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I still love watching that play where Ginn "escaped from Revis island"
Dolphins Report Card
For the Miami Dolphins, the 2009 season was one filled with ups and downs, untimely injuries and an appalling new fight song. Through all the surprises, disappointments and strange scoreboard cameos, this was a season marked by mediocrity for the Fins.
Offensive MVP: Ricky Williams
It’s hard to believe it has been a whole five years since Ricky Williams’ dash from NFL stardom to national punch line, and his play in 2009 was eerily reminiscent of the glory days as Miami’s dreadlocked workhorse. Five years after his initial retirement, now clean shaven, and, well, clean, he rushed for 1,121 yards and got 11 touchdowns after taking over as the Fins’ primary back in Week 10. Considering that Williams averaged just over 10 carries through Miami’s first nine games and still managed to finish the season with more rushing yards than names such as Frank Gore, DeAngelo Williams, Rashard Mendenhall, and Marion Barber, his season looks all that much more impressive. Williams was an integral part of Miami’s success down the stretch, rushing for more than 100 yards in Weeks 10, 11, 12 and 14. Most importantly, Williams' 2009 campaign may have been enough to secure his legacy with the Dolphins as one of greatness.
Defensive MVP: Yeremiah Bell
If Channing Crowder and Joey Porter played half as well as their mouths ran this season, one of them would have taken the Defensive MVP title. Instead, it was safety Yeremiah Bell who emerged as one of the lone bright spots in a Miami defense that was burned virtually every week. After a stellar 2008 season, Bell earned a contract extension that did not push him into complacency. Bell totaled 114 tackles and three interceptions, a promising improvement after making zero interceptions in 2008. Bell’s play was overshadowed by the focus on rookie cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, but his season was good enough to earn him his first career Pro Bowl selection.
Rookie of the Year: Brian Hartline
Hartline’s numbers were by no means spectacular - 31 catches, 506 yards and three touchdowns - but his contributions on special teams and clutch play propelled him above the rest of the Fins' rookie class. Hartline’s two-touchdown performance in Week 13 against the Patriots and his big games in Week 7 against the Saints and Week 15 against the Titans solidified his position as one of Miami’s most reliable offensive targets. Hartline seems to fit the bill for a Bill Parcells player. He doesn’t have super speed (he ran a 4.58 at last year’s combine), and he stands at a modest 6-foot-1, but like many Parcells picks before him, he gets the job done on a regular basis.
Goat of the Year: Ted Ginn, Jr.
Ted Ginn, Jr. had 38 catches, 454 yards and one touchdown -- a big-time regression from 2008, when he caught 56 balls for 790 yards and finished with four total touchdowns (two receiving, two rushing). Quarterback Chad Henne’s cannon arm looked like it promised to be the catalyst for a break-out season for Ginn, but that never came to fruition, and Henne, along with the entire fan base of the NFL, appeared to learn that Ginn hates contact as much as models hate food. Even Ginn’s best game of the season, a heart-breaking Week 2 loss to the Colts, was overshadowed by his dropped touchdown pass late in the game. Set aside Ginn’s fluky two-returns-for-TD performance in Week 8 against the Jets, Ginn was nothing more than a run-of-the-mill return man, averaging roughly 21 yards per return. Ginn’s future is filled with uncertainty, and his time in Miami may very well be over.
Surprise of the Year: Randy Starks
A virtual non-factor in 2008, Starks busted onto the scene in 2009, totaling 56 tackles and finishing second on the team with seven sacks. Starks’ season was highlighted by a stretch of 4 1/2 sacks in 5 games and even a Pro Bowl endorsement by coach Tony Sparano. Although he never had more than one sack in a game, it was Starks’ consistency that allowed him to post such a great 2009 season and likely solidify a starting spot for 2010.
Play of the Year: Ted Ginn Jr.’s Escape from Revis Island
Ironically enough, the Dolphins’ Goat of the Year made the team’s Play of the Year. With the stage set on Monday night and the Dolphin’s trailing midway through the fourth quarter to the New York Jets, Ginn did what some of the NFL’s best failed to do: escape from Revis Island. Henne tossed a 53-yard beauty to Ginn, who capped off the Michigan-to-Ohio State connection by sprinting into the end zone. The play ignited what might have been the most electric atmosphere that Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphin/Land Shark/Sun Life -- wait, let’s just call it “The Stadium” -- has even seen. “The Stadium” was rocking, enough so to drown out the horrifying sounds of the new, so-called fight song, and therefore adding to the greatness of the play and imprinting a lasting image for the 2009 season.