Well if we figure that we’re 10 weeks in, and as the Patriots so memorably figured out, its a 20 game season technically we’re at the midway point of the NFL run….
Alright we’re late on the week at post. We get it! Just stop using your squeaky voice!
Anyway. I thought we’d put up some mid way awards for your enjoyment and maybe a power rankings? Who knows we might get a little crazy later on…
MVP – Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
215 Completions – 295 Attempts – 72.9% Completion – 2,869 Passing Yards – 148 Rushing Yards – 28 Passing Touchdowns – 2 Rushing Touchdowns – 3 Interceptions – 2 Fumbles – 130.7 Passer Rating
I read the other day several reviews of Aaron Rodgers who said “He may be playing the quarterback position better than its ever been played” and frankly that is absolutely true. If you only watched the first 15 minutes of last nights Monday Night Football coverage, you saw he is on pace to break almost every single season passing mark this year. He torches defenses regularly. I recall one play where they cut the commentating and listened to Rodgers pre-snap reads. He points directly at the standing Minnesota linebacker posing as a blitzer and calls “he’s going to drop” and the player promptly does. It’s a testament to his ability to read coverages that the defense didn’t even think about switching their call to try to confuse him. They may easily rename the MVP Trophy the Aaron Rodgers for this year’s play. It’s been that good. The only other argument would be for Peyton Manning…. simply because the Colts are that bad.
Offensive Player of the Year – Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
166 Attempts – 869 Rushing Yards – 5.2 Average – 3 Rushing Touchdowns – 42 Receptions – 439 Receiving Yards – 10.5 Average – 1 touchdown – 2 Fumbles
No one is more responsible for the Bears turnaround than Matt Forte, who finally began receiving the ball as opposed to trying to protect Jay Cutler on Mike Martz’s famous 7 step drops. Forte has a preposterous average rushing and continues to improve as the year goes. His receiving is what pushes him over the top though. While he lacks the touchdowns, he is a factor in all aspects and once he’s going, it becomes a lot harder to key on Cutler. Their increased use of draws has backed off defensive ends, and it’s because they have to respect Forte. In conclusion – Pay the Man!
Defensive Player of the Year – Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota
32 Solo Tackles – 9 Assisted Tackles – 13.5 Sacks – 3 Passes Defended – 1 interception – 3 Forced Fumbles – 3 Fumbles Recovered
How quiet has Allen’s performance been this year? I have seen no less than three sites talk about how DeMarcus Ware is on pace to break the sack record and he’s not even in the lead for the category. Allen is not quite as good as he was during Minnesota’s last playoff run when he was obliterating linemen left and right, but he is still all over opposing quarterbacks. It’s even more a testament to his play that he continues to do it on a team as bad as the Vikings are this year. With nothing to play for, many players will revert to a “don’t get hurt” mode if they’re pretty sure their jobs are safe. Allen is kicking his game into a 2nd gear. If he keeps up the pace, or gets close to the sack record, he deserves the award.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Cam Newton, QB, Carolina
197 Attempts – 327 Completions – 60.2% Completion – 2,605 Passing Yards – 11 Passing Touchdowns – 374 Rushing Yards – 7 Rushing Touchdowns – 10 Interceptions – 5 Fumbles – 84 Passer Rating
This is actually very close between Newton and A.J. Green of Cincinnati. Green has been instrumental in Andy Dalton’s success and thus the Bengals, but the numbers Newton is putting up, and the lack of any respectable defense pushes him over the top. The fact that Carolina isn’t a cake walk game speaks about how much he brings to that team. He leads quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns and is tied for 3rd overall – only behind Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy. He needs to cut back on turnovers, but his willingness to try to make a play and his ability to forget the last mistake and keep firing are admirable at this point.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Von Miller, LB, Denver
29 Solo Tackles – 9 Assisted – 8 sacks – 2 Forced Fumbles – 2 Pass Deflections
I’ll be honest, there hasn’t been a lot of good defensive rookie play. For me. it was down to Miller and Aldon Smith of San Francisco. Miller has better numbers across the board and has been more help to his team. Playing opposite Dumervil will do that. Still, he has proven me wrong by being a very solid stand up linebacker in a 4-3 (I still maintain in a 3-4 he would be even better because Dumervil was even better in a 3-4). His ability to get to the quarterback is evident early and we’ll start to see how he handles the attention that teams will be giving him because of his good start. Denver has some bright spots moving forwards, and pass rush is one of them.
