Howard Not Interested in 2020 Comparisons – DolphinMaven

Xavien Howard doesn’t need anyone to tell him his 2021 performance hasn’t been up to par with what he did in 2020, though in fairness nobody should have expected an exact repeat performance.

It was a once-in-a-career season for a cornerback, though Howard understands the ridiculous standards he set.

“ I feel like what you put out there, people see that,” Howard said. “By me doing what I did that year, they’re expecting that next year. At the end of the day, you’re not going to get that each year. I haven’t seen somebody do that in I don’t know how long. It’s just knowing what you did and knowing that even though the goals are more than what I did that year, it’s like each year you can have that attitude but it’s not going to be the same. That’s what you’ve got to understand. At the end of the day, you’ve got to look at the man in the mirror and be like, ‘I’m doing what is best for the team and what I can do.’ ”

Judged solely on analytics, Howard is not having a good season, though we’re here to say that’s also not fair or accurate.

The passer rating against Howard when targeted is 98.2, more than double the 48.3 of 2020, according to pro-football-reference.com. The 98.2 ranks 156th among all NFL players who have been targeted at least 15 times.

But let’s not forget that, along with the two interceptions he has in 2021, Howard has two forced fumbles/fumble recoveries and those two were the biggest plays in two of the Dolphins’ three victories — against the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens.

For his part, Howard described his 2021 season as “OK.”

“I feel like I haven’t played up to my standard a couple games,” Howard said. “I’m just worried about getting better each week and getting back, having fun and doing the things I used to. And that’s making plays.”

Howard’s passer rating allowed when targeted is the worst among Dolphins cornerbacks, but is there anybody who really would argue that he’s not the team’s best at the position.

One area where Howard actually has improved, based on his analytics, with his 12.3 yards allowed per completion being the lowest over the past four years. The one area where it’s not gone so well is touchdowns allowed, with pro-football-reference.com charging him with six touchdowns allowed.

Again, though, Howard clearly and unquestionably the Dolphins’ best cornerback — even if he’s not playing at the ridiculous level he achieved in 2020.

It’s just growing pain, just understanding what teams are doing to me now and just knowing that things I did last year are not going to be that easy,” Howard said. “Everything I’m going to have to do, I’m going to work for it. Just understanding that and knowing how teams are attacking me now. Just getting that down pat, I should be good.

“They’re running away from me. (laughter) They’re running away from me. so it’s not going to be like you’re on the outside, one-on-one and (you get) a fade ball or this and that or something that happens close to the ball. It’s something that I have to understand that what I put on film that they see, I’m going to have to get better at.”

Howard is looking to continue to improve the rest of 2021 with his eyes focused straight ahead.

No looking back. At all.

During his media session Thursday, a question began with a reference to his 10 interceptions in 2020 and he interrupted: “Man, that is old. That is old.”

The reporter continued his question, which asked whether Howard would be unhappy he couldn’t come close to the 10 INT he had last year.

“Ten picks is old,” Howard said. “It’s a new year. I’m tired of the 10 picks, like damn.

“That’s all I worry about is winning. The individual stuff that I’m doing, it helps the team win, so that’s what I’m really worried about. Not just getting an interception or trying to chase goals out there right now. I just want to win football (games).”