Meeting with South Florida reporters on Monday was second year linebacker, Andrew Van Ginkel. The 5th round draft pick out of Wisconsin stands at 6’4’’ 242 lbs. and although soft-spoken, hits hard.
The versatile linebacker overcame an early-season injury in 2019 to make a late-season push for playing time and made the most of it.
Despite an injured foot, Van Ginkel worked his way into snaps when he debuted Week 12 against the Cleveland Browns. He saved his best game for last, as his Week 17 performance up in New England was a key component in a victory that sent Miami home winners and left the Patriots on the outside of home-field advantage last January.
In that game, “Rip,” which is a true nickname he once possessed and may still (wink, wink) had six tackles, two of them for loss, as well as a hit on ex-Pat, Tom Brady.
Van Ginkel did more than hit Jet quarterback, Sam Darnold a month prior, as the young QB up north was sacked by the Badger, which was the first one in the young Fins career. Darnold was also the victim of the 1st career sack of fellow 2019 rookie, cornerback Nik Needham, but that was a conversation from a previous article.
Van Ginkel was able to let the media know that he spent his time in the off-season working with strength coaches and says he has been..."working on my craft."
That craft very well could help others record sacks, as Van Ginkel mentioned that in terms of the point of attack he needs to help "set the edge."
When it comes to working hard in study or on the field itself, those are nonissues for “Rip,” as you will never see him sleeping on the job.
Van Ginkel says he is more so worried about technique and not necessarily the playbook as he is prepared and focused on honing his game and getting better each day.
These are wise words from a wise young player, as he describes the coach Brian Flores defense as “chess, not checkers."
Hopefully for Van Ginkel and the rest of the Dolphins defense, there will be plenty more checkmates to be registered on opposing quarterbacks…ideally from within the AFC East.
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