Which Kansas City Chiefs Players Will Be Candidates for League Awards?
With Andy Reid as the head coach of the team, the Chiefs are being held to higher standards going into the 2013 season. With a new coaching staff and a strong group of individual players, Chiefs fans can look forward to seeing some of their favorite players be nominees for certain awards.
Which Chiefs players will be candidates for awards? Read through this slideshow and let me know your thoughts below.
Most Valuable Player
For Kansas City, it has two players, one on offense and one on defense, that it can't go without. The Chiefs will go into this year relying on a lot of players to help turn the franchise around. But as far as MVP voting goes, expect these players to be considered.
When Jamaal Charles was lost for a majority of the 2011 season, the Chiefs fell just one game short of repeating as AFC West champions, finishing with a 7-9 record. Had Charles been healthy that season, could that have made a difference in a couple of games? Possibly so. Even during a two-win season, Chiefs fans tuned in to watch Charles dominate.
Charles will have a unique role in Reid's offense. Without him, the offense will have a hard time finding the end zone and moving the chains.
OLB Tamba Hali
Since Jared Allen was traded away before the 2008 season, Tamba Hali filled in as the team's primary and most reliable pass-rusher. Today, Hali is one of the most dominant pass-rushers and among one of the most-feared defensive players by quarterbacks.
Defensive players are rarely considered for this award, but if any happen to be a candidate this year, it shouldn't be a surprise if Hali is one of the few.
Rookie of the Year
Similar to defensive players and their chances of winning an MVP award, offensive linemen are ousted when it comes to winning Rookie of the Year. Even when the Associated Press breaks up its awards to an offensive and defensive player, offensive linemen are rarely considered, and in the end, they don't win.
If there is a chance of an offensive lineman taking the award, this year could be the year. The 2013 NFL draft wasn't as highly touted as past drafts. With two offensive linemen being taken with the first two picks and three in the first four, it could happen. The chances are still low but better than before since offensive linemen were highly coveted.
The first four offensive players drafted were offensive linemen, and six of the first seven were either a tackle or guard. Will the candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year be different from years past?
T Eric Fisher
Don't get me wrong, Eric Fisher's chances are still low. But he's the top pick of the draft, and the Chiefs didn't draft another player until the third round.
In a year where there were no dominant quarterbacks, running backs or wide receivers in this year's draft, maybe an offensive lineman can sneak his way to winning the award for best offensive rookie.
If this turns out to be the case, expect Fisher's name to be tossed as a nominee.
Comeback Player of the Year
The Comeback Player of the Year award is given to a player returning from injury or a player rebounding from a bad season. With the Chiefs finishing at 2-14, players who underperformed on the team are surely nominees for this award.
QB Alex Smith
Alex Smith was on a different team last year, but after missing a game due to injury, the San Francisco 49ers were impressed with Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick started the rest of the way for the 49ers, keeping Smith on the sidelines even while healthy.
Now that Smith is returning with a second chance, he could win the award if he has a good first year with the Chiefs.
WR Dwayne Bowe
Dwayne Bowe has proven to be one of the better receivers in the league. But last year was Bowe's worst season. His three touchdowns all came late in contests when games were already decided during blowouts.
Bowe, who said earlier this year he'd lead the league in catches and touchdowns, has the most reliable quarterback he's ever had since joining the Chiefs in 2007. If Smith and Bowe have a good connection, Bowe is a candidate for winning Comeback Player of the Year and perhaps compete against his own teammate for the award.
Most Improved Player
Unlike the NBA, neither the NFL nor the Associated Press has an award for the most improved player. However, some media outlets like Pro Football Weekly will announce who it thinks is the most improved player.
Can a player in Kansas City catch the eye of some media outlets this year and be labeled as the most improved?
DE Tyson Jackson
Tyson Jackson was taken third overall in the 2009 draft, but his impact on the team has been small. Up until last year, Jackson made some noise on the field when he finished third in sacks and had his best year as a defensive end.
Jackson impressed Reid this offseason, which surprised many Chiefs fans. If Jackson can turn last year's flash into consistency throughout the 2013 season, he'll remove the bust label and possibly earn himself more years in Kansas City.
Offensive Player of the Year
After an abysmal two-win season with an offense limited throughout the season, the offense should be better in 2013. The Kansas City Chiefs don’t have a lot of dominant players on offense, but there are two who stand out the most.
RB Jamaal Charles
Charles is going to get a lot of touches this year and will collect a lot of yards on the ground and through the air. With Charles' speed, the Chiefs can go far with him. As far as individual success goes, Charles will be recognized as one of the more explosive players in the league. If Charles is taking advantage of every carry and every catch, he may become one of the most valuable players in the league.
WR Dwayne Bowe
It's hard to see Bowe as a legitimate candidate for this spot. However, if he returns to his 2010 form and stays consistent the entire season, he will be one of the most feared wide receivers by cornerbacks. By then, he will be one of the top offensive players in the league. If he steps up, stays consistent and remains focused, Bowe will be viewed as a player worthy of this award.
Defensive Player of the Year
Kansas City's defense had some defining moments last year despite being just a two-win team. While a 2-14 record made the Chiefs the worst in the league, it didn't stop fans from voting four players from Kansas City's defense into the Pro Bowl. The Chiefs have one of the top defenses in the league and have a couple of players who can make a push for winning the award for Defensive Player of the Year.
ILB Derrick Johnson
Derrick Johnson continues to play at a high level and makes plays all over the field for the Chiefs. He can stop the run, pressure the quarterback and create turnovers. Now that he has played in the past two Pro Bowls, Johnson is viewed as one of the top defensive players.
If Johnson can bounce back, put last year behind him and improve, he could be a defensive player who stands out from others and be considered for Defensive Player of the Year.
OLB Tamba Hali
As a three-time Pro Bowler, Hali has made it his mission to not allow opposing quarterbacks to feel comfortable. He's done a good job of disrupting an offensive game plan and forcing quarterbacks to go into panic mode. Hali will continue to go after quarterbacks, but if his impact helps Kansas City's record, he will be a strong candidate to be named the best defensive player.