Another year, another Pro Bowl nod for both Cameron Wake and Brent Grimes.
The Dolphins’ best defenders are headed back to the NFL’s All-Star showcase — a trip that will be a consolation prize after the team again missed the playoffs.
For Wake, it’s the fourth time in his six-year career that he has been picked by fans, coaches and his peers. The defensive end, whose 11.5 sacks rank ninth in the league, has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the past three seasons.
For Grimes, it’s 2 for 2 as a Dolphin. The veteran cornerback hasn’t been left off the team since signing with the Dolphins before the 2013 season. Grimes, who also went in 2011 as a member of the Atlanta Falcons, is tied for third in the NFL with five interceptions. He leads the team with 13 pass breakups.
Additional Dolphins players could still be added as alternates, should first-team selections either withdraw or make the Super Bowl. Usually held in Hawaii, the 2015 Pro Bowl will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Jan. 25.
There’s a fairly good chance that left tackle Branden Albert would have joined Wake and Grimes in the desert had he not sustained a year-ending knee injury midway through the season. Before getting injured, Albert was widely seen as one of the best pass protectors in football.
There were no obvious South Florida snubs this year. The Dolphins have no other player that ranks in the top five in a major offensive or defensive category — often the gauge voters use when they fill out their ballots.
Plus, the Dolphins haven’t made the playoffs since 2008 and were televised nationally just twice this year, limiting the exposure of under-the-radar players such as Mike Pouncey, Jared Odrick and Jelani Jenkins.
Furthermore, standout safety Reshad Jones was ineligible for the game because he served a four-game suspension after a failed PEDs test.
However, the Dolphins have had at least one player selected to the game in each of the past 17 seasons.
▪ New York Jets coach Rex Ryan knows all about votes of confidence — and how fleeting they can be.
A year ago, he was in the exact situation Dolphins coach Joe Philbin is in now: given a reprieve by ownership for another year after missing the playoffs three consecutive seasons.
But Ryan appears to be finally out of chances. New York owner Woody Johnson is widely expected to fire Ryan shortly after Sunday’s Jets-Dolphins season finale.
Ryan, speaking with Dolphins reporters Tuesday, said Philbin more than deserved to be back in 2015.
“He’s a hell of a football coach,” Ryan said. “Obviously, Miami made a great decision bringing him back. … That’s a heck of a football team. That’s a really well-coached team. No surprise that he’s back. He’s one of the better coaches in the league, and I’m really happy for him.”
As for his own future, Ryan said, “100 percent, I don’t worry about it.”
▪ The Dolphins on Tuesday ended two players’ seasons — guard Nate Garner and corner Jamar Taylor — and gave two others one last chance to make an impression.
The Dolphins elevated center Sam Brenner and defensive tackle Deandre Coleman to their 53-man roster from their practice squad. Brenner appeared in seven games for the Dolphins last year, starting four.
Garner has dealt with persistent migraines for a month. Taylor injured his shoulder weeks back, but played against the Vikings last Sunday.