But defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is feeling some optimism. After losing to the Chiefs, he told his teammates to remember what it feels like to get handled by the defending Super Bowl champs and to use it as motivation.
Please resign Wilkins. Don’t care what it takes. pic.twitter.com/ROCACZSOFn
— Stan of Mike McDaddy/Wilkins/Tua/Achane (@Tranracialangel) January 17, 2024
“Love y’all,” Wilkins said. “Keep fighting. Remember this feeling when ya’ll training in the offseason. Take this s— with you for real. Have the right mindset when you come back next year and just be ready to kill everything. Love y’all.”
Afterward, Wilkins said that he enjoyed the season and that he’s looking forward to the immediate future.
“I told the guys in the locker room that this is the most fun I’ve had since I’ve been in the league, since I’ve been a Miami Dolphin,” Wilkins said following the game. “It’s because what the guys do every day, what they bring, how much it means to them. I think we’ve definitely made big strides.
“There’s still room to improve as a team, as an organization. I think the formula is there, and that is what will happen in the years to come.”
Wilkins was taken by Miami with the No. 13 pick in the 2019 draft. His first few seasons were relatively quiet, but after switching from defensive end to defensive tackle, he blossomed this year with 9.0 sacks and 23 quarterback hits, both of which were career-highs.
The problem for Miami is the fact that he’s about to become a free agent and is sure to be sought after by a number of teams on the free market. Considering the amount of money he’s likely to command and how much the team is over the salary cap right now, plenty of people expect him to bolt.
While the Dolphins went 11-6 in the regular season and had the league’s second-best scoring offense, pundits have accused them of being fraudulent. They had trouble all year beating teams with a winning record, and while they were excellent at home, their performance away from South Florida was a different story.
Overall, the biggest thing the Dolphins need to improve is their defense. That defense was just 22nd in points given up, and while they have an outstanding cornerback duo in Xavien Howard and Jalen Ramsey, their front seven could use some improvements.
Linebacker Bradley Chubb led the team with 11.0 sacks in the regular season, but he tore his ACL in Week 17, and his status for the start of next season is in question.
Fellow linebacker Jaelan Phillips had already been out since midseason with a torn Achilles. He posted 6.5 sacks, 11 quarterback hits and seven tackles for loss in eight games this season.