2011 NFL Awards

Posted: January 4, 2012 by vindanton in Pro Sports

By Vin D’Anton

Another regular season gone…ugh, so depressing; but because it is over, that means there are awards to be handed out! So, before the Associated Press gives out there awards (or snafus), I thought your favorite little blog writer would beat them to it. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you…the First Annual D’Anton’s Den NFL Awards.

Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers: Quarterback-Green Bay Packers: Brett who? Just kidding, I still love Favre. Now, you will hear the argument for Drew Brees (and rightfully so), but he doesn’t deserve it nearly as much as the new “A-Rod” (who is actually consistent). After winning a Super Bowl last season, he and the Cheeseheads comeback and go 15-1 without missing a beat…on offense. The fact that the Packers defense is so bad gives him the award. They have allowed the most passing yardage in the history of the league…yikes! His passer rating of 122.5 (and NFL record) and 45 touchdowns to six interceptions is unreal. Have to mention this though…did Matt Flynn show that it is the system?

Offensive Player of the Year: Drew Brees: Quarterback-New Orleans Saints: Breaking Dan Marino’s passing record is enough for me, and 47 touchdowns as well (Led NFL). He has done it for a couple of years now and has been the most consistent in the league. He makes guys around him better (just asked guys like Lance Moore and Robert Meachem) and he is undersized. His road stats are atrocious compared to his home stats, but the numbers don’t lie for an award like this.

Defensive Player of the Year: Jason Pierre-Paul: Defensive End-New York Giants: I know there are a bunch of other guys that could have gotten this. Also, I understand that the Giants defense is bad…but that doesn’t take away the season this guy has had. He posted 86 tackles this season; that is the most by a defensive lineman since 1995. That alone is impressive in an era where defensive ends are used mostly as edge rushers. Add in the 16.5 sacks on a team where they have a bullpen of pass rushers that rotate and all the other incredible things he has done in only his second year, the young defensive end deserves it.  

Head Coach of the Year: Jim Schwartz-Detroit Lions: It kills me not to give it to Marvin Lewis (and Jim Harbaugh will most likely get the real award) but the Lions, I repeat THE LIONS are going to the playoffs after an 11 year drought; also throw in their first above .500 record since 1997. Truly remarkable. This team was 0-16 in 2008 and Schwartz took an impossible job. With his confidence and swagger (that his team has taken on as well), Schwartz has done simply the most impossible thing in sports…take the Detroit Lions to the playoffs.

Comeback Player of the Year: Alex Smith: Quarterback-San Francisco 49ers: In this past year’s draft, Niner fans were all jacked up when they saw their team take Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second round (and I’m sure some hoped they’d be bad enough so Harbaugh and Andrew Luck could reunite). Alex Smith was convinced by Harbaugh to stay…and he did. He wasn’t even guaranteed the job, and unlike most athletes who would moan and groan their way out of town, he stayed and shut people up. He has confidence now and some pretty good receivers. The stats aren’t sexy, but 13 wins and a second seed is sexy enough for me. He wins one playoff game, and the Peyton Manning trade talk flies out the window.

Rookie of the Year: Andy Dalton: Quarterback-Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals were expected to take about five million steps backwards this year and the year after that. Instead, they have leaped forward. They are playoff bound and they play in the now three headed monster AFC North. Dalton has a quiet confidence and knows how to win in a small environment (i.e. TCU). Bengals fans may not think of Carson Palmer ever again, and Dalton has a heck of chance to do something Palmer never done…win a playoff game. “The Jungle” is back in Cincy.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Cam Newton: Quarterback-Carolina Panthers: Cam! Woe Cam! Unbelievable. I never thought he would be this good even ten years from now. He breaks two records in his first NFL season. One-most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season (14) and two-he broke the great Peyton Manning’s record for most passing yards by a rookie (4,051). The sky is the limit for this kid and that franchise (and fan base) is ecstatic about the future. He better hope offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski stays a while longer.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aldon Smith: Defensive End-San Francisco 49ers: You don’t win in this league without a pass rush, and the Niners may have locked up a franchise player at the defensive end position for years to come. Smith piled up 14 sacks in his rookie campaign and forced two fumbles. Some will argue that having two outstanding linebackers and a great fellow defensive lineman help, but who cares. 14 sacks is incredible…he was half a sack shy of tying Jevon Kearse’s rookie record.

General Manager of the Year: Cincinnati Bengals Front Office: They don’t have an actual GM, but Owner Mike Brown’s children (including his daughter Katie Blackburn) run the show at their respected positions. They stayed put in the draft and drafted Dalton and Pro Bowler A.J. Green. Also, after losing cornerback Jonathan Joseph to the Texans, they sign veteran Nate Clements. They also lost another corner Leon Hall midway through the season to injury, but guys like Adam “Pacman” Jones stepped up. Also, with signings like safety Reggie Nelson and linebackers Manny Lawson and Thomas Howard, they have the 7th ranked Defense in football. Also, have to mention the fact that they were loyal to Marvin Lewis and his staff.  


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