a thrilling 23-17 overtime victory against the Indianapolis Colts, but also set the standard for long-term expectations with an early playoff exit in an epic 27-0 loss to the Oakland Raiders in the Divisional round.
2002 saw the arrival of perhaps Miami’s most formidable offensive player (not named Dan Marino) in Ricky Williams. The former Texas Longhorns star had landed in Miami via New Orleans after a cascade of trades and the Dolphins had found their centrepiece for the offense – a superstar running backwhich had been jarringly absent in the Marino years.
The quiet, reserved yet devestating human bulldozer saw his name and number adorn the backs of thousands of fans in South Florida, across the nation as well as internationally and his aggressive, powerful running style kept the franchise relevant when discussing potential Super Bowl contenders.
Supported by a star-studded cast on defense led by Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison, Miami’s plan for the early 2000’s was clear:
Run. Score. Get the ball back. Run it again.
In 2002 the offensive plan resulted in Ricky Williams leading the league in rushing yards (1853) and he powered his way through defenders en route to 16 TDs and an average of 115.8 yards per game. The Ricky Williams train continued to roll in 2003 adding 1372 yards and 9 TDs before his abrupt ‘retirement’ shortly before the 2004 season began.
A 4-12 season in 2004 saw the firing of Dave Wannstedt and interim HC Jim Bates held the position until the Dolphins had seemingly managed to reel in their biggest fish with the hiring of LSU coach, Nick Saban. Of course, his dictatorship would only last 2 seasons before the allure of returning to college football proved too much in 2007 and the Dolphins would thereafter be reliant upon the offensive ‘genius’ of Cam Cameron and the elite speed and humble nature of Ted Ginn’s entire family.
Chris Chambers (2001-2006) had been the team’s standout wide receiver before his departure to San Diego in 2007.
The result of the 2007 season was a 1-15 record, with total embarrassment and the NFL’s first winless season saved only by an overtime Greg Camarillo TD catch-and-run in Week on 16 December against the Ravens.
Ronnie Brown (2005-2011) had been drafted with the 2nd pick of the 2005 draft and – together with the return of Ricky Williams and the addition of Jake Long solidifying the LT spot as the top overall pick in 2008 – helped to reinvigorate Miami’s run game and pass protection.
Dolfans of the 2000’s will clearly remember the euphoria of the next season – a 2008 AFC East crown in Tony Sparano’s first season as Head Coach with an 11-5 record and the complete demolition of the hated New England Patiots at the hands of the Wildcat in Week 3.
But whilst the running back spot remained relatively strong throughout the decade, the stability at the team’s most important position found itself wavering.
From 2000-2009, Miami started games with Jay Fiedler (2000-2004), Damon Huard (2000), Ray Lucas (2001-2002), Brian Griese (2003), AJ Feeley (2004) Sage Rosenfels (2004-2005), Gus Frerotte (2005), Daunte Culpepper (2006), Joey Harrington (2006), Cleo Lemon (2006), Trent Green (2007), John Beck (2007), Chad Pennington (2008-2009) and Chad Henne (2009-2011).
The only name amongst those who rightly finds himself fondly remembered by Dolfans is of course Chad Pennington, whose team leadership, accuracy and command of the huddle helped propel the Dolphins to the playoffs in 2008. However, the Ravens had their payback (with interest) for Greg Camarillo’s season-defining play with a 27-9 beatdown and a speedy exit from the playoffs in the Wild Card round.
But despite the Dolphins struggling to stay afloat in the waters of mediocrity throughout the decade, glimmers of hope had managed to shine through in the form of a pinch of spectacular players, as well as a handful of solid core contributors who arguably deserve another look under the spotlight of the 2000’s:
After playing college football at Eastern Kentucky, Yeremiah Bell was selected by the Dolphins in the 6th round of the 2003 NFL draft, spending his rookie year on the practice squad. He spent the following 7 seasons tuning his skills as as a hard-hitting safety, accumulating 560 combined tackles, including 433 solo. He also stole 6 INTs, caused 9 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries and registered 11 sacks. Bell suffered an Achilles injury at the start of the 2007 season but returned in 2008 to be a reliable force in the secondary for the Dolphins resulting in a Pro Bowl selection in 2009.
