Sunday's loss and the Week 17 misfortunes regarding the Dolphins playoff hopes are still fresh, barely 24 hours in the rearview. Monday, a handful of Dolphins veterans spoke to the media about the season now behind them, and a refreshed, hungry focus already burning for 2021.
Let's look at the highlights:
Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah:
The 2020 season was a coming out party for Miami's offseason acquisition coming off the edge. Ogbah registered a career high in sacks (9) and quarterback hits (21), and finished with the third-most quarterback pressures (66) among edge defenders in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
Ogbah's jump in production coincided with an elevated snap count. Monday, Ogbah discussed his two areas of focus this past offseason with a direct result on his 2020 campaign.
"This year was big for me because I really wanted to focus on my body and staying healthy throughout the year," Ogbah said. "The part of my game that I worked on the most I would say was my hands. I used my hands a lot. It definitely helps my game better, helps my game improve."
Despite the 10 wins and the new individual benchmarks, Sunday left Miami's sack-leader dissatisfied.
"It definitely left a sour taste in my mouth," Ogbah said.
Linebacker Jerome Baker:
It was a career year for Baker in the pass-rush department as well. His seven sacks more than doubled his previous career best. Never one to talk about himself, Baker deflected the praise to the guys up front for his sack explosion.
"I think I just got more opportunities," Baker said. "This year, I had more opportunities to blitz, more opportunities to pass rush and it's more a credit to the d-line. They take up most of the o-line and a few of my sacks, I'm usually free, so it's a credit to them."
Baker echoed Ogbah's final thoughts about the result Sunday, and heading into 2021 with a concentrated focus.
"That's nothing of how we are," Baker said. "We have a lot of guys that are tough, a lot of guys that are smart and we play for each other. Yesterday, the outcome wasn't what we expected, and that just wasn't our football. That's pretty much it."
Linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel:
Van Ginkel (5.5) and Baker (7.0) made up two-thirds (Kyle Van Noy, 6) of the first ever linebacker trio in Dolphins history to end the season with at least five sacks apiece, a credit to the team excelling on points of emphasis.
"Really the focal point of (sack) and turnovers, just being able to get after the quarterback and get them on the ground, it's a huge deal. It means a lot," Van Ginkel said.
Center Ted Karras:
Karras signed a one-year deal last offseason to play in Miami. Named a captain, Karras started all 16 games and was the only player on offense or defense to play every snap (1,067).
"It was one of my biggest accomplishments in my career, in my life," Karras said. "I'm very grateful to make it through and look forward to continue to play some good football. But it was really special and I'm glad that I got to make it out injury-free."
Checking the box on snap counts played off his personal goals list, Karras reflected upon the special environment created by this year's team and how grateful he is for the opportunity.
"It was the most fun I've had playing football in my life," Karras said. "There's such great guys here and I'd love to be a part of it."
Kicker Jason Sanders:
Asked what he will remember most about the 2020 team, Sanders' answer was in the same ballpark as Karras'.
"This team is fun to be around," Sanders said. "Just the guys we have on this team, the energy they brought every week, the coaching staff. I really enjoyed this season as a whole and I'm ready and excited to see what the future has for us."
Sanders tied a franchise record with 144 points scored in 2020. He credits his approach for matching the 1999 season of kicker Olindo Mare.
"I think I did a good job taking it one week at a time this year and I think that's what helped me perform well week after week," he said.
Safety Eric Rowe
"That's definitely not us as a team."
Rowe made his thoughts about Sunday's loss known clearly and concisely. He also discussed the jump from Year 1 to Year 2 here in Miami.
"Looking from last year -- from the (2019) season to this season was a huge jump," he said. "Now we're obviously playing to take that momentum from this year to next and make that next step where we can compete with playoff contending teams."
Rowe played all 16 games for the second consecutive season, his first full season at his new position.
"I feel like I made a lot of improvements in the run game, something I had trouble with last year coming from corner," Rowe said. "For me to make that next jump is to make the few plays I left out there on the field against All Pro-type of players. I've got to be able to cover those type of guys if I want to be considered one of the best covering safeties."
Opposing quarterbacks posted a passer rating of just 76.9 when targeting Rowe, fourth-best among safeties with at least 40 pass targets, per Pro Football Focus.