An influx of young talent and the maturation of some returning players has helped the Dolphins carry over last year’s late-season momentum into 2012.
The Finsiders analysts picked some of the Dolphins’ best of the first half:
Most Outstanding Offensive Player — C Mike Pouncey: The second-year Dolphins center may not only be the team’s best offensive lineman, but may be one of the best in the league. He’s a feisty player who consistently gets to the second level of an opposing defense, taking on an extra blocker many times. Pouncey’s ability to controll the middle of the line of scrimmage powered a strong Dolphins running game, particularly through the first six games. — Keith Sims
Most Outstanding Defensive Player — DT Randy Starks: When you’re talking about stopping the run — not the easiest thing to do in the league — it starts up front. Starks’ ability to put pressure on an offense’s running game and passing game, as well, has allowed the Dolphins to control the clock and put teams in long-yardage situations on a week-to-week basis. — Sam Madison
Best Rookie Performance — QB Ryan Tannehill: Through eight games, Ryan Tannehill has legitimatized the organization’s faith in drafting him eighth overall in last April’s draft. His production and leadership should make the Dolphins more than relevant this year and in years to come. — John Congemi
Most Improved Player — LB Koa Misi and CB Sean Smith: You can see a dramatic difference in their confidence and in the way that they play the game. They’re making plays. That’s making a difference in turning the Miami Dolphins defense into a top-10 unit in the league. — Troy Drayton
Best Play — Randy Starks’ INT: A play that may be overlooked by some, Starks’ third-quarter interception against the Cincinnati Bengals, which led to a Reggie Bush TD run on the ensuing possession. That gave the Dolphins an eight-point lead that they never relinquished. It was a game-changing play, and after a few tough overtime losses, it may have been a season-changer. — Troy Stradford
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.