The 2010s came to an end as the calendar moved to January and 2020. For the Miami Dolphins, it ends another decade of mediocrity, but it also ends with a franchise that may have some hope. Head coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier appear ready to turn around the team, with an expected over $100 million in salary cap space and around 14 draft picks ready to restock and rebuild the club as we move into the 20s.
While we are about a week and a half into the 20s already and ready to talk free agents and draft, I have been trying to put together this list of my “All-Decade” team for the Dolphins. Today, I finally got it completed.
This list is completely subjective, and I would love you hear what you would have done differently. Use the comments to talk about your All-10s team.
Some notes before we start. There are 12 players on offense; I decided I needed to include a fullback, but I wanted three receivers as well. So, 12 offensive positions. On defense, I added a nickel cornerback position, so guess what? Yep, 12 defensive players as well. And, I used a 4-3 scheme because that is what Miami primarily used during the decade, though there are players on here - especially at defensive tackle and defensive end - who played multiple roles as Miami rotated between schemes or simply rotated pass rushers into and out of the lineup.
Also, a thank you to Pro-Football-Reference. I used their awesome database to be able to sort to stats just from the decade so players who started their careers in the 00s only had stats from the 10s. It also allowed me to easily pull just Dolphins stats, rather than the full stats for the player if he played for multiple teams in the decade.
Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill (2012-2018)
This one is pretty simple, with Tannehill clearly the longest tenured quarterback of the decade, starting 88 games from 2012 through 2018. His challengers over the decade are Chad Henne (2010-2011), Chad Pennington (2010), Matt Moore (2011-2017), Jay Cutler (2017), David Fales (2017), Brock Osweiler (2018), and Ryan Fitzpatrick (2019). Tannehill threw for 20,434 yards with 123 touchdowns and 76 interceptions in his time with Miami.
Running back: Lamar Miller (2012-2015)
The Dolphins have had several running backs with one great game or year during the decade, but not a lot of sustained, multiple-year success. Miller, Ronnie Brown (2010), Ricky Williams (2010), Daniel Thomas (2011-2014), Reggie Bush (2011-2012), Knowshon Moreno (2014), Damien Williams (2014-2017), Jay Ajayi (2015-2017), Arian Foster (2016), Kenyan Drake (2016-2019), Frank Gore (2018), Kalen Ballage (2018-2019), and Mark Walton (2019) all started, appeared to be set as the starter for the Dolphins, only to have injuries sideline them, or were in a time-share type of role. Miller comes out on top because he had longevity (at least compared to the others) and in four seasons with Miami, he rushed for 2,930 yards on 638 carries with 19 touchdowns, all of which led the team over the decade. Second in rushing yards was Bush at 2,072, carries was Ajayi with 447, and touchdowns was Bush with 12.
Fullback: Lousaka Polite (2010)
Miami did not utilize the fullback position much over the decade, and when they did, they often looked to players like Charles Clay to play an H-back/tight end/fullback role rather than a true pure fullback. Polite, Patrick Cobbs (2010), Lex Hilliard (2010-2011), Jorvorskie Lane (2012), and Chandler Cox (2019) were really the fullbacks Miami carried on the roster. Hilliard worked more as a ball carrier than the others, so maybe he should have this spot, but there was something about the Lousaka Monster being in the backfield, either blocking or running, that was special. Polite started 10 gamess in 2010 - only Miller, Bush, Ajayi, Brown, Drake, and Gore started more games in the backfield over the entire decade.
Tackle: Jake Long (2010-2012)
This was not designed to be a left tackle and a right tackle filling my roster, but rather just the top two tackles - and then it ended up being a left tackle and a right tackle. Long’s career was no where near as long as had been hoped when he was selected with the first-overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, but he was a four-time Pro Bowl selection over his career, two of those coming in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He was named a First-Team All-Pro in 2010 as well. He started 42 games in the three years in Miami this decade, just behind Laremy Tunsil’s 44 games over three seasons (2016-2018), but Tunsil, while great, was ever selected to the Pro Bowl in Miami and loses a year to playing guard. Branden Albert (2014-2016) also could stake a claim to the position, starting 35 games in the span.
Guard: Richie Incognito (2010-2013)
The first guard on the list is a controversial one, both for his tenure in Miami and for his career as a whole. Considered one of the “dirtiest” players in the game for much of his career, Incognito was the main named culprit of the “Bullygate” saga in Miami and he was uncerimoniously released because of it. That does not change that, for four years, Incognito was a left guard beast for the Dolphins. In those four seasons, he started 55 games, with the majority of the missed time coming from Bullygate. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2012. After missing the entire 2014 season because of Bullygate, Incognito returned to the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and made three straight Pro Bowls from 2015 through 2017. He was again out of football for 2018 before returning with the Oakland Raiders in 2019.
