On the eve of the Presidential election, distract yourself from un-Godly mess that is our political system by delving into some mid-season award chatter.
There are few things I want to make clear. Firstly, I take the word “valuable” literally. A person’s value to his team versus the overall ability of a player are two different things. Secondly, I do not split votes. Matt Ryan does not necessarily lose points because Julio Jones is on his team. And thirdly, these are all my opinions and the reasons for them, so if you disagree feel free to post your opinions, but if you are upset by my picks, then bite me.
With that, let us dive right in:
Stafford is having the best years of his career sans Calvin Johnson. And while there are other quarterbacks with better statistics (Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Derek Carr), no one has meant more to their team than Matthew Stafford. On a team with no run game, a poor pass defense, and an even worse pass rush Stafford has almost single-handedly kept his team competitive. And as of this typing, not only are the Lions competitive, but they are a half a game out of the lead for their division and hold the tie-breaker over the Vikings.
With all of that being said, here is the biggest that impressed me: the Lions are 5-4 and in all 5 wins the Lions trailed their opponent in the last 90 seconds of the game. That means that in all of the Lions’ wins, Matthew Stafford has led a game winning drive. If that is not value, then I do know what is.
Runner-up: Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
Defensive Player of the Year
Lorenzo Alexander – Buffalo Bills
This may come as a shocker, but given the amount of injuries faced by the Bills and how competitive they have been, few players have meant more to their team than Alexander. He leads the league in sacks, with 10, and is tied for second in forced fumbles with 3. Alexander has been a saving grace for a Bills team that was desperate for players to step up. This was a very close category and there are a number of players who could take this award, but as of right now Alexander is the pick.
Runner-up: Aqib Talib – Denver Broncos
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Is this one really a surprise? He leads the league in rushing and has been the backbone of that Dallas offense. Add into the fact that Dez Bryant missed a substantial portion of the season thus far and his contributions have been minimal, making Elliott’s rise to prominence all the more impressive.
Runner-up: Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Deion Jones – Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons were trying to fix their defense on the fly and with the addition of Jones in the second round, they scored big. Jones has 2 interceptions, 1 defensive touchdown, 6 passes defensed, and 53 total tackles. He is a big reason why the Falcons are winning tight games instead of losing them and why they are sitting in control of the NFC South. As a rookie middle linebacker he is tasked with running that defense and he has been doing so magnificently.
Runner-up: Joey Bosa – San Diego Chargers
Coach of the Year
The Patriots are the unquestioned best team in football right now. They are 7-1 and four of those games were played without Tom Brady. Their run game is inconsistent and average at best and they just traded a number of players, including Jamie Collins, away and yet they continue to win. I cannot stand the Patriots, but Belichick will go down as arguably the greatest coach in NFL history and seasons like this prove it.
Runner-up: Jack Del Rio – Oakland Raiders
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