Position: Tight End
Selected in the 2002 draft, McMichael was the 114th overall pick and was the eighth TE off the board. He finished his first season second in receiving totals amongst the rookie TE group in and throughout his career in Miami was a trusted, dependable and durable receiving target. McMichael started each of the 80 games in which he played as a Dolphin and hauled in 283 career receptions for 3096 yards (with an average of 10.9 yards per catch) and 18 TDs before signing with the St Louis Rams in 2007.
Position: Offensive Line
Home-grown out of the University of Miami, the former Hurricane was the Dolphins’ first round pick in the 2004 NFL draft. During the early part of his 8 year career with the Dolphins, Carey was developed at the RT spot and contributed to a skilled offensive line which the Dolphins can now only dream about. A solid, versatile and durable starter, Carey also filled in along the line at LT and RG in the later stages of his career and played in 121 games.
Position: Defensive End/Defensive Tackle
Entering the league in 1998 in Green Bay, Vonnie Holliday’s career shot off to an impressive start before injury saw him replaced and released by the Packers in 2003. After a 2 year stint with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Dolphins signed the experienced pass rusher in 2005 and placed him inside at the DT position alongside Jason Taylor, where he proved durable without any missed games in his first 2 years in Miami. Holliday became a consistent force on the interior defensive line over his 4 seasons during which time he racked up 205 tackles, including 25 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks and 4 fumble recoveries.
As the Dolphins’ Center from 1994-2003, Tim Ruddy missed only 4 games in his career. Selected out the University of Notre Dame, he began his NFL tenure as one of Dan Marino’s trusted protectors, becoming a full-time starter in his second year. Ruddy played with Miami’s two most prolific offensive talents in Marino and Williams and as an anchor between teammates Mark Dixon, Jamie Nails, Todd Perry and Todd Wade, played a large role in Ricky’s rushing title during the 2002 season. With the type of longevity which is rare in the NFL, Ruddy’s talents and durability did not go unnoticed and he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2001.
Brock Marion arrived in Miami in 1998 after having spent his first 5 NFL seasons in Dallas. His impact was felt immediately as he racked up 112 tackles in his first year as a Dolphins and throughout his career contributed heavily to a talented secondary group alongside Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison and started all 95 games in which he played. Brock finished his Dolphins career after having built up impressive statistics, with 20 interceptions, 2 TDs, 431 return yards, 5 forced fumbles and 528 combined tackle before a final season with the Detroit Lions.
Things didn’t start off so well for Olindo Mare in the NFL, being signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie out of Syracuse in 1996 and then finding himself cut from the roster before the season even started. However, he was picked up by Miami and developed into one of the stalwarts of the Dolphins and provided consistency in the kicking game for which the current Chicago Bears would sell the farm. Mare spent 10 years in Miami, playing in 155 straight games netting a career 80.9% success rate in field goals, including a league-high 90.5% in 2001 with only 2 misses (19/21). Looking back over his stats, it’s actually quite amazing to consider how the kicking game has progressed over the past 20 years with Mare’s career longest kick a ‘modest’ 53 yards which he achieved on 3 occasions. Olindo Mare was considered one of the most reliable kickers in the league during his time in the league and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1999.
Position: Running Back
The 2000’s will inevitably be best remembered for the successes of Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown and their combined force in the Wildcat formation in 2008. But the decade was opened with Lamar Smith in the starting RB spot, spending 2 years with the Dolphins having been acquired from New Orleans. During the 2000 season, Smith rushed for 1139 yards and 14 TDs including a 17 yard overtime run against the Indianapolis Colts to seal the the Dolphins’ most recent playoff win on 30 December 2000. He moved onto Carolina and back to New Orleans with limited success (never again exceeding 680 yards in a season) and an array of troubling drink driving offences.
