DOLPHINS AWARDS

It's been a little over three weeks since the Dolphins' 2002 season ended in disappointment with the 27-24 overtime loss at New England. But no matter how bad things ended up, there were still some positive developments in the 2002 season.

So here's a look at the dolphindigest.com 2002 awards.

MVP — Got to be Ricky Williams. After all, he did become the first player in franchise history to lead the league in rushing as he proved to be everything the Dolphins could have hoped for, and more.

DEFENSIVE MVP — Another no-brainer. This goes to Jason Taylor, who led the NFL in sacks and wound up finishing second to Tampa Bay LB Derrick Brooks in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year balloting.

MOST UNDERRATED — Sam Madison got a lot of grief because he gave up a few plays this season. But you know what? He was still better than a lot of the starting cornerbacks in the league.

MOST OVERRATED — How did Brock Marion get selected to the Pro Bowl? Yes, he did make a few big plays, but he also gave up some big plays as well. The truth is he had an OK season, but certainly nothing Pro Bowl-caliber.

BIGGEST SURPRISE — It's a close call between the performance of rookie tight end Randy McMichael and the emergence of defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, but McMichael faded down the stretch while Ogunleye remained pretty solid all the way through. So give the nod to Wale.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT — The performance of backup Ray Lucas after he took over at quarterback for an injured Jay Fiedler.

BEST VICTORY — Has to be the Sunday night victory at Denver. On the road. Against a team that was playing as well as any in the league. It was huge.

WORST LOSS — The obvious choice would be the season finale at New England, but we'll instead choose the home loss to Buffalo because of how it came about.

Finally, we end with the positional awards:

Quarterbacks — Jay Fiedler, obviously

Running backs — Williams, of course, although fullback Rob Konrad had a good year

Wide receivers — No one had a good year at this position, but we'll give the nod to Chris Chambers

Tight ends — Has to be McMichael

Offensive line — Jamie Nails was the guy who stood out the most before he was injured, but we'll give it to right tackle Todd Wade, who probably was the most consistent OL on the team.

Defensive line — Jason Taylor

Linebackers — Zach Thomas, although we don't think he deserves to win All-Pro honors because he simply didn't make enough big plays to go along with his high number of tackles.

Defensive backs — Has to be Patrick Surtain, who is now clearly established as one of the top cornerbacks in the league.

Special teams — Neither kicker Olindo Mare or punter Mark Royals had great years, and the return units again weren't spectacular, so we'll split the award between coverage guys Tommy Hendricks, Scott McGarrahan and Trent Gamble.


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