Zach Thomas was not among the five modern-era finalists announced to be part of the 2021 Class for Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Xavien Howard and Brian Flores each finished third in the voting for league-wide awards.
Flores received six of the 50 votes for Coach of the Year to finish behind winner Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns (25 votes) and Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills (7).
While we'll never know for sure, we can't help but think that what happened in Week 17 ultimately decided this award and the difference was Cleveland making the playoffs and the Dolphins coming up short.
That's not entirely fair on two levels, from this standpoint, because Cleveland faced in Week 17 a Pittsburgh team that rested several key starters, including Ben Roethsliberger and NFL Defensive Player of the Year runner-up T.J. Watt, while the Dolphins faced a Buffalo team that used all its front-line players until the game was out of reach.
It also could be argued that Cleveland has a better roster than the Dolphins, therefore Flores getting Miami to 10-6 might have been more impressive than Stefanski getting the Browns to 11-5.
In the Defensive Player of the Year category, Howard came in a distant third with three votes, while the Rams’ Aaron Donald got 27 to win the award for a third time and Watt got 20.
Howard had a strong case because he was the first NFL player to reach 10 picks in a season since 2007, but Donald and Watt both played for top three defenses in terms of yards allowed and points allowed while the Dolphins were sixth in points allowed and 20th in yards allowed.
Here’s another key factor at play: It’s very rare for a cornerback to win that award. Yes, Stephon Gilmore won it in 2019, but new Hall of Famer Charles Woodson is the only other cornerback since 2004 who also won.
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Flowers latest 2020 FA out the door
The trade of guard Ereck Flowers to the Washington Football Team the day before the start of the 2021 NFL draft was interesting in a couple of ways.
Time to step up
The Dolphins added playmakers in the 2021 draft, but their contributions likely won’t be as important as those from the Classes of 2019 and 2020
Grier, Flores discuss every aspect of draft
Here were the highlights of General Manager Chris Grier and Head Coach Brian Flores’ video conference calls after each day of the 2021 NFL draft.
Rookie free agents, numbers, trades
It was a vastly smaller undrafted free agent class the Dolphins brought to their post-draft rookie minicamp this year.
Breaking down the Bobby McCain move
Former fifth-round pick Bobby McCain did a commendable job for Miami in 2020, as the former cornerback had transitioned to safety over the last two seasons. McCain’s play may never have been described as “elite,” but his leadership ability was.
2021 Draft Profiles: Jevon Holland
With the second-round pick that came from the Houston Texans as a result of the 2019 trade involving tackle Laremy Tunsil, the Dolphins selected Oregon safety Jevon Holland.
2021 Draft Profiles: Liam Eichenberg
After trading a 2022 third-round pick to move up from 50th to 42nd in the second round, the Dolphins selected Notre Dame offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg.
2021 Draft Profiles: Jaelan Phillips
The Dolphins used their own first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft on University of Miami edge defender Jaelan Phillips.
2021 Draft Profiles: Jaylen Waddle
The Dolphins used the sixth overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft, which they obtained from the Philadelphia Eagles, on University of Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
2021 Draft Profiles: Hunter Long
With their third-round pick, the 81st overall, the Dolphins selected Boston College tight end Hunter Long.
FOR TELEVISION, NFL DEAL IS LIKELY A MATTER OF SURVIVAL
The $113 billion deal to telecast NFL games through 2033 is head-swimmingly large — until you consider that the very survival of broadcast networks as we know them may depend upon it.
JC Deep Dive: The new coaching staff
Bringing Shanahan magic to Florham Park
The Long Game: Covid Changed The Way We Play, Watch, Cheer
It’s the predictable rhythm of sports that draws us in.
Aaron & Shailene: WEDDING & A BABY!
The couple are on the fast track when it comes to their future.
THE RIGHT STUFF?
Keeping two important starters is a priority as the right side of the O-line hits free agency
GUARDS/CENTERS: TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
Brandon Scherff, Washington 6-5 • 315 pounds • 29 years old The fifth pick of the 2015 draft, Scherff certainly lived up to the hype. He’s got everything teams want in a guard — size, grit, great technique, power and the mobility to get to the second level. His massive hands (11 inches) are a huge asset for a guard to grab and clutch. He made the Pro Bowl four of his first five NFL seasons. $$$$$
SHOULD THEY STAY OR GO?
49ers have long list of decisions to make with their own FAs
TOP 10 Most illustrious assistants
When Robert Saleh signed a five-year contract with the New York Jets, Jan. 14, he became the 35th former San Francisco assistant to use his time on the 49ers’ staff as a springboard to a future position as an NFL head coach. Several of those men made a big enough impact during their time with the team — and then later leading other teams, with 10 taking their new teams to the Super Bowl — to be included on this list of the Most Illustrious Assistant Coaches in 49ers history.
GUARDS/CENTERS TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
GUARDS/CENTERS TOP AVAILABLE FREE AGENTS
As if the 49ers didn’t already lose enough during their tortured 2020 season.