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Another Miami Dolphins season has come and gone, and it once again has left fans with a bad taste in their mouths.
For the seventh straight year and thirteenth time in fourteen seasons the Dolphins are not participating in the NFL Playoffs.
A season that started with such promise and optimism quickly spiraled out of control, with the team firing head coach Joe Philbin following a 1-3 start.
There was a glimmer of hope when interim head coach Dan Campbell won his first two games at the helm, but that faded as well when Miami went on to lose four of its next five games.
Ultimately the Dolphins ended the season in last place in the AFC East with a 6-10 record, its worse finish in five years.
While Miami’s 2015 campaign was largely disappointing, there were still some positive things to take away from it. In no particular order, here they are:
Jarvis Landry’s Record Breaking Season
The Dolphins sophomore receiver didn’t only break a team receiving record, but an NFL record to boot. Landry finished the season with 110 receptions, making him the first Dolphins wideout to crack the 100-catch mark. He also became just the ninth Miami receiver to record at least 1,000 yards in a single season, finishing with 1,157. He was named a co-MVP of the Dolphins.
The NFL record he broke was for most receptions by a player in his first two seasons in the league. The record was previously held by the New Orleans Saints Marques Colston, who caught 168 passes in 2006 and 2007. Landry finished his second year with a total of 195 receptions, edging out his former LSU teammate Odell Beckham Jr. who came down with 187 during the same time span.
Reshad Jones Emerges As One Of League’s Top Safties
Along with Landry, Jones was the Dolphins other co-MVP. He has been ascending for the past several years but appeared to take a huge step forward in 2015. Jones led Miami in tackles with 106 and in interceptions with five, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
Despite being the only player in the NFL with 100 or more tackles and 5 or more interceptions, Jones was not selected for the Pro Bowl. He may still end up playing as he was named an alternate, but the snub has left many people scratching their heads.
Rishard Matthews Has A Breakout Season
Back in the spring it didn’t look like Matthews had much of a future with the Dolphins. After trading for Kenny Stills, signing Greg Jennings and drafting DeVante Parker in the first round, it appeared Miami didn’t think much of its former seventh round pick. Matthews asked to be traded but the Dolphins chose not to accommodate.
Matthews ended up earning a starting job during training camp and ended up the team’s second-leading receiver despite his season ending with a rib injury during Week 12. The pending free agent picked a great time to have a career year, but his future in Miami is an uncertain as it was almost a year ago.
Branden Albert Recovers From Severe Knee Injury To Have Strong Season
When the Dolphins entered training camp there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the status of left tackle Branden Albert, who suffered a major knee injury during the 2014 season. Albert tore both his ACL and MCL, which requires a surgery that comes with a long and difficult rehab program.
Not only did Albert recover in time to start for the Dolphins during their Week 1 game in Washington, he played a very strong season and remained healthy for the most part. Miami has three very good players on its offensive line in Albert, Ja’Wuan James and Mike Pouncey. The team needs to address its guard situation during the offseason.
Cameron Wake Was On His Way To Another Pro Bowl Season Before Getting Injured
Wake’s 2015 season got off to a slow start but things quickly got on track, and ended just as fast. Through the first four games of the season Wake had recorded a single tackle as questions about the way former Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle was utilizing his talent continued to arise.
Coyle was fired after four games and Wake quickly caught fire thereafter. In less than three games he picked up eight tackles, seven of which were quarterback sacks. Then just like that he suffered a torn Achilles and his promising season was over. Wake’s future in Miami is uncertain as the team will likely as him to take a pay cut from the $9.8 million he is currently due. The team would save $8.4 million by releasing him. Wake has not ruled out taking less money to stay with the Dolphins.
Rookie Receiver DeVante Parker Has A Bright Future
It took some time for him to find his footing but the Dolphins rookie wideout eventually started showing why he was worth a first round pick. Parker suffered a foot injury during the summer and missed almost all of training camp, which really set him back.
It wasn’t until Week 12 that Parker became a regular on the field for Miami, but even then his role was somewhat limited. He showed his big play ability and ended up with 22 receptions for 445 yards and three touchdowns during the season’s final six games.
Dolphins Find A Gem In Undrafted Rookie Punter Matt Darr
Many questioned the Dolphins decision to cut Pro Bowl punter Brandon Fields and go into the season with undrafted rookie Matt Darr. Those questions quickly faded away as Darr became one of the most pleasant surprises for the Dolphins in recent memory.
Darr was the NFL’s third ranked punter at seasons end with an impressive average of 47.6 yards per kick. He showed a knack for landing punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard-line, finishing eighth in the league by doing it 30 times.