It’s hardly news that the 2019 Dolphins want to return the fullback position to relevance and fans should rejoice if Miami can develop anything close to the talents of Rob Konrad. A fearsome blocker, Konrad played in 82 games for the Dolphins from 1999-2004 but with only one fully healthy season (2002). In those 6 seasons, Konrad started 57/82 games. Although he was primarily used as a blocker, he found a handful of opportunities to score, hauling in 111 receptions for 854 yards and 6 TDs whilst also rushing 38 times in short yardage situations for 114 yards and a single TD.
Position: Defensive End
During his senior season at Indiana, Adewale Ogunleye suffered a major knee injury and complications with infection which sent the talented player’s draft stock plummeting. As a result, the Dolphins were able acquire Ogunleye as an undrafted rookie in 2000 and he spent his rookie year on the Injured Reserve list. Determination and perseverance saw him take his first steps on NFL turf in 2001, earning a spot on the 53 man roster and 3 productive years followed with the Dolphins (2001-2003) including 2 years as a full-time starter. His Dolphins career culminated with 25 sacks in 39 games, 109 combined tackles and a 2003 Pro Bowl selection before being traded to the Chicago Bears prior to the 2004 season.
Love him or loathe him, Crowder’s energy levels are undeniable. Those who haven’t dug into his college and off-field background are strongly encouraged to do so as Crowder recalls his wild youth with gusto. A playmaking All-American linebacker out of the University of Florida, Crowder was selected by the Dolphins in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL Draft using one of the picks acquired from the trade which had sent Adewale Ogunleye to the Bears. Fans may remember him well for being ejected from a Week 12 game against the Patriots in 2008 after getting into an on-field scuffle with OT Matt Light, but his stats certainly shouldn’t go ignored. A true ‘thumper’ at the LB spot, Crowder played in 82 games over 6 seasons for the Dolphins racking up 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 2.5 sacks and 469 combined tackles (including 20 tackles for loss).
Next Up: We’ll be reminiscing on the 2010’s as we search desperately for the diamonds in the rough who not only have already seen their Dolphin days pass them by, but may also find themselves helping the team swim into a much brighter future ahead.
Miami Dolphins 2019 Training Camp Guide – Safeties
Over the next two weeks, Locked On Dolphins will bring you your one-stop shop for all things Miami Dolphins 2019 training camp
Game-By-Game Predictions Part 1 – 7/24 (Part 2 coming in September)
For the majority of the Ryan Tannehill era, the Dolphins entered training camp as dark horse candidates to seize a wildcard playoff berth. Things have changed for the worse in 2019, but the step backward comes with the hopes of constructing a perennial AFC East contender capable of winning games in January.
That’s the big-picture snapshot of the Miami Dolphins rebuild. In the interim, however, establishing the core principles of the Brian Flores program, as well as developing young talent, both capture the forefront of this year’s training camp objectives.
Over the next two weeks, we will get you familiar with each player on the roster. With biographies, quick-hitter scouting notes, and a prediction on the player’s ultimate role on the 2019 Dolphins, this serves as your guide for Miami’s summer practice session.
Cross-training promises to serve as the buzz phrase of this rendition of Dolphins camp. No position offers more dual functionality than safety, especially in a defense undergoing sweeping schematic changes.
In the past, the safety spots have been directionally based, opposed to the traditional strong and free distinctions. This round-peg-in-a-square-hole philosophy led to frustration; so much so that Miami’s longest-tenured defensive player pulled himself from a game last November.
Now, these safeties will have specific roles designated to suit their respective strengths. The universal trait of the group will be the ability to come down and cover the slot, tight ends, and running backs.
Tony Oden is one of two holdovers from the previous staff. Oden has been coaching defensive backs since 1996, including a GA stop at Brian Flores’ alma mater Boston College.
Reshad Jones – 9 years of service (10th in MIA)
Opening Day Age: 31.5
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $35M total, $13M guaranteed
Jones’ absence was the story of voluntary organized team activities. Amidst rampant trade rumors, Jones was present for mandatory work and an understanding has, apparently, been achieved between he and Coach Flores.
Jones is still a punishing hitter that excels defending both the strong and weak-side C-gaps on the defense. This scheme will put him back in a familiar situation playing in close to the line-of-scrimmage and sending him on a variety of run and pass blitzes. Jones played single-high, 20 yards off the ball, far too often last season.
