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Andy Cohen: Several Players Closing In On Impressive Milestones
By on December 26, 2013 at 5:52 am

131226_AC_AMAndy Cohen In The Morning will continue to appear on dolphins.com  Monday through Friday as long as the Dolphins are playing. The column will continue to run during the offseason, but only as events dictate.

Be sure to follow Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins

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At this point in the season, with so much on the line, it’s all about the team. Will the Dolphins make the playoffs? Will they finish with a winning record? Will they sweep the Jets? Will they bounce back from their worst showing of the season?

This is the way it should be with so much still to play for and so many goals still within reach. But if you look a little bit further, if you survey this roster from top to bottom, if you move past all those team-oriented objectives, you’ll find some impressive individual statistics that could find their way into the record books if the right things transpire Sunday against the Jets.

Some examples:

Brian Hartline needs 22 yards and Mike Wallace needs 95 yards to become the team’s first pair of receivers to reach 1,000 yards in the same season since the Marks Brothers last did it back in 1991. This is impressive stuff and shows how far the passing game has come. Imagine what Wallace’s numbers would be like if he and Ryan Tannehill were able to connect on some of those deep throws?

• Wallace needs two catches and Charles Clay needs five to join Hartline to give the Dolphins three receivers with at least 70 receptions for the first time in team history. That’s right, at no point during Dan Marino’s record-shattering seasons did three players step up the way these three have. The real surprise here is Clay, who has been so instrumental to the success of this offense and has a real chance to become one of the top receiving tight ends in the league.

• Hartline needs those 22 receiving yards to become only the fifth player in team history to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Isn’t it time that Hartline got a little more credit for his consistency and productivity? There is no doubt that Wallace’s presence has made Hartline a better player. But that shouldn’t take away from his accomplishments. Hartline has the complete package of skills and, in addition, is as good as any receiver in the league at dragging his feet along the sideline to make the toughest of catches.

Cameron Wake needs 1.5 sacks to team with Olivier Vernon to become the first Dolphins tandem in a decade to both reach 10-plus sacks. If not for a sprained knee that slowed Wake earlier in the season, he would have passed the double-digit milestone long before this. As for Vernon, he took the quantum leap that many expected this season and now has emerged as one of the top young pass rushers in the league. In fact, with 1.5 sacks against the Jets, Vernon would pass Bryan Cox for the most sacks in team history for a player in his first two seasons.

• Ryan Tannehill needs 291 yards passing against the Jets to become only the second quarterback in team history to pass for 4,000 yards in a season. On the surface, you may ask: What’s the big deal? But it is a big deal. It means Tannehill was both productive and healthy for the entire season. And it also means he has elevated his game to another level in only his second season.

• One other possible accomplishment for Tannehill: With 292 yards through the air against the Jets, he will pass Dan Marino and have the fourth most yards in his first two seasons of any quarterback in NFL history, trailing only Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton. That would put him in exclusive company.

• With one takeaway against the Jets, the Dolphins will become the only team in the NFL this season to record at least one takeaway in every game and it would be only the second time the Dolphins have done it in 35 years. Heading into this season, Coach Joe Philbin stressed takeaways. At one point, he listed it as the No. 1 objective of this team after falling so short in that category in the 2012 season. Well, the message hit home. The Dolphins are one takeaway against the Jets from this impressive feat and have already produced 18 interceptions compared to 10 a season ago.

Granted, all of these players would quickly trade any of their individual achievements for a first round date in the playoffs. That overshadows everything else. Still, these are important accomplishments that should not be overlooked.

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On Friday, AC in the AM writes about the magnitude of Sunday’s game against the Jets.

Click here for more A.C. In The A.M. Columns

 


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The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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