Guess I’m just excited for the upcoming season.
I’d have to say the all-time Dolphins team stacks up pretty well against anyone’s all time team – if you assume each of these players is in his prime. Passing, pass rushing, and the defensive backfield are the strengths here, and they are strong enough to keep this team against any other NFL all-time team.
Quarterback – Dan Marino
No comment necessary. Could you imagine if he played during this generation?
Running Back – Ricky Williams
2002 was a very special year for Ricky. 1853 yards with 16 TDs and a 4.8 average per carry. Probably the best back in the NFL that year. ’03 was good too and Ricky had his moments during his comeback, especially in ’09. Besides, who else are you gonna put here? Mercury Morris is the only real option. After him you’ve got . . . uhhh . . . Lamar Smith? Karim Abdul-Jabbar? Jim Kiick? Mark Higgs? It’s gotta be Ricky.
Fullback – Larry Csonka
No question here either. The Fin’s all-time leading rusher.
Okay so I’m combining this position because if you’re QB is going to be Marino, who better to have at wideout but the Marks Brothers? Duper was a 3-time Pro Bowler who specialized in the deep routes and rocked the two bar facemask long after it was outdated. Clayton and Marino hooked up 79 times for TDs which held the record until Montana and Rice broke it. He certainly had some great years, 5 of them being worthy of the Pro Bowl.
- Honorable mention: If you’re not a Marks Brothers homer like I am, you may choose O.J. McDuffie – the third down specialist, or über-athlete Nat Moore. I’d also probably get a lot of heat from older Dolphins fans if I didn’t mention Paul Warfield. So there.
Tight End – Jim Jensen
This was a tough one. Keith Jackson was a great target over the middle, only played 3 years but had as many TDs as Randy McMichael had in his 5 year stint. But Jensen, whose nickname “Crash” is one of the best NFL nicknames ever, was maybe the most unique player in Dolphins history. A QB in college, Jensen lined up for Miami at TE, QB, RB, FB, and played in a variety of special teams situations. Jensen was a throwback. A complete football player. There are some great articles about him, if you’re interested. Simply put, you want this guy on your team.
Webb was a mainstay at LT, protecting Marino’s back and making it to 7 consecutive Pro Bowls. Jake Long, #1 overall draft pick in 2008, got into 4 straight Pro Bowls before joining St. Louis.
Sims made 3 straight Pro Bowls from 1993-1995 and joined Webb on the left side of the Dolphins line in the early 90s to watch Marino’s blind side. Little is a Hall of Famer . . . enough said.
Center – Dwight Stephenson
Another Hall of Fame lineman and one of the best centers ever.
Bowens was a beast. Despite being 11th on the Dolphins in career sacks, Bowens did a lot that didn’t show up on the stat sheet – mainly clogging the middle of the line for his teammates. Fernandez finished his career with 35 unofficial sacks (he played before sacks were officially recorded), and was a major player in the “No-Name Defense” of the 70s Dolphins.
Taylor is an easy one – Most fumble recoveries for TDs in NFL history and 6th on the all-time sacks list. The other DE is troublesome because nobody really stands out. Maybe my 1990s-2000s bias is showing, but I’m going with Trace Armstrong, who racked up 56.5 sacks and 16 forced fumbles over 6 years with the team, and was versatile enough to play inside at times as well.
I realize Cox played inside a lot, but he was dangerous coming off the edge, as evidenced by his 14 sacks in 1992. Cox is also 3rd on the team in career solo tackles. And who could forget him flipping the double birds before a game in Buffalo?
Inside Linebacker – Zach Thomas
Top tackler in team history and a guy who should be in the Hall of Fame – Thomas was the rock of our defense for years. Never the best athlete, he played the game with reckless abandon and a high football IQ. Thomas finished his career with 17 INTs – a great number for an ILB. Sorry to leave off Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti, but Thomas gets the edge in my opinion.
Tough to leave off Troy Vincent, who was stellar in his 3 seasons here, but Madison and Surtain were fearsome, physical corners who were thought of as the best tandem in the league when they played together. They each earned 3 Pro Bowl appearances, and finished 3rd and 5th on the Dolphins career interceptions list. These guys were also solid tacklers who never shied away from contact.
Oliver is my 2nd favorite Dolphins ever (behind Marino). He was a 225 lb heavy hitting free safety who made receivers pay when they entered his territory. He had plenty of ball hawking skill too, with 27 career INTs. The 1992 playoff game in Buffalo when he returned an INT 103 yards is one of my favorite Dolphins plays ever.
And check out the celebration dance:
It doesn’t hut that he was a Gator, too. Jake Scott was the original #13 for the Dolphins, a 5 time Pro Bowler who finished his career with an impressive 49 INTs. He was also, by the way, MVP of the 1972 Super Bowl to cap off the perfect season.
- Honorable Mention: Jarvis Williams, Oliver’s teammate and safety partner with the Gators and then for 5 years with the Dolphins; Dick Anderson, Scott’s safety partner and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1973. Brock Marion also went to 3 Pro Bowls for Miami.
Kicker – Pete Stoyanovich
Loved the way Stoyanovich hit those deep FGs. Olindo Mare, the other candidate, did most of his damage from close range so I give Stoyo the edge.
Punter – Reggie Roby
In his day, nobody could send it flying like Reggie Roby. A 3 time Pro Bowler, Roby had the hang time before it was cool.