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The Curious Case of the Miami Dolphins 2021 captains

Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins announced their 2021 captains on Wednesday. These team selected players will be the leaders of the team and were recognized for their work ethic, their ability to coach and mentor, and the respect they have gained in the locker room. Players like starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard, All-Pro kicker Jason Sanders, and All-Pro kick returner Jakeem Grant all make sense as potential captains for the team. Starting inside linebacker Jerome Baker is clearly a leader on the defense and should be considered for a captain’s role as well.

Yet, none of those five players were named captains.

On offense, the Dolphins have tackle Jesse Davis and wide receiver Mack Hollins. On defense went with safety Jason McCourty and linebacker Elandon Roberts. And on special teams, the Dolphin have safety Clayton Fejedelem.

What an unexpected group of players to be the team’s captains for this season. When head coach Brian Flores met with the media, he was asked specifically about Hollins making the captains list. Throughout the summer, Hollins was seen as a potential bubble player, having to fight to make the roster. Now, he is a team captain. “I think that’s probably under the radar from your vantage point, but in our locker room – that’s just something no one else would know,” Flores explained. “He brings energy on a daily basis. He works hard. It’s important to him. He plays in a variety of positions. He plays in the kicking game. I think he does a lot of good things for our team. His teammates elected him captain and I think they did that for a reason.”

It seems really odd, especially when you see neither the team’s starting quarterback nor the best player on defense named a captain. The Dolphins seemed to have looked to reward players who fought their way onto the roster this year (Hollins, Fejedelem). They looked to reward a player who is entering his 13th year in the league (McCourty). They looked to reward players who were not high draft picks and have earned their way through the league (Hollis, a fourth-round pick, is the highest selected player in the group). And, they looked to continue with some of the same captains as they had last year (Davis, Roberts, Fejedelem).

Tagovailoa not being on the captains list set off an immediate reaction from fans. Clearly something is wrong when the starting quarterback is not selected a captain. Clearly the Dolphins players do not believe in their quarterback. Clearly this is a sign the coaching staff and front office still want to make a trade for Deshaun Watson. Clearly this is...

It simply is not a clear sign of anything, other than the Dolphins players picked their captains based on what they see in the locker room and wanted to recognize some people who maybe those of us outside the team do not see as the “leaders” of the club. If Tagovailoa is being snubbed with this selection, why are Howard and Baker, at least, not on the captains list? Why is Hollins a captain and not DeVante Parker, Will Fuller, or Mike Gesicki?

Do we think the offense is going to listen to Hollins in the huddle over Tagovailoa? Do we think the offense will be unable to function without a “C” on Tagovailoa’s chest? Do we think Tagovailoa will quit the communications with his receivers and linemen on the sideline that we have seen from him all summer?

Miami went a little unusual with their captains selections. Really, that seems fine.