In any case, some Dolphins DID make it as "runner-ups". Joey Porter and Jake Long both just fell short of making the highly esteemed list.
So which Dolphins players ARE worthy of being considered a TOP 50 player in the NFL in 2009?
- Chad Pennington
Chad Pennington might just have the biggest brain of any QB in the NFL. Unfortunately, he might also have the smallest arm. No, it's not like he has a gimpy raptor-like deformed arm. It's just that he doesn't have that arm strength that allows guys like Manning and Brady to sling the ball for 50 yards on a rope with consistency. In any case, his mental prowess and immense leadership skills helped elevate the play of the entire Miami Dolphins offense in 08, and figures to do the same in 09.
- Ronnie Brown
Did you hear? He once scored five touchdowns in a single game! And this wasn't at Polk High either (Sorry Al Bundy)... He did it against the "dynasty" New England Patriots. Ronnie Brown sprung the Wildcat on them and mauled them into submission in week 3 of the 2008 season. His unique skill set made the Wildcat a smashing success, but many people seem to forget his stellar performances prior to 2008.
In 2007, while the Dolphins were making their epic run at infamy, Ronnie Brown was tearing up the league, on way to an assured Pro Bowl berth, when unfortunately he ended up tearing up his knee instead. Now a year removed from ACL surgery, Ronnie should once again dominate the AFC East and the NFL in 2009.
- Joey Porter
In 2008, Joey Porter finally lived up to his monstrous contract by posting some monstrous stats and contributing to some key victories along the way. Joey was back in a system that suited his style of play, and it showed. Porter finished the season with 47 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, and 17.5 sacks. Some of those sacks, such as the one against San Fransisco in the waning moments of the game, helped seal the victory. His fiery attitude and leadership style also added a bit of nastiness and fierceness to the defense that was sorely lacking in previous years.
Porter looks to build upon his stellar 2008 performance and once again harass opposing QBs. Along with Jason Taylor, Porter looks to show that the poor performance by the sackmaster duo in 2007 was a fluke brought about by inept coaching. In 2009, they hope to finally fulfill the dreams and visions that many Dolfans had of J-Peezy and JT ravaging QBs across the league.
- Jake Long
"The Pillar of Defense", as I like to refer to him after Jeff Ireland's pre-draft freudian slip, was a critical element in the success of the Dolphins' 2008 offense. Jake Long might as well have been a real pillar entrenched in the ground because opposing defenders rarely were able to garner enough leverage to move him. He may have let up a sack or two, but I don't recall any. His hard work as Chad Pennington's personal bodyguard paid off in the form of a Pro Bowl selection in his first year of service. Given the amount of hard work Jake puts into learning his craft and honing his statuesque body, I don't see Jake's Pro Bowl level of play dropping any time soon.
Will 2009 bring any new Dolphins into the realm of the Top 50? What are your thoughts, Dolfans?