Center: Mike Pouncey (2011-2017)
Pouncey has had an injury-plagued career, both in Miami and now with the Los Angeles Chargers, but he is also a four time Pro Bowl selection, with the first three of those coming with the Dolphins - thoughone of those was as the team’s right guard. Pouncey’s seven years in Miami limited the number of other players to start at the position, with most of those players filling in when injuries sidelined Pouncey. Pouncey’s 93 starts - 81 of them at center - clearly led Miami this past decade, where Daniel Kilgore’s 17 in 2018 and 2019 are the second most. Samson Satele (2014), Joe Berger (2010), Anthony Steen (2016-2017), Travis Swanson (2018), Kraig Urbik (2016), Sam Brennan (2013), and Jake Brendel (2016-2018).
Guard: John Jerry (2010-2013)
All three players named during the “Bullygate” drama land on the team, with Jerry sliding into the right guard position. He appeared in 57 games over his four seasons with the club, starting 45 times. Behind Jerry on the list of guards with starts are Jesse Davis (2017-2018), Dallas Thomas (2013-2016), Jermon Bushrod (2016-2017), Ted Larsen (2017-2018), Billy Turner (2014-2016), Daryn Colledge (2014), Anthony Steen (2016-2017), Nate Garner (2011-2014), Pat McQuistan (2010), Jamil Douglas (2015-2016), Sam Brennan (2013-2015), Jake Brendel (2016-2018), Shelley Smith (2014), Cory Procter (2010), and Josh Sitton (2018).
Tackle: Ja’Wuan James (2014-2018)
I honestly thought this would be Tunsil or Albert, but James was by-far the most consistent tackle Miami had during the decade. He started 62 games for the Dolphins over his five seasons with the team, spending time as a rookie at left tackle before settling in as the teamn’s right tackle. That is a season more worth of games than Tunsil, whose 44 games is the second highest total in the decade. Vernon Carey (2010-2011), Jonathan Martin (2012-2013), Marc Colombo (2011), Tyson Cabo (2013), Jason Fox (2014-2015), Bryant McKinnie (2013), Sam Young (2016-2018), Lyndon Murtha (2010), Zach Sterup (2017-2018), Will Yeatman (2011-2013), and Ulrick John (2015) all made appearances at tackle along with the players already discussed. You could make an argument that Martin deserves this spot for all the wrong reasons, because his allegations of bullying disrupted the offensive line for the remainder of the decade.
Tight end: Anthony Fasano (2010-2012, 2017)
The Dolphins have had several tight ends over the decade who could claim a stake to this position. Charles Clay (2011-2014) is probably the name that will get argued the most to replace Fasano, with Dion Sims (2013-2016), Jordan Cameron (2015-2016), Durham Smythe (2018-2019), Julius Thomas (2017), Mike Gesicki (2018-2019), MarQueis Gray (2016-2017), Jermon Mastrud (2010-2012), Michael Egnew (2012—2013), Clive Walford (2019), Dominique Jones (2016), Nick O’Leary (2018-2019), Will Yeatman (2011-2013), Mickey Shuler (2010), and Jake Stoneburner (2014-2015) all starting games. Fasano may have never been the “receiving” tight end or the “blocking” tight end, but he was a good tight end. He was an all-around player, and he was an important part of the team. In the four years of this decade, he caught 124 passes for 1,418 yards with 15 touchdowns.