Coach of the Year – Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco
This seasons – 8-1 – 1st in the NFC West – 25th Offense – 11th Defense
Previous season – 6-10 – 3rd in NFC West -24th Offense – 13th Defense
Harbaugh’s ability to take a team that was considered a underachiever (I saw a couple of people pick them for the Superbowl last season) and turn them into achievers is impressive. It’s even more impressive because he took five time retread Alex Smith and has turned him into a legitimate quarterback. He beats good teams, he stomps on bad teams, and he’s not intimidated by other coaches chasing him down. His ability to control a game and not make a crucial coaching mistake is part of the reason that this team is doing much better. Management has improved. He also gets his teams up for every game. They don’t drop eggs like his brother’s team across the way. The only competition for the award would be Marvin Lewis who has taken a team expected to be dreadful and turned them into a playoff contending team. But with the 49ers almost a lock to get in and the Bengals hitting the hard portion of their schedule the end of the season should separate these two.
Offensive Assistant of the Year – Jay Gruden, Cincinnati
Sure some of the shine is wearing off of Andy Dalton at this point, but his play thus far has been very impressive. Cincinnati essentially retooled their offense this season behind a rookie quarterback, rookie wide receiver, 2nd year tight end, and a veteran running back who was suspended mid-season. Paired with a top 5 defense though, Jay Gruden knew he only had to control Dalton early and let the defense do the work. Compare this with the other west coast offense in the division – Cleveland – who is regressing awfully currently. Gruden has instilled his concepts quickly, effectively, and runs a sophisticated attack with all that inexperience. The Browns meanwhile have a 2nd year guy at the helm and some familiarity with the scheme and continue to look worse and worse. Gruden does have competition here. His real coaching is about to begin with a tough schedule coming up. Rob Chudzinski in Carolina is putting spectacular numbers up with another rookie and deserves mention if he can keep it up. Joe Philbin is not given a lot of credit in Green Bay for their offense as Mike McCarthy handles most of the play calling and installation, but his name is already floating around as a top candidate for other jobs.
Defensive Assistant of the Year – Wade Phillips, Houston
Phillips took a little trip from Dallas to Houston and sparked a defense with a seemingly crazy transition from 4-3 to 3-4. He took one of the top rushing defensive ends and told him to stand up and get the quarterback. He took 2 prototypical 4-3 linebackers and asked them to disguise their blitzes and mix up coverages. He took the 29th ranked defense is points allowed and the 30th ranked defense in yards allowed and made them the 2nd and 1st respectively. It’s an unbelievable job considering that most of his work came in the front seven, not the secondary which was considered the weaker unit. And he’s kept it up despite losing Mario Williams for the year. They may start floating his name around as a head coaching candidate again at this rate…. well a couple of years down the road maybe….
Worst Head Coaching Job of the Year – Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis
There’s a lot of candidates here. Norv Turner in San Diego will likely be (and should be) fired for his habitual under performing teams. Andy Reid has made a ton of bad decisions this season in particular and done little to correct them. Ken Wisenhunt has been unable to get anything out of Kevin Kolb and is watching his leeway shrivel up quickly. But no one has done less for their team than Jim Caldwell. He finally made a change this week, pulling Curtis Painter for Dan Orlovsky. It’s not really a change that needed to happen. It seems to me that Caldwell has just given up on doing anything. He stands on the sideline and just looks bored. Even Tony Sparano is ranting and raving and trying to rally his troops. I notice they’ve won a game. Caldwell walks on the field, stands around, walks off the field and tells the reporters “well I don’t have Peyton so I can’t really be held accountable”. It’s a bad mark on ownership that they didn’t find a coach, but a figurehead for this organization. Teams lose key players all the time and find ways to get it done. Recall Kurt Warner’s first year with the Rams, who were a playoff contender before Trent Green went down. I simply cannot see Caldwell standing there and saying “We’ll rally around Curtis Painter and we will play good football.” Certainly they have not this season.