The Miami Dolphins have a stellar defensive player in Xavien Howard. Is he the league’s DMVP as well?
Xavien Howard is in the Defensive Player of the Year talk after an incredible season but can he get the votes to beat out some other top players?
As the schedule turns to week 17 of the NFL season and the Dolphins prepare for their clash with the Buffalo Bills, has Xavien Howard gotten the attention he deserves for the Defensive Player of the Year award? The turnaround for the Dolphins has been very impressive. While the team as a whole has been playing well overall, the Defense has in no small part been led by Xavien Howard who has come back with a vengeance after missing 11 games in 2019, he currently sits as the league leader in interceptions with 9. The nine interceptions are also a career-high, by the time Sunday’s game is over he should have a career-high number in total tackles.
The accolades for Howard have hopefully only started with his selection to his second Pro Bowl, Howard is in contention for the Defensive Player of the Year. He is in a battle for the award as Aaron Donald, TJ Watt, Myles Garrett are also in contention for the honor. Those names are formidable on defense in their own right so it is definitely a toss-up for who gets the award.
Looking at how the players stack up. Aaron Donald and TJ Watt are in a battle to lead the league in sacks with TJ Watt narrowly in the lead with 15 sacks compared to Donald’s 13.5. Myles Garrett who has 12 sacks to his own credit has helped lead the Browns to playoff contention similarly to Howard’s effort with the Dolphins. However, Howard is the one who has come back from an injury-filled season to lead the league in interceptions.
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During the course of the season, Howard has had streaks of four and five games with an interception and tallied 19 pass deflections through the first 16 games of the season. He has consistently been matched up against some of the best wide receivers in the league and always met the challenge. This season unlike any other in so many ways has seen such a great turnaround and on defense, the efforts of Howard have led the way to an improved pass defense as far as completion percentage and helped put the Dolphins in a tie for second in the league with 16 interceptions as a team.
Although odds are against him, Howard deserves serious consideration for the Defensive Player of the Year honor. The award would be the first for the Dolphins since 2006 when Jason Taylor won the award. Week 17 is turning out to be very pivotal for the Dolphins’ playoff chances as well as the accolades that players leading the effort should be considered for if not win outright.
As we head into the final week of the season, although the odds might be in favor of our corner Xavien Howard, will he get the national recognition needed to secure the award for his efforts this season? Time will tell for that, however as this team has played together and for each other, it would be safe to say that Howard and the team have their focus on the Bills and getting the win as a team to get into the playoffs. Any postseason awards seem secondary to the main objectives of this season and the potential playoff birth in year two of the Brian Flores era.