Football is officially back! And after a long time I didn’t find time to post something new, I finally wanted to come back the way the NFL did.
So in this segment I want to tell you who I think will win the NFL awards handed out in January. For each award I listed my top three candidates. Let’s get right to it:
1. Aaron Rodgers: I truly believe he is the best player in the game today. No shots to Peyton Manning and those guys, but I think Rodgers is the real playmaker. A banged up offensive line, uncertainties on defense and a loss to the Seahawks in the season opener won’t take away his greatness. I expect him to set the standard for quarterbacks once again and ride his team to a lot of wins.
2. Andrew Luck: If I had to take one guy to be the face of my franchise I would still take Rodgers because he has more experience than Luck, but Andrew will be right there with him for the next ten years. The way he makes everybody around him better is special and this year he has all the tools to really shine. With him leading the team, I could see the Colts being the number one seed in the AFC and even win the conference. Like Cassius Vaughn said in Luck’s top 100 video: “He’s not up and coming, he’s there. Andrew is the truth.”
3. Drew Brees: I know it only was a preseason game, but Drew tore a pretty good Colts defense apart two weaks ago. To me this was a preview of what he’s gonna do to defenses for the next four months. He has Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, Kenny Stills and now Brandin Cooks, plus former Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram in the backfield – this offense is scary. Brees is their point guard and will bring defensive coordinators nightmares.
Offensive Player of the Year:
I’m not a big fan of this award. How can somebody be the best offensive or defensive player of the year and not be the MVP at the same time?
But because I know what the award is about and for the sake of completeness:
Defensive Player of the Year:
1. J.J. Watt: There’s nobody at his position who comes even close to the level he’s playing at and he is the most disruptive defender in the game. Some people try to tell me he had a dropoff from the 2012 to the 2013 season, but playing the way he did with offensive gameplans schemed away from him is unbelievable. With Jadeveon Clowney lined up next to him opposing teams won’t be able to acount that many guys for him this season. Watt is the NFL’s most complete defensive player and for that reason alone he should walk away with this trophy.
2. Clay Matthews: This guy makes plays he shouldn’t even make. He missed a lot of time last year, but when he’s healthy he’s all over the field. I like to call him the screen killer, because when he’s anywhere near offenses just can’t run them. With Peppers drawing attention on the opposite side of him, I see him get 15+ sacks. If he can finally stay healthy, I see him having his best season yet and really make a difference for the Packers D.
3. Darelle Revis: Sherman, Peterson, Haden – all those guys are great, but there is only one Darelle Revis. Most people forgot he came back from surgery last year. That Patriots defense will be near the top once again this year and Revis will be their key piece shutting down the other team’s number one receiver on a weekly basis.
Patrick Willis – With Bowman probably missing most of the season, he will shine bright as the game’s top middle linebacker.
Lavonte David – he looks like Derrick Brooks about ten years ago
Comeback Player of the Year:
1. Robert Griffin III: Let’s all forget his 2013 season – he was not healthy. This year he will be and with DeSean Jackson on the outside he gets a lot of help. I expect him to look like a smarter version of the guy who won Offensive Rookie of the Year two seasons ago.
2. Julio Jones: Knowing that quarterbacks are always favorites to win this award, I only have Jones at number two, but I think he will have a monstrous season. Last year he led the league in receiving yards until he got hurt and I believe in similar production if not even better.
3. Percy Harvin: There’s a reason he was an MVP candidate two years ago until he got hurt – he can make plays from anywhere on the field and defenses fear him. Just ask the Green Bay Packers. The Seahawks will try to give him the ball a lot and he won’t disappoint them.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
1. Brandin Cooks: If you just read what I said about Drew Brees and the Saints offense and if you’ve watched Cooks at Oregon State and in the preseason you have to think he will be in the conversation for this award. Athletic, hard worker and a part of the New Orleans offense – he will turn it up!
2. Sammy Watkins: He’s one of only four players in NCAA history to be named All-American as a freshman. He just looks like a complete football player – fast, strong hands, intelligent and fearless. If that hip doesn’t bother him over the course of the season E.J. Manuel might have found a new best friend.
3. Bishop Sankey: He’s a strong runner who can bounce it outside and has a flair for the big play. I truly believe he’s an upgrade over Chris Johnson. That Tennessee offensive line is pretty good and Sankey wonn’t hesitate hitting the right hole at the right time as soon as Ken Whisenhunt decides to put the ball in his hands.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
1. C.J. Mosley: This might have been the best first round pick of this year’s draft. Last year I don’t there was any college inside linebacker in the nation even close to playing that consistenly great. Taking over the spot of a legend like Ray Lewis in Baltimore is definitely not easy, but the Ravens might have found their new star middle linebacker of the future.
2. Jadeveon Clowney: I’m done telling people how special he is. Just watch him!
3. Ryan Shazier: That Steeler D needed some young talent and boy did they get some. A guy at his size running a 4.36 in the 40 yard dash is unreal. Just like that preseason game he had against the Bills. I expect him to make a ton of big plays this year and really shine on that defense.
Coach of the Year:
1. Mike McCoy: He had an argument to win the award last year for taking the Chargers to the playoffs when nobody believed he could. This season he will get his team to take another step and fight with the Broncos for the AFC West crown.
2. Bill O’Brien: He will try to repeat what Andy Reid did in Kansas City last year and while it might not be easy, he has a chance to do so if he gets decent quarterback play. That defense just looks different with Brian Cushing on the field and the Watt-Clowney duo will create some havoc. O’Brian just has to get that offense going.
3. Jim Harbaugh: A better balance between offense and defense for the Niners will give them edge over most teams this year. I think Kap will take his game to another level and Patrick Willis will lead an aggressive defense featuring some new young guys. San Francisco might once again be the team to beat.