The PhinPhanatic staff is recapping the 2016 season for each Miami Dolphins player as the team prepares for the start of free agency. Here is the 2016 player recap for Neville Hewitt.
While being somewhat undersized at 6-2, 235lb, what does stand out is his motor and solid technique that would be favorable for any player manning the linebacker position. You won’t see any flailing about or wild launching of his body in a mad attempt to bring down his opponent with arm tackling.
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He has been a strong contributor to both defense and special teams during his first two season having started two games in 2015 and five last season while never missing a game overall. During his first season he played 53 more snaps on defense. But his special teams play must have stood out warranting the extra 67 snaps gained this season. His overall combined snaps went up this season by 78 and he had three more for special teams.
For his first season (2015) playing all games and starting in two he had one interception, three passes defended 22 solo tackles and 10 assisted. This season playing all games and starting five he had one pass defended a fumble and a recovered fumble along with one sack and 35 solo tackles and 22 assisted.
So with just 11 snaps worth of more playing time on defense this season his base stats went up along with filling out more across the board. In fact he has played as good and arguably better than his counterparts in rotation with Kiko Alonso getting the lions share of playing time at a ratio of three to one over all others.
There was talk last season that someone was almost used to pair with Kiko on a greater basis. And I suspect that would have been Neville Hewitt. And with how he excelled with more playing time albeit at a small margin and how Alonso broke down near the end of the season that probably would have been advantageous if true.
As the season wore on and the payload was placed squarely on Kiko’s shoulders I honestly thought someone like Mike Hull or now former Miami Dolphins Zach Vigil would have been eased into more special teams snaps to allocate Hewitt to have more snaps on defense.
For the second half of the season he only had more than 26 snaps once during an overtime game with 56 snaps. It was a tightly contested OT win 36 – 31 Vs the Bills in week 16. He happened to tie total tackles for the game with Spencer Paysinger. They both had six solo tackles and three assisted respectively.
With free agency approaching many fans clamor for the hot prospect to pillage off of other teams. The Miami Dolphins have stated that they want to take care of their own and get them signed or extended. What shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle is rewarding from within also. Because not only will the team lose out on the better play from expanding a player who has shown to be worthwhile but potentially the player also after growing tired of this act.