By Javier Garcia, Sports Editor
It’s about that time again, not that I intend to make this an annual thing, but reflecting on this past season with the Dolphins, I feel the need to say that some of the shameful expectations I cast last year have been far exceeded.
I’m sure you’ve all heard enough about COVID-19 but I just want to state it now for those who might not be as-informed of the state of the league this year, the Dolphins, like many other teams, faced roster deficits with players like receiver Albert Wilson choosing to opt-out of the season this year in the wake of the pandemic.
Way before the very first game of this season was played, in the first round of the 2020 draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa with their first pick of the first round, and fifth pick overall. Tagovailoa came to the team as the franchise rookie quarterback, not only to back up league veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, but also to be his protege, while recovering from the previous season’s serious hip injury sustained in college.
The return of many players who had been injured, some of them looking hotter than ever moving into this year’s off-season. Players like Mike Gesicki, Salvon Ahmed and Devante Parker, started to solidify the skill positions: (respectively) tight end, running back and wide receiver..
After a 3-3 start, Tagovailoa was named starter following his very first shot at pro field time the week prior, throwing two passes to ice a win over the Jets. Why throw in the young quarterback now and risk injury when Fitzpatrick was still somewhat serviceable? Well, with the number-one defense in the league and the offense finding its gears, the young southpaw brought the team to a final record of 10-6.
Lots of promise was shown, and though they did not make it to the playoffs, they sure did compete like a team that could manage, with a loss as small as 33-27 against Kansas City and causing FOUR turnovers against reigning Super Bowl champ Patrick Mahomes (who is favored to repeat in two weeks at Super Bowl LV).
In the end, the team could have clinched its spot with a win over the division-winner Buffalo Bills in the last game. Although they did not clinch it, I look back at this year with much contentment, and even more anticipation for what follows as bonds grow more potent.