The Miami Dolphins have a new set of team captains going into the 2019 regular season.
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores announced the team’s captains on Friday, saying the group was chosen by the players themselves. Linebacker Jerome Baker and safety Bobby McCain are both defensive captains, while center Daniel Kilgore and safety Walt Aikens are the sole offensive and special teams captains respectively.
Baker, just 22, is entering second season in the NFL, but has become one of the cornerstones of a rebuilding Dolphins defense. Last season, the former Ohio State Buckeye played in all 16 games, starting 11, and accumulated 79 total tackles, three sacks, and an interception. Baker has played virtually every down with the starters through training camp and the preseason and looks ready to take a leap into the upper echelon of NFL defenders. Baker’s teammates and head coach clearly trust the young buck to be a face of Miami’s defense.
McCain, 26, has spent the past four seasons with the Dolphins since being drafted by the team in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He has played virtually ever position in the secondary and is going into 2019 as the team’s starting free safety. As a vocal and energetic presence on the field, McCain will be relied upon to jump-start a defense with plenty of talent in the secondary.
Kilgore, 31, is one of the oldest players in Miami’s locker and thus, has a great deal of veteran presence. Though centers are usually seen as leaders of the offensive line, Miami’s lack of hardened talent and experience along the o-line virtually guaranteed Kilgore’s status as a positional leader. That being said, the fact that his teammates voted him offensive captain over Miami’s starting quarterback says something about Kilgore’s ability to lead, especially given the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick is known to be a favorite in the Dolphins locker room.
Aikens, 28, has been a steady presence on Miami’s special teams units since 2014. His capable tackling ability aside, Aikens’ on-field energy clearly permeates the entire special teams unit, and it’s obvious that his teammates and the coaching staff view him as a reliable leader in that phase of the game. After former special teams ace Michael Thomas left for the New York Giants following the 2017 season, Aikens took over the special teams unit with aplomb, and his efforts have been recognized by his peers.