Reshad Jones on Pro Bowl snub: It’s obviously a popularity contest

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Reshad Jones might have the best statistics of any safety in the NFL, but he’s not sure if anyone has noticed.

Jones, speaking to the media on Wednesday for the first time since being snubbed from the Pro Bowl, was stunned that he isn’t going to Honolulu as one of the league’s three best strong safeties.

Dolphins strong safety Reshad Jones (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Dolphins strong safety Reshad Jones (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

“It’s obviously a popularity contest,” he said. “They just picked the popular guy or whoever made it last year or however it goes.

“We can’t be going off play and production because my numbers double all those guys numbers.”

Well, not quite.

Jones’ 124 total tackles easily lead NFL safeties — Dallas’ Barry Church is second with 110.

Jones’ five interceptions is tied for third among safeties — Cincinnati’s Reggie Nelson leads with eight.

You can technically make the case that Jones doubles any other safety in picks returned for a touchdown — he’s the NFL’s only safety with two interceptions returned for a score.

No matter, Jones felt he should have make it — especially considering that he’s the first defensive back in more than a decade to have more than 100 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions in a season.

“The numbers that I put up, a DB hasn’t done it in a decade,” he said. “I’m going to continue to work my butt off and do everything that I can and help the Miami Dolphins win.

“I don’t know what else I have to prove or put up.”

Arizona’s Eric Berry, Seattle’s Kam Chancellor and Oakland’s Charles Woodson were the strong safeties chosen ahead of Jones.

Jones is a Pro Bowl alternate and could still make the trip to Honolulu if another safety sits out.

He initially said he won’t play as an alternate.
“It would be a cool compliment but I won’t play in the game,” he said. “I shouldn’t have to be an alternate. I don’t want to play in the game as an alternate player.”

But Jones later changed his stance on Twitter:
It was always a dream to play w/ the best, I was upset, but I thank God for teaching me humility, I WOULD play if they ask me

Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell was equally surprised that Jones didn’t make it.

“I was shocked,” Campbell said. “I thought he would get in. He’s a hell of a player. I thought he put up good numbers. He’s been consistent all year.”

Both Campbell and Jones agreed that Miami’s 5-9 record and overall defense — the Dolphins are third-worst in the NFL — hurt him.

But Jones doesn’t think it should have.

“I thought the Pro Bowl was for individual play, each player,” he said. “Like I said, my play and my numbers speak for itself.”
Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh had a lot less to say about his snub.

Suh, who this offseason signed the largest contract for a defensive player in NFL history, didn’t make the Pro Bowl for just the second time in his career.

Suh was far from dominant this year but still had solid stats.

His 52 total tackles are fourth at his position — St. Louis’ Aaron Donald is first with 64.

Suh’s 4.5 sacks are tied for ninth among defensive tackles — St. Louis’ Aaron Donald leads with 11.

Suh’s 12 stuffs this year are tied for fourth-best in the NFL — one behind Donald, J.J. Watt and Mark Barron, who lead with 13.

When asked if he was disappointed or upset at not making the Pro Bowl, Suh simply said: “Next question.”

“He was another guy that deserved to get in,” Campbell said. “I thought that he was productive all year — very productive. He was a force. And for a defensive tackle he did about all that you can do.”

Dolphins center Mike Pouncey, the team’s lone player to make the Pro Bowl, said he believes he’s having his best season yet in the NFL.

Pouncey is in his fifth season with the Dolphins and made his third consecutive Pro Bowl.

But he said he really cares about making the playoffs, something Miami hasn’t done in seven years.

“With team success comes individual success,” Pouncey said. “Obviously you can see that with the Panthers — those guys have 10 Pro Bowlers because they’re winning games.

“At the end of the day when I look back on my career, I’ll be happy about making Pro Bowls. But it means zero to me right now unless we’re in the playoffs.”

Injury updates: Pouncey, who was in a walking boot on Wednesday, did not practice after suffering a foot and ankle injury in Sunday’s loss to San Diego.

Campbell said he doesn’t foresee Pouncey playing this week against Indianapolis, but said he also didn’t expect Pouncey to return a week after after injuring his foot against Baltimore last month.

