Things are looking up for Alualu.
It's May 15, and that means it's time for end of the year awards for the 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars
No. It's not.
It couldn't be less time for those awards.
What's the point in giving out fake awards nearly four months before the season starts? It's a great way to establish expectations for the year. I'm a big believer in creating reasonable targets and seeing if players are able to hit them.
I demand that all of you treat these awards with the same solemnity and seriousness that I do.
Here's what I expect out of key Jags in 2012:
The South Park Award (Offensive MVP)
Some people manage to be offensive despite years of doing the same thing over and over. That's Maurice Jones-Drew to a T. He's the Jaguars' best player, and I fear the prime of his career has been wasted. I don't expect the Jags to be a winning team in 2012, but I do expect MoJo to continue steamrolling the opposition.
The Troy Polamalu Award (Defensive MVP)
This one goes to Tyson Alualu. I would love to see that awards-show introduction: Alualu, Polamalu. Polamalu, Alualu. Have you met Jones-Drew? I think Alualu is on the spot this year, and can and will be a difference maker on the defensive line for the Jags.
Haley Joel Osment Award (Rookie of the Year)
Haley Joel Osment isn't a rookie anymore, but he's really only famous for what he did when he was, so I'm totally counting it. We'll talk when he does another big-time role, OK? I'm spending way too much time parsing out HJO (his new official nickname that I just coined two minutes ago), because my pick here is Justin Blackmon. Honestly, even if he just meets his expectations, he will likely be the best wideout the Jags have. There's no way he doesn't win this.
The Los Angeles Clippers Award (Most Improved Player)
Eben Britton has spent most of his career battling injuries, so if he can ever manage to stay on the field, he should be able to show that he was worth the second round pick the Jaguars spent on him. His play has been inconsistent, but incumbent right tackle Guy Whimper may well be the worst player in football. When you are used to crap, anything feels like an upgrade.
The CSI: Miami Award (Most Likely to Get Cut)
I'm going to cheat here, but I think it goes to Gene Smith. He's had a good long run. After this many seasons, it's pretty clear that things aren't getting better. I think Jacksonville is limited at quarterback, and another mediocre season is going to lead to the end of the Smith Era. I don't think he's a bad talent evaluator, but he missed on his biggest call of all and that will cost him his job.
The Jags' schedule does not set up well. Most of their winnable games are on the road, and that means they could improve and still only win five games. Another 5-11 season will not cut it.
The Killing Award (Biggest Disappointment)
Not all good ideas work out. I hung with the Killing for a long time, trusting in the track record of AMC. I just kept thinking, "This has to get better right?" It didn't ever get better. Its ceiling was mediocre, and its floor made it the worst show on television.
So come on down, Blaine Gabbert. This one is for you. I think he'll play better than he did in his rookie year, but I don't think he's very good or very talented. His absolute ceiling as a player is the 20th-best quarterback in the league.