Wide receiver: DeVante Parker (2015-2019)
Wide receiver: Jarvis Landry (2014-2017)
Wide receiver: Kenny Stills (2015-2018)
I’ll just group the wide receivers and talk about them together. Parker jumps into the top spot on this list in large part from his big 2019 season, but he has been a key part of the decade for Miami, from being a first-round pick to finally blossoming into a 1,200 yard receiver this past season. The third receiver on the list is Stills, though, to be honest, when I first wrote this, it was Brian Hartline (2010-2014) and I am not sure that switching it back does not make sense. Stills makes the list because he had the most receiving touchdowns (24) and the highest yards per reception (15.7) of the decade for Miami. Hartline, meanwhile, is second in receptions (267) and yards (3,737), but only scored nine times. Stills caught 164 passes for 2,566 yards. Brandon Marshall (2010-2011) and Mike Wallace (2013-2014) both had the potential to make it on the list, but they just did not have the longevity with the team. Richard Matthews (2012-2015), Albert Wilson (2018-2019), and Jakeem Grant (2016-2019) round out the top ten in terms of receiving yards on the year. Brandon Gibson (2013-2014), Danny Amendola (2018), Preston Williams (2019), Allen Hurns (2019), Marlon Moore (2010-2013), Isaiah Ford (2018-2019), Greg Jennings (2015), Leone Carroo (2016-2018), Marcus Thigpen (2012-2014), and Jabar Gaffney (2012) hold positions 11 to 20 in receiving yards. The slot receiver position goes to Landry, who really should be the top receiver, period, in the decade for Miami. He led the team with 400 receptions and 4,038 yards. His 10.1 yards per catch average is lower than anyone in the top 20 in receiving yards except Amendola. His 22 touchdowns are second only to Stills. While Landry is clearly the top option at the slot, he is not the only player worth considering there - with the other option also being traded to the Cleveland Browns to end his Miami tenure. Undrafted free agent Davone Bess played five years in Miami (three in the decade) and six in the league, but he was fun to watch across the middle for the Dolphins. He caught 191 passes in Miami, fourth most in the decade, for 2,135 yards, sixth most in the decade, with nine touchdowns.
Defensive end: Cameron Wake
This may have been the easiest choice on the team. Wake made his debut in 2009, but only played in 14 games with one start and 5.5 sacks in that year. From 2010 through 2018, Wake played in 132 games with 125 starts, tallying 92.5 sacks, 337 tackles, 21 forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception, and one safety. He was selected to the Pro Bowl five times with the Dolphins and was a First-Team All-Pro once. He joined the Tennessee Titans as a free agent this year, playing in nine games before landing on injured reserve.
Defensive tackle: Paul Soliai (2010-2013)
Working as both a defensive tackle and a nose tackle, Soliai was outstanding for the Dolphins. He played seven seasons in Miami, with four of them in the decade. He recorded 129 tackles with 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries during the decade. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011.
Defensive tackle: Randy Starks (2010-2014)
Starks played next to Soliai at the start of the decade, giving Miami a great one-two punch in the middle of the defensive line. Heading into the 10s, Starks had already played six seasons, four with the Titans and two with Miami. Like Soliai, he played as a defensive tackle and a nose tackle, as well as playing defensive end in a 3-4 style front. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2010 and 2012 with the Dolphins, tallying 168 tackles, 20.5 sacks, three interceptions, one forced fumble, and three fumble recoveries in 79 games played with 76 starts from 2010 through 2014. Starks beats out Ndamukong Suh (2015-2017) and Jared Odrick (2010-2014) to claim this spot.
Defensive end: Olivier Vernon (2012-2015)
The second defensive end on the list is not as clear as Wake, but Vernon gets the nod as a true defensive end. Starks and Odrick both could have a claim as a defensive end, but they also played inside at defensive tackle, which is where I considered them for this team. Vernon recorded 196 tackles with 29 sacks and three forced fumbles in 64 games played with 46 starts.
Linebacker: Koa Misi (2010-2016)
Linebacker: Kiko Alonso (2016-2018)
Linebacker: Jerome Baker (2018-2019)
Grouping the linebackers together, Misi is clearly the top of the position. During his seven-year career, Misi recorded 358 tackles, 10 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries in 84 games played with 72 starts. After Misi, there are several linebackers who could make the list, but that may be more because no one really dominated the position. Alonso takes the second spot on the list, with 355 tackles, five interceptions including a touchdown, 11 passes defensed, six forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries in 46 starts over three seasons. Baker takes the third position, despite having only been with the team over the last two years. He has 203 tackles with two interceptions including a touchdown, seven passes defensed, and two forced fumbles in 32 games with 26 starts. Other options for the list could be Rakewon McMillan (2018-2019), Karlos Dansby (2010-2012), Jelani Jenkins (2013-2016), Darnell Ellerbe (2013-2014), Philip Wheeler (2013-2014), and Kevin Burnett (2011-2012).
Cornerback: Xavien Howard (2016-2019)
Cornerback: Brent Grimes (2013-2015)
Nickel corner: Bobby McCain (2015-2019)
Howard has established himself among the elite cornerbacks of the league, leading the NFL in interceptions in 2018 and earning his first Pro Bowl appearance. The 2019 season was shortened to just five games due to injuries, causing him to not be able to make back-to-back all-star games, but Howard is worth of the top spot in the cornerbacks group. He has 140 tackles, 12 interceptions with a touchdown, 35 passes defensed, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery in 40 games played with 39 starts. Opposite Howard is Grimes, who recorded 166 tackles, 13 interceptions with two touchdowns, 43 passes defensed, and one forced fumble as quarterbacks did not learn to stay away from him. A four-time Pro Bowl player during the decade, three of those selections came in his three seasons with he Dolphins. The nickel cornerback again goes to a current player, though Miami moved him to safety this season. Bobby McCain established himself as an elite nickel cornerback, shutting down the slot. He has 208 tackles in his career, including the 25 from this year as a free safety, and he has recorded six interceptions, 25 passes defensed, one forced fumble, and four sacks. Other cornerbacks who could make the list include Sean Smith (2010-2012), Vontaze Davis (2010-2011), Correa Tankersley (2017-2019), Nolan Carroll (2010-2013), Jimmy Wilson (2011-2014), Byron Maxwell (2016-2017), and Eric Rowe (2019).
