Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas, fittingly inseparable to the end, go onto the Dolphins’ stadium Honor Roll on Sunday, and — after only Don Shula, Dan Marino and the 1972 Perfect Season — nobody connected with this franchise’s 47 seasons has deserved the honor more.
I count the combination of their longevity and excellence in saying that. I place weight on their reliable consistency. I also note how unwaveringly these brothers-in-law and great friends represented this club so well.
My top 10 greatest defensive players in Dolphins history:
1. Jason Taylor, DE (1997-2007, ’09, ’11): His 139 1/2 sacks (131 with Miami) are sixth most of all-time, more even than Lawrence Taylor. His brief late career forays as a Redskin and a Jet are insignificant blips. He deserves Canton.
2. Zach Thomas, LB (1996-2007): No player in club history had more career tackles. Isn’t that the essence of defense? Made seven Pro Bowls.
3. Nick Buoniconti, LB (1969-76): A Hall of Famer, Buoniconti spearheaded two Super Bowl triumphs. But this list is about individual not team accomplishment, and Buoniconti’s Miami career was of modest length.
4. Dick Anderson, S (1968-77): A career-long Dolphin with 34 interceptions, Anderson made the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade team and was the first of only three Dolphins (Doug Betters, Taylor) to be named league Defensive Player of the Year.
5. Bob Baumhower, DT (1977-86): His 39 1/2 sacks remain most in club history by a pure tackle.
6. Bill Stanfill, DE (1969-76): His 67 sacks were a club record until broken by Taylor. Set the season mark with 18 1/2.
7. Jake Scott, S (1970-75): Still holds club record of 35 interceptions in only six Miami seasons, and was Super Bowl VII MVP.
8. Vern Den Herder, DE (1971-82): Played before sacks became an official statistic, but Shula called Den Herder the best end he ever had coached.
9. John Offerdahl, LB (1986-93): Injuries shortened his career, but Offerdahl was a tackling machine. Sort of Zach Thomas before Thomas.
10. Doug Betters, DE (1978-87): The 1983 NFL defensive POY and a member of club’s Silvery Anniversary team.
Honorable mention, alphabetically: Tim Bowens, Manny Fernandez, Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain were the other guys I most looked at for that No. 10 spot.
Scatter-shooting the league:
• The eight 300-yard passing games so far by rookie QBs already is an NFL season record. It’s three by Andrew Luck, two each by Robert Griffin III and Brandon Weeden and one by Miami’s Ryan Tannehill.
• Updated Super Bowl odds show the Texans a narrow favorite at 4-1 over the 49ers at 5-1 and Patriots at 11-2, according to Bovada. Offensive Rookie of the Year is a near dead-heat between Griffin at 6-5 and Luck at 5-4.
• The 44 games decided by eight points or fewer entering Week 6 are the second most ever at this point, topped only by the 45 in 1999.
• Bears defenders Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman last week became the first teammates to both return interceptions for touchdowns in consecutive games. Chicago is the first team with five defensive pick-sixes in a three-game span since 1960.
• Colts’ Luck to Reggie Wayne, one week after Tannehill to Brian Hartline, made this the first season to feature two games of 350 yards passing by a rookie along with a 200-yard receiver.
• Giants last week became first team since 1960 to have a 200-yard rusher (Ahmad Bradshaw) and a player with three TD catches (Victor Cruz) in same game.
• Cincy’s A.J. Green reached 100 career catches in his 20th game. Only Anquan Boldin (16 games) and Reggie Bush (19) did it quicker. (Yes, Reggie Bush!)
• Texan Arian Foster hit 5,000 career scrimmage yards in his 40th game, trailing only Edgerrin James (36 games) and Eric Dickerson (39).