Before I was graciously gifted the opportunity to regale the unwashed masses with a weekly load of blatherskite, my plan was simple: write an annual article that predicted five things about the upcoming Miami Dolphins season.
In case you don’t have it tattooed on your chest, here’s the original article. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and see just how pathetically wrong I was (hint: fairly pathetic).
Tua Tagovailoa Will Start All 17 Games
This one didn’t make it very far. Thanks to a blindside haymaker from Buffalo’s A.J. Epenesa (really thanks to Jesse Davis taking a mid-game nap, as became a mini tradition), Tua made it exactly one start before being sidelined with cracked ribs. That specific injury shouldn’t add to his ‘injury proneness’ label given that the world’s beefiest beefcake’s ribs still snap when hit with a sledgehammer, but it would have been really nice to see a full season to help evaluate Tua’s future in Miami. He ended up starting 13 games in 2021, winning 8 of them (though he was in for only 4 pass attempts in Week 2, so I’ll give him 8/12 cause I’m a nice guy). Current reports are that he’s the Dolphin’s starter for 2022, so I fully expect him to put in a complete season’s worth of starts for Brian Flores’ Houston Texans in the fall.
Liam Eichenberg Will Start on the Offensive Line in 2021
I had a weirdly hard time finding a game log list of Miami’s offensive line starters, but if my memory serves (it serves tacos at best, FWIW), Eich began the year starting at LG against the *Patriots and only failed to start in Week 2 against Buffalo (okay; I managed to find that one). He logged 16 starts out of 17 games, eventually moving to LT and staying there for the remainder of the season. I like Eich. PFF doesn’t, rating him second worst in the league with a 50.7 grade, but what do they know? Getting an experienced LG to his right instead of the often struggling Austin Jackson may help his development. Or maybe he and Jackson grow together into the most dominant left side tandem in all of football. Maybe.
Andrew Van Ginkel Will Lead the Dolphins in Sacks
Oh AVG. My heart. How it breaks for thee. My sleeper sack sniper finished 2021 with a lowly 4 sacks, good for 6th on the team, behind Emmanuel Ogbah (9), rookie Jaelan Phillips (8.5), Jerome Baker (5.5), Brandon Jones (5), and Christian Wilkins (4.5). I have no one to blame here. I went for broke and found it. With a coaching change incoming, it’s pretty hard to gauge how different the defense will look and how effectively the linebacker and defensive backs will be used in pass rush situations going forward. Even if the new staff puts the Ginkster in a position that doesn’t favor his play style, he’ll always be able to land a sweet Head and Shoulders endorsement deal.
The Dolphins Will Have Three Pro Bowlers
Let’s start by admitting that the Pro Bowl is a popularity contest, first and foremost, and the Dolphins aren’t the most popular team from a national perspective. That puts our players behind the 8-ball when it comes to Pro Bowl selections moreso than a lot of other guys. That being said, Xavien Howard managed to make the 2021 team for the AFC, albeit fourth out of four cornerbacks, as the Dolphins’ sole selection. Jakeem Grant also made it again as a return specialist but, alas, he plays for the Bears now. Meanwhile, Jason Sanders practically imploded in 2021, so he missed a repeat by a mile. Does Jaylen Waddle deserve a spot? Probably. He set the rookie record for receptions in a season with 104 catches (amassing 1,015 yards and 6 TDs in the process). Can we find a third? No one else on the offense really stood out. How about Waddle’s defensive rookie counterpart Jevon Holland? Possibly. He gathered 69 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, 10 passes defended, and 2 INTs. Incredible for a rookie, but maybe not as outstanding as some veteran safeties. Oh, I know: Christian Wilkins. Wilkins lived up to his 1st round pedigree by netting 89 total tackles (an NFL single season record for Defensive Tackles), 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 4 passes defended, 1 INT, and 1 forced fumble. I’d certainly give him the nod over both Chris Jones (DT Kansas City) and DeForest Buckner (DT Indianapolis). Too bad my nodding doesn’t affect the outcome much. Even though I missed on this prediction, I feel good about the fact that Miami could have justifiably sent three guys to the Pro Bowl, even though no one cares about it, even a little bit.
The Dolphins Will Make the Playoffs
Nothing like ending on a high note. We all know the story. We were all here. We all saw it. Miami finished half a game away from a playoff berth. Enough has been said. Let’s just look ahead to the offseason, shall we?
Close (not really), but no cigar.
Better luck next year, me.
What are your predictions for the Miami Dolphins’ 2021 offseason? How about the coaching search? How about in which century the Fins win their next Superb Owl? I hear they’re making great strides in the search for eternal life. That oughtta help.