“Pouncey, he’ll surprise you,” Campbell said.

Defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (calf) and left tackle Branden Albert (knee) also did not practice. Campbell said Albert is healthy but was resting.

Right tackle Ja’Wuan James (toe), linebacker Jelani Jenkins (ankle), receiver Jarvis Landry (knee), running back Lamar Miller (quadricep) and guard Billy Turner (calf) were limited.

Dolphins’ Pouncey makes Pro Bowl; Jones and Suh snubbed

Dolphins strong safety Reshad Jones (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Dolphins strong safety Reshad Jones snubbed from Pro Bowl (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Dolphins center Mike Pouncey is making his third consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl but he won’t be joined in Honolulu by an argubaly more deserving teammate.

Reshad Jones, who statistically was having the best season of any NFL safety, was snubbed.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who in the offseason signed the largest contract for any defensive player in NFL history, didn’t get a bid for just the second time in his career.

Pouncey will be Miami’s lone representative unless Jones or Suh makes it as an alternate. He said said Tuesday night he wishes he could give his trip to Jones.

“I feel so bad for Reshad,” Pouncey said. “I felt like, and I know, that he’s the best safety in the NFL.

“For him not to make it is very disappointing. I told him when I got off the phone with him earlier that I wish I could give him my Pro Bowl nod because I feel like he’s a guy that deserves it more than any guy on our football team and any guy throughout the NFL the way he’s played.”

The players are selected by a consensus of fans, players and coaches voting. Three strong safeties made it — Arizona’s Eric Berry, Seattle’s Kam Chancellor and Oakland’s Charles Woodson.

Jones, who has been calling himself the best safety in the NFL for a couple of years, finally had the stats this year to make a case.
His 98 tackles easily lead NFL safeties — Arizona’s Deone Bucannon is second with 82.

Jones’ five interceptions is tied for third among safeties — Cincinnati’s Reggie Nelson leads with eight.

Jones is also the NFL’s only safety with two interceptions returned for a touchdown.

He had an equally strong season last year, but missed four games due to a performance-enhancing drug suspension which made him ineligible for the Pro Bowl.

He blamed the failed test on taking a supplement recommended by a former college trainer, but said he didn’t take anything illegal.

“He’s an impact player on the football field,” Pouncey said. “He’s really grown as a football player and I think he’s the best safety in the NFL. It’s just sad he didn’t make it.”

Jones, who had been publicly lobbying for a Pro Bowl bid on social media, retweeted a fan on Twitter Tuesday night who asked NFL Network “are you doing the ProBowl Snubs? @reshadjones9 is the biggest snub. Ridiculous.”

Jones also praised several former University of Georgia teammate who made it.

Suh was supposed to be the Dolphins’ game changer on defense after signing a deal worth up to $114 million over six years.

Statistically he had a case for the Pro Bowl but his numbers weren’t dominant and it didn’t help his cause that the Dolphins defense ranks third-worst in the NFL.

His 36 tackles this season are fourth at his position and his 4.5 sacks are tied for ninth among defensive tackles.

Suh’s 12 stuffs this year are tied for fourth-best in the NFL — and only behind the NFL leaders, who have 13.

Pouncey didn’t address Suh but said he believes Miami’s 5-9 record hurt Jones.

“For him not to make the Pro Bowl obviously it has to be bigger than just what you’re putting out on the football field,” Pouncey said.

Pouncey’s three consecutiev Pro Bowl bids are the most for a Dolphins interior offensive lineman since Keith Sims was selected to three consecutive following the 1993-95 seasons.

Last year he made it as an alternate despite missing four games to a hip injury and moving to guard.

He said it helped his cause this year that his twin brother Maurkice Pouncey, who plays center for the Steelers, missed the season with a broken ankle.

“It’s very exciting for me,” Pouncey said. “Now that my brother is out I felt like I had an advantage. I’ve got to play catch-up with him because he’s such a great football player.”

