It was a somewhat disappointing 7-9 season for the Miami Dolphins, but there were some strong performances and noteworthy accomplishments. Dolphins writers Omar Kelly and Chris Perkins take a glance at a few superlatives from the 2012 season. MOST VALUABLE PLAYERPerkins: DE Cameron Wake. His career-best 15 sacks and relentless effort set a standard for the team all season. No one was better. No one was close.Kelly: DE Cameron Wake. He’s one of the few impact players on the team, and the only defender opposing coordinators had to game plan for. Reggie Bush gets my vote for runner up because he led the team with eight touchdowns.ROOKIE OF THE YEARPerkins: QB Ryan Tannehill. It’s a surprisingly close race with PR/KOR Marcus Thigpen and RT-LT Jonathan Martin. But Tannehill (12 TDs, 13 INTs) shouldered much more pressure and did it relatively well. Kelly: QB Ryan Tannehill. The pickings are slim, and the first-round pick is the winner by default. But the truth is there are probably a dozen other rookies that had better seasons than Tannehill. And I’m not just talking about the three other starting quarterbacks.MOST IMPROVEDPerkins: S Reshad Jones. Give consideration to RG John Jerry, too. But Jones had four interceptions and two recovered fumbles, which means he had six of the Dolphins’ 16 takeaways. No one else had more than three.Kelly: WR Brian Hartline. Hartline produced the eighth 1,000-yard season in Dolphins history and now owns the franchise’s single game record for receiving yards. This fourth-round pick showed what was possible (74 receptions for 1,083 and one touchdown) if he had more opportunities in the past.COACH OF THE YEARPerkins: OL coach Jim Turner. Last season the offensive line tied a franchise record by surrendering 52 sacks, third-most in the NFL. This season they only surrendered 37 sacks, tied for 14th. And they did it, for the most part, with two new starters – RG John Jerry and RT Jonathan Martin. It could be three new starters if you count late-season replacement RT Nate Garner.Kelly: DL coach Kacy Rodgers. The only reliable unit on the entire team was the defensive line, which battled through numerous injuries, and even the death of Randy Starks’ mother this season. While the 4.0 yards per carry average allowed is a dip from previous years (3.7 in 2011) the Dolphins’ pass rushing improved slightly (from 41 to 42).BEST PLAY OF THE YEARPerkins: S Reshad Jones’ key interception with 1:22 left to preserve an impressive 17-13 road win at Cincinnati. Bush’s dynamic 23-yard touchdown run against Oakland showed off some of his best moves. And Jones’ interception against New England at Sun Life Stadium was pretty sweet, too. So was K Dan Carpenter’s game-winning 43-yard field goal as time expired for the Seattle victory.Kelly: Only one pass means anything in 2012 because it provides the only evidence of “IT” we have for Tannehill. It was first-and-15 from the Miami 39-yard line with 46 seconds left in the game. Tannehill waited for WR Davone Bess to get behind a linebacker and pinpointed a 25-yard pass in the middle of the field that put the Dolphins in position to kick the game-winning field goal against Seattle. It was the only time all season Tannehill pulled off a fourth-quarter victory.BEST SINGLE-GAME PERFORMANCEPerkins: WR Brian Hartline’s 253 receiving yards in the 24-21 overtime road loss at Arizona. Cam Wake’s 4.5-sack performance in that same game was strong, too. Bush (172 yards rushing vs. Oakland), Tannehill (22-for-28 passing, 220 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs vs. Jacksonville), and DE Olivier Vernon (blocked FG, recovered blocked punt for TD vs. NY Jets) earn honorable mention.Kelly: Hartline’s record-setting game against Arizona, and Wake’s 4.5 sacks against the Cardinals gets crossed off my list because they both happened in a loss. Only winning counts in my world. Considering Vernon single-handedly changed the second Jets game with his special teams performance I’ve got to give the rookie this honor.BEST VICTORY OF THE YEARPerkins: The 24-21 win against Seattle that snapped a three-game losing streak. It included a late-game drive by Tannehill that set up the 43-yard game-winning FG by Carpenter against a team that won 11 games.Kelly: The 17-13 road win over the Bengals probably has more value because it was against a playoff team, but there’s nothing better than shutting up the load mouth New York Jets 30-9 on the road, beating Rex Ryan’s smack talking team on the field then acting like it was no big deal afterwards.
Omar Kelly and Chris PerkinsSouth Florida Sun Sentinel
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