Contributed by Mike Millis-CityofSports Blogger
Now that every team in the league has played 8 games, teams pretty much are who they are. There are no fluke teams left who are just winning games because they are lucky or are being looked past by other teams. The Raiders, Chiefs, and Bucs are better than expected, while the Cowboys, Vikings, Bengals and Chargers have left many unimpressed, although the Chargers always start slow and are in the mix at the end of the season every single year.
Since we’re halfway through the season, it’s only fair to start taking a look at some mid-season awards, so let’s get right to it.
Coach of the Year: Raheem Morris – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Call me a bit of a homer here, but this is a guy who was promoted from DB coach to Defensive Coordinator to Head Coach all at the same time before last season. With cries of rebuilding from the front office, the Bucs became the youngest team in the league and won only 3 games all of last year. This year, through only half of the season the Bucs are 5-3 with those 3 losses coming against the Steelers, who many believe are the best team in football, the Saints who are defending Super Bowl Champs, and the Falcons who are a very dangerous team with a very potent offense. The Bucs are the 28th youngest team in the league this year and maybe people have taken that for granted. Raheem has the defense laying hat, and Josh Freeman has been improving every single game.
MVP – Peyton Manning, QB Indianapolis Colts – I hate this guy. I really do. I’ve hated “Seyton” since his days in ugly orange at Tennessee, but the guy can throw the rock around. So far this year he’s got 2,478 yards with 16 TDs to only 4 INTs, and that is with a depleted receiving core. Look for Peyton to keep putting up big numbers and take home yet another MVP trophy at year’s end.
Offensive Player of the Year – Philip Rivers, QB San Diego Chargers – If it wasn’t for his team being under .500, Rivers would be a lock for MVP. He’s on pace to throw for 3 million yards this season and has a QB rating of 102.9, which ranks third among quarterbacks in the league behind only Mike Vick and Vince Young (really, that is not a typo), coupled with the most TDs in the league (19). This guy gets his stats every week. If the Chargers can make a push and get to the playoffs, Rivers may take the MVP award home, leaving Peyton empty handed.
Defensive Player of the Year – James Harrison, LB Pittsburgh Steelers – This was really a tossup between Harrison and Clay Matthews of the Packers. Harrison takes the edge while trailing Matthews in overall sacks because Harrison has more overall tackles, more INTs and just has a way of getting it done week in and week out.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Mike Williams, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Williams leads all rookies in receptions with 36, yards with 559, and receiving TDs with 5. He is and has been the Bucs #1 WR since training camp and has the offense in Tampa looking a lot better than it has in recent years. The only player who may come close to taking this trophy away from Williams is Rams rookie QB Sam Bradford.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Eric Berry, S Kansas City Chiefs – This is one race that is still wide open for the taking. Berry gets the nod thus far for having 45 tackles, 2 INTs and a Forced Fumble, and being on the Chiefs who surprised just about everyone with their play this year.
Comeback Player of the Year – Mike Vick, QB Philadelphia Eagles – Vick has the best QB rating in the league at 105.3, and having 261 yards rushing in only 5 games played (two of which he didn’t play the whole game). He has been nothing short of the most entertaining player on the field at all times no matter who the opponent is and has show vast improvement in his passing game since his “me first” days in Atlanta.
So there you have it. Agree? Disagree? Let me know why in the comments.