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Miami Dolphins team MVP? Neither Tannehill nor Suh [Updated]

The last week of the season means the Dolphins are once again considering things that all great teams consider toward the end of the NFL regular season. No, not the playoffs.

Today the team will announce its Most Valuable Player Award. And the local media will announce its annual Good Guy Award, which goes to the player (or coach) that best cooperated with the local media in 2015.

The Good Guy recipient is ....

Miss Colombia.

Yeah, a little Steve Harvey humor, there.

The winner is center Mike Pouncey.

The MVP award is interesting.

My guess is the leading candidates are safety Reshad Jones, who had his best NFL season in 2015, receiver Jarvis Landry, who set new team receiving milestones, and punter Matt Darr, who was perhaps the most consistent player on the roster.

I voted for Jones.

The award was shared by Jones and Landry in a co-winner situation.

But here is what is interesting. I asked my Twitter (@ArmandoSalguero) followers their thoughts and no one suggested the names that the Dolphins would obviously most expect and need to be their MVP candidates.

Ryan Tannehill.

Ndamukong Suh.

The two men who got mega-contracts from the Dolphins this offseason are not in the MVP picture. And rightfully so because neither had a great season. Solid. Maybe even good. But neither was great.

And the Dolphins paid for great.

Suh is the NFL's highest paid defensive player. And for that investment the Dolphins with one game to play got 37 solo tackles, 18 assists, 5.5 sacks and five passes defensed. He started slow and didn't have a sack until October 25. His sack total ties him for his lowest since 2011 when he had four.

"I’ve always said it and I’ll continue to say it, my focus is to outdo the year that I did before and go from there," Suh said.

So what does he think of his season and the Dolphins season?

“Like I said, I’ve got to go back and watch the film," he said. "I don’t have an overall picture. My focus is on the Patriots and getting prepared for them."

Well, if his goal is to be better every year, he fell short of the mark. In 2014, Suh was in the Pro Bowl. He wasn't among the six interior linemen initially voted to the Pro Bowl this season. Last season he had 44 solo tackles -- more than this year so far. Last year he had 8.5 sacks -- more than this year so far.

Tannehill similarly is not meeting the expectations set before this season. He obviously didn't meet the expectations everyone thought when he signed his new $96 million contract that had $77 million in new money.

Tannehill has 22 TDs and 12 INTs so far this season. That means his touchdowns are down from the 27 he threw last year and his interceptions are up from the 11 he threw last year. His completion percentage and quarterback rating also have taken a step backward this year.

And, yes, the Dolphins are a worse team this year than a year ago. The team overall has regressed.

But Tannehill's history had been steady improvement year over year his first three seasons. Did he simply forget things he had already learned? Was his supporting cast less talented?

This step back is a bitter pill. And it put Tannehill in something of a pressure-filled situation for next year.

You see, Tannehill must find a way to show that 2015's regression was an outlier. He must do this to continue to earn his spot as Miami's unquestioned starting quarterback. And the thing is he's going to have to do that with a new offensive coordinator and head coach. He's going to be running a new and presumably different system.

He won't have an easy assignment.

All I know is this: Both Tannehill and Suh are scheduled bigger paydays next year than their already sizeable ones this year. At this time in 2016, they had better be in the team MVP conversation.

 

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