Declining coverage ability, the occasional poor angle, and considerable medical concerns all add up to an uncertain future for Jones in Miami. The age and contract aren’t doing Jones’ long-term prospects any favors either.
Gotta love Reshad Jones. pic.twitter.com/gUs18ktATh
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) December 24, 2017
2019 Projected Role: Strong Safety, 100% snap-taker
Bobby McCain – 4 years of service (5th in MIA)
Opening Day Age: 26.0
Contract Details: 4 years remaining, $22M total, $9M guaranteed
After a stellar 2017 season, injuries and position changes led to a down year for McCain. Among the game’s best slot corners two years ago, McCain was rewarded with a new contract, but he was outplayed in the slot by 2018 rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick. In 2019, the two could be interchangeable working in slot coverage and as a single-high safety (as well as two-deep looks).
This scheme utilizes three safeties the majority of the defense’s snaps. McCain could serve as the middle of the field man in those three-safety packages, and come down in two-slot looks for man-coverage responsibilities.
McCain is a terrific leader, astute tackler, and an occasionally effective blitzer.
Let’s start it off with Bobby McCain. Man up with one of the game’s best. Engages, breaks it up – this is teaching tape. pic.twitter.com/aDEHjNBtFf
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) December 6, 2017
2019 Projected Role: Free Safety, Slot Corner 85% snap-taker
T.J. McDonald – 6 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Opening Day Age: 28.4
Contract Details: 3 years remaining, $17M total, $3.6M guaranteed
With one more year of guaranteed salary, McDonald needs to successfully transition into a new role to have a future in Miami. Inexplicably taking the job previously manned by Reshad Jones, McDonald’s inclusion into the defense wasn’t a positive one.
No longer among the top four, or even five, defensive backs on the roster, McDonald will come onto the field in sub-packages. He’s effective working downhill and should provide Miami’s dime package with a quality tackler and sound cover-man in the underneath shell.
McDonald robs Darnold on the INT. pic.twitter.com/J1Mc5jjusB
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) September 18, 2018
2019 Projected Role: Third Safety, Dime Linebacker (Dollar) 60% snap-taker
Maurice Smith – 2 years of service (3rd in MIA)
Opening Day Age: 24.3
Contract Details: 1 year remaining, $645K total, $0 guaranteed
It’s difficult to assess Smith’s value the last couple of years. He rarely made it onto the field, but that could just be another indictment of incompetent coaching. At his best, Smith plays the robber role, dislodges footballs, and steps in front of intermediate passes.
With 10 players acquired in the secondary since Smith arrived in Miami, he has an uphill battle to fend off the newcomers for a job.
2019 Projected Role: Camp cut
2019 Dolphins Safeties at a Glance:
The decision to forego any acquisitions at safety this offseason was surprising. The most important position in the defense, Miami comes up a couple of bodies short unless McCain’s conversion is a success. He’s a bit undersized for the position, but he offers the instincts, tackling, and ball skills to provide some promise.
Jones’ role, and subsequent impact on the defense, is one of the more intriguing storylines of the year for the Dolphins.
With a lot of questions and fewer solutions, this group could be in for more changes next offseason.
Miami Dolphins sign cornerback Tyler Patmon
The Miami Dolphins have filled out the final roster spot by signing a familiar face: Tyler Patmon
After a Sunday night visit on July 21st, the Dolphins have officially signed cornerback Tyler Patmon. The corner was with the team during the 2015 season but failed to leave his mark during his first stint with the team.
Tyler Patmon has, however, managed to keep his career chugging along with time spent in Dallas in 2014 and 2015 and Jacksonville in 2017 and 2018.
The news was broken on Twitter by the official DEC Management account, who represents Patmon.
— DEC Management (@davidcanter) July 22, 2019
The team makes reference to Patmon’s first attempt with the team, but this time should be a better fit for Patmon considering the team’s roster makeup. With a few more years of experience under his belt, Patmon stands a better chance of getting a foothold and making an impact.
Tyler Patmon is also a special signing because of his being the 91st player under contract. The Dolphins have found some value in signing a player internationally, which has allowed them the ability to sign Patmon as a bonus player.