Andrew Luck ruled out of Sunday’s matchup with Dolphins

Indianapolis Colts' Andrew Luck watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has ruled quarterback Andrew Luck out of Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

Luck is still recovering from a lacerated kidney.

With backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in Pagano’s words “beat up from the feet up,” Charlie Whitehurst could potentially start against the Dolphins.

More to come on this developing story.

Lamar Miller wants to finish his career in Miami — and wants more carries

Lamar Miller breaks away from New York Giants outside linebacker J.T. Thomas for a touchdown (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Lamar Miller breaks away from New York Giants outside linebacker J.T. Thomas for a touchdown (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Dolphins running back Lamar Miller knows exactly how many yards he needs to reach 1,000 for the season. And he probably should be closer at this point.

“Yeah — 231,” he said.

Miller’s 769 rushing yards are tied for 13th in the league but he has just 151 carries, tied for 22nd in the league.

His 5.1 yards per carry is sixth-best among NFL running backs.

“When I’m feeling it, I feel I should get more opportunities,” he said. “But it just depends on the situation if we’re losing or if we’re up. It all depends on the situation.

“I really don’t question the play calling. I just go out there and try to make plays for this team and this organization. I really don’t think about it that much.”

Miller said the Dolphins haven’t approached him yet about a contract extension. He will be an unrestricted free agent if he doesn’t re-sign with Miami by early March.

“It would be great just to play my entire NFL football career here in my hometown,” he sad. “That would be something great for me.”

But he also said number of carries will factor in to his decision.

“It’ll be a part of my decision, yes, just trying to see how I would be used and what type offense, what type of system that I would be playing in,” he said.

He said he’s “not sure” if he could get more carries on another team.

“I really haven’t thought about all that, to be honest,” he said.

Miller was dominant in the first half of Monday night’s loss to the Giants with seven carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns.

But he had just five carries in the second half.

He said after the game that he wasn’t injured and he was merely getting his ankles taped.

Interim coach Dan Campbell said Tuesday that he saw Miller limping to the field and was trying to manage the game.

Campbell also said the team was getting in some second and third-long situations.

Miller reiterated on Wednesday that he wasn’t injured.

“I was good to go in the second half,” he said. “It was the fourth quarter, I tweaked my ankle a little bit but it wasn’t anything serious. I just got my ankles taped over. I was ready to go.

“I was feeling it pretty good Monday night.”

Dolphins weren’t who we thought they were

Giants tight end Will Tye catches a touchdown pass over Dolphins safety Michael Thomas (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Giants tight end Will Tye catches a touchdown pass over Dolphins safety Michael Thomas (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

MIAMI GARDENS — When Monday night’s exciting, frustrating game finally came to an end — and the Dolphins were officially knocked out of the playoffs with a 31-24 loss to the New York Giants — Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds blasted out of the speakers at Sun Life Stadium.

“Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.”

OK, maybe in the grand scheme of the universe, everything’s gonna be alright. Hey, it’s just football, right?

But in the Dolphins world, all — or at least a lot — is wrong.

The Dolphins have to win out just to finish at .500. They were a hot preseason pick to make the playoffs or even win the AFC East.

Instead, they feel further away from long-term success then they have at any point this decade.

“Not a good team,” safety Michael Thomas said when asked to describe the Dolphins the year. “We didn’t put it together.”

How could a team that had such high expectations in the preseason be so lousy?

In reality they were never that good to begin with, and we — the media, the fans, the former players who get paid a lot of money to make predictions — didn’t recognize all the holes.

But maybe the team knew what they had all along.

“Obviously we wanted to win, but we didn’t put those expectations on us,” Thomas said. “Outsiders put those expectations us.”

Well, if we want to be precise here, former coach Joe Philbin publicity uttered the words “Super Bowl” in the preseason. More than once.

Instead it’s the toilet bowl, even if they almost pulled off what would have been a thrilling albeit mostly meaningless win.

It didn’t happen and now it’s about reflection on what went wrong this year and what they Dolphins can do to make it right next year.

The former is a lot easier to figure out than the latter.

It’s becoming more and more clear that the Dolphins have holes everywhere.

On Monday night, it started with the defense.

