The Miami Dolphins have candidates for two major offseason NFL awards following the 2016 season. Defensive end Cameron Wake, at 34 years old, returned this season after missing the second half of 2015 with an Achilles tear. During his return, he earned a fifth career Pro Bowl selection, while tallying 29 tackles, two passes defensed, five forced fumbles, one interception, and 11.5 sacks, tied for sixth in the league, while playing in all 16 games this year. His 2016 performance should have him in the running for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
First-year head coach Adam Gase took over a 6-10 team, turning them into a 10-6 club and earning the Dolphins their first postseason appearance since 2008. Gase guided the team through multiple injuries to key players, including starters missing time at the guard position, center, left tackle, quarterback, defensive tackle, all three linebacker positions, both cornerbacks, and both safeties, including a Pro Bowler in Reshad Jones. He demonstrated his ability to be flexible, change his play calling, and deal with adversity, including the retirement of his opening day starting running back. Gase could be an option for the NFL’s Coach of the Year.
According to the Pro Football Writers of America, neither one quite reaches the top of the voting. The writers awarded their Comeback Player of the Year award to Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who sustained a knee injury in the 2015 preseason to comeback in 2016 and lead the league in receiving touchdowns. He caught 97 passes for 1,257 yards
The PFWA Coach of the Year award was presented to Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. The Cowboys were 13-3, the best record in the NFL, despite an injury to Tony Romo and the team relying on rookie Dak Prescott as their starting quarterback. The Cowboys finished the 2015 season 4-12, marking a nine-game improvement from last season to this year.
The Associated Press Coach of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year awards will be presented during the NFL Honors award show on Saturday, February 4. Also being presented that night will be the AP’s Most Valuable Player and Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year and Rookies of the Year awards, along with the league’s Sportsmanship Award, Walter Payton Man of the Year award, and other various recognitions.