The Miami Dolphins defense took a major step forward in 2020 when it finished sixth in the NFL in fewest points allowed and led the league in third-down conversion percentage and takeaways.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy believes that was just the beginning.
Van Noy made one of his regular appearances on the Pat McAfee Show on Friday and talked about his excitement for what the defense could do next season after having one more year of experience under head coach Brian Flores.
"I think you're gonna be excited," Van Noy said. "I think what people fail to realize we had the most rookies to play in the NFL this year without an offseason. And I don't think people realize how important an offseason is for a young team like that. ... And with that being said, I think you'll see the jumps that you probably want to see in a couple of players defensively and offensively that you're going to be like, 'OK, I can see the pieces even more put together.' And I'm going to be a happy fan.”
Van Noy had an impressive first season in Miami in 2020, finishing with 69 tackles in 14 games, along with six sacks and a career-high six passes defensed.
But Van Noy wasn't satisfied with what the team accomplished despite the 10-6 finish.
"We went 10-6, and we had a good year, I guess, but not really," he said. "I mean, we didn't have a good year by my standards because we didn't make the playoffs or get to the last game like everybody's hopes and dreams are. We have a good foundation, very happy to be a part of it. We want to get better, though.
"I think a lot of the guys realized watching the playoffs they want to be in it next year. I think you're gonna see a hungry team and how we ended the season losing to the Bills the way we did was embarrassing. And I hope it stings for everybody in the organization. And we've got to take it up a notch. I know I do. I know a lot of other players do. And I think that's what you're going to see this year, you're going to see a sense of urgency, and I hope anybody that comes down here brings that same urgency to try to get after it.”
Van Noy is hoping to earn a third Super Bowl ring with the Dolphins after getting during his time with the New England Patriots.
He said he had mixed feelings watching former teammates Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl boat parade this week.
“I mean, I love Robbie G and I love Tom but I did get a little jealous seeing them get after it without me," Van Noy said. "But honestly, Miami would have ... I'm gonna say it's gonna be a fiesta if that happens. It'd be amazing down here and just seeing it is just an added motivation. I know that's probably the feeling for a lot of guys in the league. And I'm excited to start a new season and say best of luck to everybody.”
COACHING SEARCH UPDATE
While we're still waiting for the official announcement regarding the Dolphins offensive coordinator position, there remains a vacancy with regards to a defensive line coach.
But it appears the Dolphins will travel the same path, hire from within.
Specifically, the Dolphins are expected to give the job to either assistant defensive line coach Rob Leonard or outside linebackers coach Austin Clark, according to ESPN Dolphins reporter Cameron Wolfe.
Leonard first joined the Dolphins coaching staff in 2019 as linebackers coach before being reassigned last year. Clark was hired in 2020 after being the defensive line coach at the University of Illinois.
The Dolphins have been without a defensive line coach since January 7 when the team announced it had parted ways with Marion Hobby, who later took the same position with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tua Tagovailoa is proud of his Hawaiian heritage and he's found a way to honor it while at the same time benefiting his foundation to sell leis designed specifically for Tagovailoa and his fans across the country.
The custom leis are made with either fresh florals or silk flowers in orange and blue resembling the Dolphins team colors. The TUA Leis, which will sell for $59.95 will be available in all of the South Florals retail locations throughout South Florida and online. The silk TUA Leis will also be available for purchase and shipping nationwide to all 50 states and are now available for pre-order online at: www.southflorals.com/tua.
In addition to giving back to those the nonprofit organization supports, together South Florals and The Tua Foundation are aiming to build on Tua’s tradition of using floral leis before and after football games and at media appearances to create a new tradition amongst Dolphin fans. The hope is to encourage fans to join in on wearing the leis on game days, interact in a new way, and show their support for Tua and The Foundation.
The nonprofit Tua Foundation was established earlier this month and is dedicated to the support of youth initiatives, health and wellness, and other charitable causes.
The Tua Foundation will primarily focus on charitable endeavors in South Florida, Alabama and Hawaii. In recognition of the foundation launch, three grants of $16,667 (totaling $50,000) were awarded to the Police Athletic League of North Miami; Big Oak Ranch in Springville, Alabama; and the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“It is my deepest hope that the Tua Foundation will make a meaningful impact in support of those in need.” Tagovailoa said. "Helping others is a tenet of my faith and who I am. This is a cause close to my heart.”
It certainly was an interesting picture, but we'd caution against trying to interpret a thousand words.
We're talking about the shot of Christian Wilkins and Raekwon Davis at dinner along with the much-discussed Deshaun Watson and Jacksonville Jaguars 2020 first-round pick K'Lavon Chaisson.
It should be noted the guy in the middle of the picture is Bryan Burney, who does marketing for Athletes First.
FORMER DOLPHINS NEWS
-- Center Donell Stanley, who was in training camp with the Dolphins last year, signed a futures contract with the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
-- Remember from the Dolphins' 2012 "Hard Knocks" appearance that wide receiver nicknamed "7-Eleven" because he was "always open." That was Chris Hogan and after nine years in the NFL he has signed with the Premier Lacross League. Hogan never played a regular season for the Dolphins but was part of the Super Bowl champion Patriots in 2016 and 2018.