COMING UP SHORT

The Dolphins' failure to make the playoffs was a major letdown for the team, but it also might have ended up hurting Jason Taylor and Ricky Williams when it came time for individual honors.

Neither of the Dolphins' top two players in 2002 earned any votes for NFL MVP honors, which went to Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon.

And Taylor, who was seen as a leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year had to settle for a second-place finish behind winner Derrick Brooks, the Pro Bowl linebacker for the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Brooks earned 36 of the 48 votes by writers and broadcasters, with Taylor finishing with 11 votes. Eagles safety Brian Dawkins got the other vote.

In leading the top-ranked defense in the league, Brooks finished with four interceptions, and scored four touchdowns — three on interception and another on a fumble.

Taylor merely led the league with 18.5 sacks and also forced seven fumbles.

You can argue that Brooks deserved the award, but Taylor should have finished a lot closer in the balloting.

"It would have been great to win the award myself, but individual accomplishments mean a lot more when your team achieves the same kind of success," Taylor said. "I'm really more disappointed that we didn't make the playoffs than anything else. Personally, I enjoyed having one of my best seasons, but I still feel like I could have made more plays."

As for Williams, he wound up fourth in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year voting behind Kansas City RB Priest Holmes, Colts WR Marvin Harrison and Gannon.

Williams received three votes, far behind Holmes' total of 20.5 votes.


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