The Tyler Patmon the signing gives the Dolphins 91 players. Reminder that Durval Neto’s position on the roster allows Miami to keep the extra player courtesy of the Internarjonal Pathway Program roster exemption rule.
— Travis Wingfield (@WingfieldNFL) July 22, 2019
I can’t say for certain if Patmon will ultimately end up on the final 53-man roster. My initial inclination is that it’ll be an uphill battle, but stranger things have happened. He might be able to step in and make some waves with the experience he has over some of the younger defensive backs.
Remember The Dolphins (Part 3: The 2010s)
True. The final chapter of the Dolphins’ current decade has not yet been written.
At the dawn of the 2019 training camp, the stars of Miami’s 2019 Super Bowl Champion team have not yet emerged and had their names stamped into the NFL history books.
But going by on the widely-held assumption that the Miami Dolphins figure to be at the very bottom of the league in 2019, we’ll draw a line under the decade of the 2010’s as the Dolphins begin their ‘hard’ reboot to bring the franchise back to glory.
In this third part of our Remember The Dolphins series, we’ll trudge up some painful recent memories by taking a look back at the years 2010-2018 and try to pick out those individuals who perhaps deserve some more recognition for the part they played despite the team’s overall lack of success.
For the Miami Dolphins, the 2010’s was a decade filled with unfortunate drama. The Jonathan Martin bullying fiasco; Richie Incognito; the resulting ever-changing revolving doors which built the offensive line; Mike Pouncey’s “Free Hernandez” hat; Dion Jordan; overpaid Free Agents; terrible draft picks; Chris Foerster bringing his out-of-office habits into the team facility; Brent Grime’s wife; a queezy, litter-picking coach; Vontae Davis’ grandma; the “Go” and Go, Go” offense; Matt Burke’s incomprehensible defensive scheme; and last but by no means least, Adam Gase.
It was not exactly a fun-packed decade for fans.
From one year to the next, the 2010’s barraged the Dolphins with national embarrassment off the field and an on-field product which no one could quite figure out.
The 2010’s undoubtedly will be most remembered, for better or worse (depending on which side you sit) for the Ryan Tannehill years.
Landing in the NFL as a franchise’s heralded saviour is generally tough enough. But landing in a city already drowning in football mediocrity, with a fanbase tired of the lacklustre QB carousel and desperately thirsty for a leading passer under the scorching South Florida sunshine was inevitably going to be a recipe for division among fans.
Add in the ever-present shadow of Dan Marino and the unforeseen successes of other young QBs around the league and anything less than spectacular would be deemed a failure.
And that is the past decade of Dolphins in a nutshell…
Cameron Wake was nothing short of awesome as the team’s premier defensive player and remains a living legend, seemingly ready to finish his career in Tennessee. It’s scary to think that Wake spent 10 years with the Dolphins (2009-2018) in which he started 126/146 games, accumulated 98.0 sacks, 358 combined tackles, 97 tackles for loss and 213 QB hits. As Dolfans, we have just witnessed the end of the most successful Dolphins tale of the decade. But that alone was not enough to gain the team anything more than one playoff game.
Save for a handful of highlight performances in 2016 to drag Miami to the playoffs, including Jay Ajayi’s back-to-back 200 yard games and Andrew Franks’ overtime field goal over the Bills on Christmas Eve, the Dolphins continued their desperate struggle for success for another decade.
2010 started badly for Head Coach Tony Sparano, then entering his 3rd year. Chad Henne (301 of 490) threw for 3301 yards, 15 TDs and 19 INTs. The Dolphins had broken the bank to bring in WR, Brandon Marshall to help in Henne’s development and aid a struggling offense. Although Marshall hauled in 1014 yards, a lowly 3 TDs was the ultimate result. The Dolphins found themselves sitting at 30th in the league in points scored and achieved a 7-9 record.
Things didn’t exactly improve quickly, if at all.
2011 saw the firing of Coach Sparano who was temporarily replaced by defensive co-ordinator, Todd Bowles after a 4-9 start to finish 6-10.
