The Miami Dolphins are sitting at 3-0 as September nears its conclusion, with one game left to play before the calendar moves to October. Who have been the top players for the Dolphins in the month? While Cameron Wake, Randy Starks, Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace, and Charles Clay have all been very good, today we are look for only the best.
This brings us to our look at the top players for the Dolphins on offense, defense, and special teams throughout the month.
Is there any doubt about who has been the best player for the Dolphins on offense? Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been poised, decisive, and efficient this season. He is currently ninth in the league in passer rating and in completion percentage. The offense is third in the league in 3rd down conversions percentage, sitting at exactly 50%.
The Dolphins are 11th in points per game this season and are top in the league in red zone touchdown percentage, finding the end zone in 88% of their trips inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
All of these point to exactly what we, as fans, wanted to see this year - growth from Tannehill. We have not quite reached the quarter mark of the season, so there are still plenty of games to impact these rankings, but for now Tannehill is leading this offense, and leading it well.
So well that he is being listed among the early MVP candidates. (Does anyone have a chance at beating Peyton Manning?)
The strength of the Dolphins team is the defense, and, as such, there are a lot candidates for the top player on this side of the ball. If they had not had to sit out most of, or all of, the last game, both Cameron Wake and Paul Soliai probably could make an argument for this position. Dimitri Patterson, with his two interceptions, also could make a play for the top defender spot, but he, also, has had to miss playing time due to injury. And, since we are looking for only the best players, we have to select someone whose name we actually have not heard much this year.
Cornerback Brent Grimes is dominating so far this year. Quarterbacks are simply staying away from him. He does have one interception, and he is sixth the league in passes defensed. An example of just how dominating Grimes is playing right now came this past weekend, when Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw the ball 38 times, and only twice toward the receiver being covered by Grimes.
Grimes was an unheralded signing in a crazy free agency period for the Dolphins this offseason. He may just be the steal of the year.
This feels wrong to write, but it's not Brandon Fields. Fields is back up among the leaders in punting average, sitting fourth at 49.0 yards per punt, but he's not been the best player on special teams for the Dolphins. Long snapper John Denney could very easily take this slot, as could Don Jones, who has been making great plays in coverage so far this year. But, right now, there's only one player to list as the best special teams player for the Dolphins: rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis.
Sturgis currently leads the league in average kickoff length, at 67.7, for kickers with more than one punt. He has kicked off 15 times, with 10 of them going for a touchback, with the five returns averaging 26.2 yards per return. His longest kickoff of the season is 74 yards, three yards short of Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt, who kicked off one time last week.
And, none of that scores points for Miami. When there is a chance of changing the scoreboard, Sturgis has not missed. He is six-for-six on field goal attempts this season, including two-for-20 from 50-yards or greater. He's also eight-for-eight on extra point tries.
Miami drafted Sturgis in the fifth round this past April, then released incumbent kicker Dan Carpenter early in the preseason. With the way Sturgis is kicking right now, it looks like they made the right choice.
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