The secondary might need a major overhaul with safety Reshad Jones the only proven starter still in his prime.

Top-tier receivers have had some of their best games against the Dolphins this season, including Odell Beckham Jr.’s 166 yards, two touchdown performance on Monday.

The Dolphins had no answer for Beckham or Eli Manning.

Miami’s linebackers are still mediocre.

The defensive line is the unit closest to complete on that side of the ball but there’s long-term questions on the edge.

On offense the Dolphins have a talented running back in Lamar Miller who was dominating in the first half of Monday’s game and was strangely neglected in the second half.

He’s a free agent after this season. It’ll be interesting to see how much the Dolphins value him.

There’s an offensive line that hasn’t been consistently good in over a decade.

There’s quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who for most of Monday night played one of his best games in weeks but was let down by his receivers and their dropped passes.

“We threw a lot of good passes and Ryan threw the ball pretty good,” Campbell said. “I thought Ryan made some accurate passes. We had some critical drops in this game that killed us.

Then when the game was on line, Tannehill let himself down by missing a wide open Jarvis Landry on what could have turned in to a game-tying touchdown.

For much of the game, the offense looked sharp and did its part, but the defense fell apart.

Yet when Miami’s defense is strong this season the offense usually struggles.

Then there’s the obligatory curious coaching decision, which is typical on a 5-7 team.

This time it was Miller’s second half disappearance.

He had seven carries for 69 yards (9.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in the first half. That included a 38-yard touchdown on the best run of his career.

But he had just five carries in the second half.

Miller didn’t know why he had so few carries after halftime.

He said it wasn’t an injury issue. He was seen on TV having his ankles looked at, but he said he was merely getting taped.

“I always try to stay positive and when they call my number I have to make plays,” he said.

Miller went as far as to say, “When my number’s called I have to do a better job.”

No, that’s ridiculous. He did just fine, finishing with 89 rushing yards on 7.4 yards per carry.

Backup running back Jay Ajayi had five carries for 15 yards.

They both should’ve had more rushes in a close game — especially Miller who carried the ball just 12 times, and especially after Campbell fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor to kickstart the run game.

Campbell tried to explain the lack of rushing attempts in the second half.

“We were just inefficient on first down and it really killed us,” he said. “We’d start the drive with a run and we’d get no gain or a one-yard gain. We’d then come back with an incomplete or a drop and that’s the thing — if you look at it we ran the ball pretty good. The problem is if you don’t run it well on first and second down it puts you in a bad situation.”

It doesn’t add up. Even with that explanation, how could Miller have just five second half carries after such the strong first half performance?

But it’s a moot point now because the Dolphins will officially miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. It’s been 15 years since they’ve won a postseason game.

If you’re 30, it was a half a lifetime ago since the Dolphins won a playoff game. And it’ll probably be up to a new coach to turn it around.

“I hate to be in that situation again but it seems like the same thing every year,” center Mike Pouncey said.

“When you have nothing else to play for, you have three games left and you’re not making the playoffs… we’ll see what kind of guys really like football. And we’ll find the ones that don’t and we’ll get them out of here.”

When asked why fans should have any optimism about the team even beyond this season, Pouncey still believes they’re close.

“I believe in this football team,” he said. “It’s not like that team blew us out today. We beat ourselves.”

But hey, every little thing gonna be alright.

Picking our Dolphins’ all-decade team of the 2000s

Dolphins running back Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown were two of Miami's finest during their run together. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Dolphins running back Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown were two of Miami’s finest during their run together. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

The Dolphins will celebrate their 50th season during Monday night’s Dolphins-Giants game and with a reunion of the top-50 players in team history this weekend.

The Post’s Hal Habib offers his all-time team as well as a decade-by-decade look at the best teams in Dolphins history.

(No surprise: The team’s fortunes over the decades mirror the competition to make each team, with the first decade being the toughest.)