Safety: Reshad Jones (2010-2019)
Safety: Chris Clemons (2010-2013)
Jones is by far the best safety of the decade for the Dolphins, with his career spanning all ten years. He has 776 tackles, 21 interceptions with four touchdowns, 55 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and two touchdowns, and 10.5 sacks in 128 games played with 113 starts. He has played both free safety and strong safety for Miami, but excels in the run-support role as a strong safety. He seemed to slow some in 2019, but he only appeared in four games due to injuries. He is a two-time Pro Bowl selection. After Jones,m there are several options you could choose, and you would not be wrong. Clemons gets the nod, but you could also list Yeremiah Bell (2010-2011), Michael Thomas (2013-2017), T.J. McDonald (2017-2018), Isa Abdul-Quddus (2016), Louis Delmas (2014), and Nate Allen (2017). Clemons recorded 265 tackles with four interceptions, 17 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and 1.5 sacks. I originally had Bell listed over Clemons, but after comparing just the stats from in the decade, I had to move Clemons into the spot. Most of Bell’s eight years with Miami came before the decade, including his 2009 Pro Bowl selection, but in his 2010 and 2011 seasons, he recorded 208 tackles, two inteceptions, nine passes defensed, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and 3.5 sacks.
Long snapper: John Denney (2010-2018)
Okay, maybe Cameron Wake was not the easiest selection on this list. Denney played for Miami from 2005 through 2018. In just the decade, Denney appeared in 144 games, every possible game in which he was with the Dolphins. Denney missed being the only option at long snapper because Miami went with Taylor Pepper at the position this past season.
Punter: Brandon Fields (2010-2014)
Miami’s punting options for this list are Fields, Matt Darr (2015-2016), and Matt Haack (2017-2019). When one player covers half the decade and two others split the other five years, there is probably a good chance, the player who claimed the half-decade span is going to hold on to the All-Decade team title. Fields, who also played the three seasons prior to the start of the decade, kicked 377 times for Miami in the decade, with a 48.0 yards per kick average. He was selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl. Darr punted 182 times for an average of 46.0 yards per kick. Haack has 239 punts in three seasons, with a 44.7 average.
Kicker: Dan Carpenter (2010-2012)
DC$! Talk about a The Phinsider flashback. If you have been around the site long enough to remember DC$, you may be getting old. Carpenter played from 2008 through 2012 for Miami, with a 2009 Pro Bowl selection. In the 2010-2012 span, he was 81-for-102 (79.4 percent) on field goals and 77-for-77 on extra points. Behind Carpenter, Miami also had Shayne Graham (2011), Nate Kaeding (2012), Caleb Sturgis (2013-2014), Andrew Franks (2015-2016), Cody Parkey (2017), and Jason Sanders (2018-2019) at kicker.
Special Teamer: Michael Thomas (2013-2017)
Part of the reason I am listing a special teams player on this list is because I love Thomas. From his interception to end a comeback attempt by Tom Brady in 2013 after coming to Miami just days earlier - with teammates not even knowing his name yet - to his being a do everything guy for Miami, Thomas was a special player for five seasons. He played cornerback and safety whenever he was needed, but he was a force on special teams every single week. Also potentially listed here could be Walt Aikens (2014-2019) and Nolan Carroll (2010-2013).
Coach: Brian Flores (2019)
The Dolphins went 5-11 under Flores in a year in which analysts were ready to call them the worst team in NFL history. That alone should get him consideration. Then add in the other head coaches Miami had in the decade, and it becomes clear Flores should take the top spot: Tony Sparano (2010-2011, 11-18), Todd Bowles (interim 2011, 3-2-1), Joe Philbin (2012-2015, 24-28), Dan Campbell (interim 2015, 5-7), and Adam Gase (2016-2018, 23-25). The last time a non-interim head coach had a winning record for his entire Dolphins career was Dave Wannstedt from 2000 through 2004, going 42-31.