2012 saw the arrival of Joe Philbin and rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill which produced a now-familiar 7-9 record. The QB/HC relationship lasted 3.5 years and left everyone a “little queezy”.
The Dolphins scraped .500 records in 2013 and 2014 before falling to 6-10 in 2015 under the final year of Philbin’s reign.
Nothing of note had begun to shine out from the shadows of mediocrity and the patience of Miami fans was beyond tested.
Enter, Adam Gase.
The Peyton-Manning-endorsed offensive ‘genius’ arrived in 2016 taking the Dolphins to the playoffs despite a season-ending knee injury to the starting QB. And whilst the victories of 2016 weren’t repeated, the rare taste of playoffs had bought Gase enough stature that even the team’s brightest stars weren’t safe from his methods and relationships continued to sour to the point of breaking and eventual trade.
Jarvis Landry had stolen headlines with some highlight-reel catches and was unanimously adored by the Dolphins fanbase. Jay Ajayi had bulldozed his way into the history books before his relationship with the head coach turned to ash. Both players were quickly gone, uncerimoniously – their departures embodying the Dolphins’ constant inability of retaining success.
A number of players publicly spoke out against Adam Gase, as prime examples of what the Dolphins had become at their core – divided, unstable and without direction.
But looking back over the dysfunction of the 2010’s, let’s try to pick a handful of names out of the rubble who (outside of the Miami Miracle) deserve to be looked at in a brighter, warmer light and be remembered despite the team’s on-field and off-field failures.
Position: Running Back
The Saints’ 2nd overall pick of the 2006 draft found his way to Miami in his 6th year, following a trade with the Saints in July 2011. That season, he provided a spark of electricity to Miami’s offense and rushed for 1000+ yards for the first time in his career and scored 6 rushing TDs with an average of 5.0 yards per carry. Bush remained with the Dolphins for 2 years (2011-2012) and despite having been labelled as injury prone during his time in New Orleans, managed to be a dependable on-field presence, rushing for 2072 yards and 12 TDs as a Dolphin, whilst hauling in a further 588 receiving yards and 3 TDs. He was named the AFC Offensive Player of The Week in 2011 following a 203 yard performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 15.
Position: Running Back
The homegrown running back was drafted in the fourth round by the Dolphins in 2012 out of the University of Miami, sharing his rookie year with Reggie Bush. By his second season, Miller had adopted the starting role, but it wasn’t until 2014 when he really began to find his feet out of the Dolphins’ backfield. Miller’s totals of 1099 rushing yards and 8 TDs in 2014 remain his career highs, with a highlight 97 yard TD run against the Jets on 28 December 2014. Over the course of his 4 years in Miami, Miller started 48/61 games and rushed for 2930 yards and 19 TDs whilst catching 117 passes for 887 yards and a further 3 scores, before signing a 4-year $26m deal with the Houston Texans in March 2016.
Karlos Dansby came to Miami in 2010 after 6 years in the league with the Arizona Cardinals. His final 2 years in Arizona saw him tally 228 combined tackles including 17 for a loss, 5 sacks, 3 INTs and 3 forced fumbles. He was therefore a big-name target for the Dolphins in 2010 to help solidify the linebacker group under Tony Sparano. Dansby joined the Dolphins on a 5-year, $43m contract which (at the time) was the highest paid contract for an ILB in NFL history. In his 3 years at Miami, Dansby started 45/46 games and racked up 332 combined tackles, 1 INT, 5 forced fumbles and 6 sacks.
Position: Defensive Tackle
An absolute man-mountain, Paul Soliai was drafted by the Dolphins in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. He became a staple on Miami’s defensive line and spent 7 years in Miami (2007-2013), working his way to a full-time starting spot in 2010. Soliai started 62 of 99 games in his Dolphins career and had a knack for swatting down passes with 12 deflections. A huge body in the middle of the Dolphins defense, Soliai was predominantly a space-eater but also racked up 117 solo tackles (160 combined) including 25 TFLs and 4.5 sacks. He signed with the Falcons in March 2014 and the Panthers in March 2016 before signed a one-day contract to retire as a Miami Dolphin on 19 April 2018.
