It’s hard to believe but we’re already 8 games into the NFL season. I always enjoy taking the middle of the season to take a look at what we’ve seen thus far and of course to see how what we’ve seen so far matches up to my predictions. The people who I would give my midseason awards to are players who, if the season ended today, I believe would be taking home those awards. There are some of these I really don’t expect to change much and others that I could see fluctuate drastically (especially rookie awards given that some rookies have only 2 or 3 weeks under their belts). Without further ado – My Midseason NFL awards.
NFL MVP – Aaron Rodgers, QB; Green Bay Packers
2011 Stats (7 games): 2,372 yards passing, 20 TDs, 2 rushing TDs, 3 INT, 71.5% Completion
Aaron Rodgers is definitely running away with this award. Right now he is only pace to finish the season with over 5,000 yards passing, 45 TDs, 4 rushing TDs, and only 7 interceptions. The most important stat of all is that his Packers are 7-0 right now and poised to become the first team to repeat as NFC Champions since, well, the Green Bay Packers.
My Preseason Pick: Aaron Rodgers, QB; Green Bay Packers
But high fives all around to: Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Fred Jackson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Calvin Johnson
Comeback Player of the Year – Matthew Stafford, QB; Detroit Lions
2011 Stats (8 games): 19 TDs, 2,179 yds passing, 4 INT
The Detroit Lions have brought the college spread offense to the NFL. With so many talented athletes and young offensive weapons, the Detroit Lions (yes, you heard me right) have one of the most exciting offenses in the NFL. Stafford has led the Lions to a number of thrilling comeback victories. The former #1 pick has rebounded from multiple injuries in a big way and has shown that he has what it takes to be the first Lions franchise QB in over 50 years.
My Preseason Pick: Matthew Stafford, QB; Detroit Lions
But high fives all around to: Nick Barnett and D’Qwell Jackson
Offensive Player of the Year – Calvin Johnson, WR; Detroit Lions
2011 Stats (8 games): 47 Receptions, 804 yds, 11 TDs, 17.1 YPC
Megatron has shown the freak athleticism that made him the #2 overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft. He has established himself as an elite NFL wideout. He is a big part of the reason that Stafford is having such a breakout year and that the Lions are fighting for 1st place in the NFC North. He is on pace to finish with over 1600 yds receiving and 22 receiving TDs (1 shy of Randy Moss’s single-season record).
But high fives all around to: Fred Jackson, Matt Forte, Aaron Rodgers, and Adrian Peterson
My Preseason Pick: Adrian Peterson, RB; Minnesota Vikings
Defensive Player of the Year – Jared Allen, DE; Minnesota Vikings
2011 Stats (8 games): 12.5 sacks, 34 TKLs, 3 FFs, 1 INT
On a dreadful defensive unit, All-Pro Defensive End Jared Allen has been the sole bright spot. He has had a sack in every game this season and is currently on pace to shatter Michael Strahan’s single season sack record of 22.5 and Chris Doleman’s Vikings franchise record of 21. Allen has shown that even with half of the famed “Wall of America” no longer there he is still a force to be reckoned with.
My Preseason Pick: Ndamukong Suh, DT; Detroit Lions
But high fives all around to: Patrick Willis, Darelle Revis, Justin Smith, DeMarcus Ware, and Charles Woodson
Coach of the Year – Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills
Many were quick (myself included) to crown the New England Patriots the AFC East Champions and the New York Jets the runner-up and AFC Wildcard. The only thing we had crowned the Buffalo Bills was the winners of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Gailey though has his Bills sitting in 1st place at the halfway mark in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. He has gotten the most out of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and running back Fred Jackson. He has a defense that is making plays and Nick Barnett has resurrected his career. The Buffalo Bills have been exciting to watch and appear to be a team destined to make the playoffs.
My Preseason Pick: Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans
But high fives all around to: Marvin Lewis, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Schwartz, Gary Kubiak, and Mike McCarthy
NFL Executive of the Year – Mike Brown, Owner/President; Cincinnati Bengals
Is there anyone right now that deserves more credit than Mike Brown? He shipped Chad Ochocinco to the New England Patriots for two draft picks because he had grown weary of him. Mike Brown then refused to trade Carson Palmer and instead let him retire. He followed that up with an unbelievable draft by getting the athletic A.J. Green at WR in the first round and then QB Andy Dalton in the 2nd round who already have the Bengals with more wins than most thought they would have all season. Regardless of all that, Brown takes home the prize for taking a retired QB that he was getting nothing out of in Palmer and trading him to Oakland for, potentially, two first round draft picks. The Bengals are poised to compete for years to come because of the resolve of Mike Brown.
My Preseason Pick: N/A
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Cam Newton, QB; Carolina Panthers
2011 Stats (8 games): 11 TDs, 9 INT, 2,393 yds passing
I won’t lie, I thought Cam Newton was going to be garbage in this league. While it is still too early to say what kind of Newton will have the future indeed looks promising. The Panthers came out in Week 1 and Cam Newton became the first QB in NFL history to pass for more than 400 yards in his rookie debut. The following week he passed for more than 400 yards again when he played the Green Bay Packers. Because of Newton, Steve Smith, who was once unhappy playing for Carolina, is now leading the league in receiving yards and Newton generates the large majority of his team’s offense whether it be in the air or on the ground. While I have been very impressed with this year’s rookie class (and crop of young quarterbacks), Newton is the obvious choice.
My Preseason Pick: Mark Ingram, RB; New Orleans Saints
But high fives all around to: Andy Dalton and A.J. Green
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Von Miller, OLB; Denver Broncos
2011 Stats (7 games): 26 TKLs, 6.0 sacks, 2 FFs
I thought the Von Miller was an obvious pick for the Denver Broncos. As far as players go, I really thought he was the most NFL-ready player in the entire draft. While Denver has just been awful, Von Miller has been a real bright spot for this team. As a rookie he already has 6.0 sacks! Though not as prolific, I see a lot of similarities between his rookie year and that of Patrick Willis. I fully expect Von Miller to keep up this production and be a Pro-Bowler for years to come.
My Preseason Pick: Von Miller, OLB; Denver Broncos
But high fives all around to: Ryan Kerrigan, Aldon Smith, Marcell Dareus, and Patrick Peterson
Questions? Comments? Snide Remarks? Let me hear ’em!