Now that we have officially reached the midseason mark of the 2009 NFL season, I will now present my selections for all of the major NFL awards at this point in the NFL season:
His great head coach is gone. His Hall of Fame wide receiver is gone. His defense was supposed to be too small. His kicker is out with an injury.
And yet, Peyton Manning has led his team to an undefeated record at the midway point in the season. I won’t even list his numbers, because as good as they are they don’t even do him justice.
Peyton Manning is the NFL’s MVP, and may one day be recognized as the best quarterback of all time.
Offensive Player of the Year: Matt Schaub (Houston Texans, QB)
This is absolutely no question that Matt Schaub is the most underrated player in the NFL today. Currently, he leads the league with 2,653 passing yards, and his 17 passing touchdowns and 98.1 passer rating are right along the top as well.
He’ll lose out on the MVP award largely because of what Peyton Manning means to his team, but it can be argued that no quarterback has played better than Matt Schaub thus far in the season.
Defensive Player of the Year: Darren Sharper (New Orleans Saints, FS)
He leads the league with seven interceptions and has completely transformed the New Orleans Saints defense. That looks like a defensive player of the year to me.
Special Teams Player of the Year: Josh Cribbs (Cleveland Browns, KR/WR)
In 2009 thus far, Josh Cribbs has put together one of the most well rounded special teams performances in recent memory.
As of this date, Cribbs has recorded a touchdown on both a kick return and punt return, as well as three tackles as a gunner on special teams. Not to mention, Cribbs has managed to do all of this while playing wide receiver and wild cat quarterback at the same time.
What more could you ask the guy to do?
Rookie of the Year: Jairus Byrd (Buffalo Bills, FS)
Talk about name discrimination.
While Darren Sharper is making a name for himself as the best defensive player in the league this year due to his big time interceptions, Byrd has just as many picks as Sharper and only three less tackles. This award belongs to Byrd, hands down.
Despite having a comeback of sorts last year, there is no question that Brett Favre did not meet his lofty expectations by season’s end. However, with 16 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions thus far on the season, Favre is suddenly having one of the best seasons of his career.
If Brett can hold up through the end of the season, this award is his.
Breakout Player of the Year: Cedric Benson (Cincinnati Bengals, RB)
Last year, Cedric Benson was being looked at as a monumental bust after being released by the Bears several years after his first round selection in the NFL draft. However, things have changed since his arrival in Cincinnati, as Benson now boasts 837 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns at the half way point in the season.
I don’t think anyone would have said this at the beginning of the season, but expect to see Benson in the Pro Bowl as season’s end.
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