Position: Wide Receiver
A productive fourth round pick of the Dolphins in 2009, Hartline spent 6 years in Miami (2009-2014). Hartline’s best years came in 2012/2013 following the arrival of Ryan Tannehill and he developed into something of a trusted safety blanket for the young QB and set a Dolphins franchise record for receiving yards (253) in Week 4 of 2012 against the Cardinals. With over 130 targets in each of those years, Hartline caught 150 passes for 2099 yards, but only 5 TDs which is an indication of the team’s lack of productivity in the red zone. Injured early in his career, Hartline started 69 of 92 games in Miami hauling in 4243 yards and 12 TDs with a catch rate of 57.1% and 8.1 yards per target. In the final game of 2014, Hartline suffered a PCL injury which ended his tenure at the Dolphins and a quick year in Cleveland saw the end of Hartline’s NFL career and he is now WR coach at Ohio State.
Position: Wide Receiver
Similar to Hartline (and more recently Jarvis Landry) Davone Bess spent his first NFL years with the Dolphins before being signed by the Cleveland Browns. Arriving with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Hawaii, Bess quickly exceeded expectations. He was primarily positioned at slot receiver until injury forced Greg Camarillo off the field. Bess finished his rookie year positioned 3rd amongst rookie WRs in receptions. During his time as a Dolphin, Bess hauled in 12 TDs and had dependable hands (63.8% catch ratio) with a 6.9 yards-per-target average and he amassed a total of 3447 yards receiving. Bess was traded to the Cleveland Browns in April 2013 before troubling issues saw him placed on the non-football illness list in December 2013 prior to a series of arrests.
After 4 years in Dallas and 2 years in San Diego, Kevin Burnett signed as a Miami Dolphin in July 2011. He started all 32 games at linebacker during his 2 years with Miami (2011-2012) and stole 1 Pick-6, had 5 sacks with 216 combined tackles and 15 TFLs. Although always the truest of professionals, the productive and dependable player was released following the mistake-riddled free agent signings of Darnell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler in March 2013.
Position: Defensive End
I liked Jared Odrick. Generally considered a surprising first round pick (28th overall) of the Miami Dolphins in 2010, he unfortunately suffered a foot injury in October 2010 cutting short his rookie season. Returning with a strong 2011 season, he registered 6 sacks and and an INT as a backup DE and didn’t take himself too seriously, evidence by his very odd Pee Wee Herman sack dance. Odrick spent 5 years in Miami (2010-2014) but suffered with injuries and started only 41 of 65 games. Alongside his INT, Odrick swatted down 11 passes and caused 3 forced fumbles, had 16.5 sacks and 129 combined tackles including 30 for a loss and 47 QB hits. Following his Dolphins career, Odrick spent 2 years in Jacksonville before his retirement after being placed on IR in December 2016.
A fifth round pick (145th overall) by the Dolphins in the 2010, Carroll was seen as a promising rookie and played a considerable amount on special teams. Fans will recall that during a kickoff return on 13 December 2010, Carroll was tripped over on the sidelines by the Jets’ strength and conditioning coach, Sal Alosi. Carroll was promoted to a starting role in 2012 and over the course of his 4 years in Miami he started 26 of 58 games, grabbed 5 INTs with 23 passes defended, 1 forced fumble and 3 sacks. He racked up 123 combined tackles before signing a 2-year $5m contract with the Eagles in March 2014.
And there we have it.
At the dawn of the 2019 season, with the imminent start of training camp, the Dolphins now have an opportunity to write the decade’s final chapter.
Under the leadership of Head Coach Brian Flores, the Dolphins seek to change the story of their long-term mediocrity. With a young group of talented players ripe for development, we can only hope that many of them will seek to etch their names into the future of Dolphins’ history from 2020 and beyond.
- Miami Dolphins 2019 Training Camp Guide – Safeties July 23, 2019
- Miami Dolphins sign cornerback Tyler Patmon July 22, 2019
- Remember The Dolphins (Part 3: The 2010s) July 22, 2019
- Dolphins Roster Moves Ahead of Training Camp July 22, 2019
- Miami Dolphins 2019 Training Camp Guide – Cornerbacks July 21, 2019
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