RELATED: Click here for the All-Decade Dolphins team of the 1970s

RELATED: Click here for the All-Decade Dolphins team of the 1980s

RELATED: Click here for the All-Decade Dolphins team of the 1990s


2000s

Offense
QB: Chad Pennington, Team MVP on playoff team in ’08
RB: Ricky Williams, 1,853 yards in 2002
RB: Ronnie Brown, Three times 900-plus yards
WR: Chris Chambers, Four times over 800 yards
WR: Marty Booker, Weak field; his 747 yards in ’06 makes cut
TE: Randy McMichael, Four straight years with 500-plus yards
OT: Vernon Carey, No. 1 draft pick from UM in ’04
OT: Jake Long, First overall selection in ’08
C: Tim Ruddy, Still a stallwart on OL
G: Jamie Nails, Starter in ’02-03 at position of upheaval
G: Mark Dixon, Solid, dependable blocker

Zach Thomas was a star for the Dolphins at middle linebacker. (Photo by Scott Wiseman / The Palm Beach Post)
Zach Thomas was a star for the Dolphins at middle linebacker. (Photo by Scott Wiseman / The Palm Beach Post)

Defense
DE: Jason Taylor, 2006 NFL defensive player of year
DE: Trace Armstrong, Designated sack specialist off bench
DT: Tim Bowens, Occupied linemen to clear way for Zach
DT: Randy Starks, If he and Bowens had overlapped …
LB: Zach Thomas, Buoniconti to Offerdahl to Thomas. Not bad.
LB: Channing Crowder, Active, disruptive force at LB
LB: Derrick Rodgers, Consistent performer after Air Force stint
CB: Sam Madison, Finally, Dolphins land a Pro Bowl CB
CB: Patrick Surtain, He, Madison team’s best-ever CB tandem
S: Brock Marion, Consistently came up with the big play
S: Yeremiah Bell, Big hitter in the secondary

Specialists
K: Dan Carpenter, Dolfans wish he were still around
P: Brandon Fields, Dolfans wish he were still around, too

Miko Grimes: My career has been destroyed by a lie

Miko Grimes celebrates after her husband Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes gave her the ball he intercepted and returned for a (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Miko Grimes celebrates after her husband Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes gave her the ball he intercepted and returned for a (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

A day after the Miami state attorney’s office dropped charges against Miko Grimes, the wife of Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes spoke publicly for the first time about her arrest.

Grimes, speaking to WSVN-7, said her career has been ruined by the incident.

She was fired from her job co-hosting a WQAM weekend radio show after the arrest.

“Everything that I’ve been trying to do and my career that I’ve tried to rebuild and everything is destroyed by a lie,” she said.

Grimes was bear hugged and slammed to the ground by officers after she allegedly hurled expletives at them and refused to comply to their orders to leave a restricted area while tailgating before a Dolphins game on Sept. 27.

Officers claimed that Grimes headbutted an officer in the face. She was initially charged with a third-degree felony for assaulting an officer. The charge was later dropped resisting without violence, a misdemeanor.

But the state attorney’s office dropped the charges altogether, raising issues about possible excessive force and conflicting statements from witnesses and officers about the incident. It was unclear if or when Grimes actually headbutted an officer.

While a cell video of the incident exists, it only shows Grimes already on the ground and the alleged headbutt is not captured.

“I only watched it once and I kept it from my son for as long as I could,” she said. “When he saw it he screamed because he saw his mother on the ground screaming and yelling.

“I don’t think four police officers jumping on a 132-pound woman is necessary.”

She was arrested wearing a Brent Grimes throwback jersey.

“I was in jail in my husband’s jersey,” she said. “And the craziest part is there were so many people in jail that knew who I was. They just said they didn’t believe it, they said ‘we love you on social media. You tell it like it is.'”

Grimes is outspoken on Twitter and at times has berated fans, using vulgarity.

But those who have met her in person say she’s different away from the computer.

“It’s tough on the outside because of the way I was raised and the experiences of my life,” she said. “But on the inside I’m just really soft and nice and approachable and just caring. I don’t even know why people don’t like me.”

Grimes doesn’t want to forget the incident with Miami-Dade police.

“I feel like I was chosen for this because I’m the right person to fight this,” she said. “Because this is wrong. And I’m not going to stop. I’m fighting for people that don’t have a voice.”