The Packers' Most Likely Postseason Award Candidates for 2014 Season

Bob FoxContributor IJune 6, 2014

The Packers' Most Likely Postseason Award Candidates for 2014 Season

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    Mark Von Holden/Associated Press

    When it came to winning one of the major awards that NFL hands out after the close of the 2013 regular season, the Green Bay Packers only had one winner.

    That was running back Eddie Lacy, who won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Lacy had a banner year, as he had 1,178 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, plus he caught 35 passes for 257 more yards.

    Lacy became the first player on the Packers to win that award since running back John Brockington did in 1971.

    The Packers did receive another award, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers was awarded the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year award for throwing the thrilling, last-minute 48-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Randall Cobb in the Week 17 showdown between the Packers and Bears for the right to win the NFC North.

    But for this slideshow, I am going to focus on the major awards given out after the season and which members of the Packers could win them.

NFL MVP: Aaron Rodgers

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    Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

    Aaron Rodgers already won the NFL MVP award with his magnificent season in 2011. That year, Rodgers threw 45 touchdown passes versus just six picks for 4,643 yards. That all adds up to an astonishing 122.5 quarterback rating, which is still the best mark in the history of the NFL.

    Rodgers has not played that much differently since the 2011 season, as he has thrown 56 touchdown passes versus 14 interceptions for 6,831 yards in 25 games. His combined quarterback rating during that time was 106.5.

    When it comes to quarterback ratings, Rodgers has the best all-time mark in NFL history with a 104.9 mark. That is based on his career numbers, which include 188 touchdown passes versus just 52 picks for 24,197 yards.

    In 2014, Rodgers should be running the most balanced offense that he has ever run in his time in Green Bay. No. 12 will have weapons galore to use in the passing game, which will be helped out by the strong running game that the Packers now have.

    It's possible that Rodgers could have his best season ever in this offense and that would definitely warrant NFL MVP consideration.

NFL Defensive Player of the Year: Clay Matthews

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Linebacker Clay Matthews narrowly missed winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2010, when he was edged out by safety Troy Polamalu of the Steelers. Matthews had to settle for the Sporting News Defensive player of the Year that year.

    In 2010, Matthews had 60 tackles, 13.5 sacks, one interception (for a touchdown) and two forced fumbles.

    If Matthews can stay healthy in 2014, he has a reasonable chance to perhaps win the award he came so close to winning in 2010.

    In the three years since, Matthews has 134 tackles, 26.5 sacks, three interceptions (one for a touchdown) and has forced seven fumbles. The problem is that No. 52 has missed 10 games over the past three seasons.

    Matthews seems to have hamstring issues pop up every year, and a broken thumb forced him from action for five games last season.

    If healthy in 2014, Matthews should have a real chance to contend for the award again, as the talent around him has never been better from a pass-rushing perspective. That talent includes Julius Peppers, Mike Neal, Mike Daniels, Datone Jones and Nick Perry.

    That surrounding cast should allow more one-on-one opportunities for Matthews as he rushes the passer.

    In addition to all that, Matthews has become a very well-rounded linebacker and has improved his ability to stop the run and play in coverage.

NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    In 2013, not one of the safeties of the Packers had an interception. Not one. That hasn't happened in over 60 years.

    That's why rookie safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix only needs one interception in his rookie season to be a statistical improvement over any Green Bay safety from last year. The bar is set that low.

    I believe he will do much better than just one interception. I also think veteran Morgan Burnett will play much better at the other safety spot opposite Clinton-Dix.

    Plus, I expect an improvement from the entire secondary when it comes to pass defense.

    Why? I expect the Packers to have a much better pass rush this season. That normally leads to excellent opportunities in the secondary, especially at the safety position.

    Clinton-Dix is exceptional at tracking the football, which he proved over the past two seasons at Alabama.

    I expect No. 21 to have a very solid rookie campaign and to be fast on the learning curve. How many interceptions will that mean this season? That's difficult to say, but I would not be shocked if he has as many as six picks in 2014.

    If that indeed happens, he will get the notoriety to be included in the conversation about the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014.

NFL Comeback Player of the Year: Randall Cobb

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Wide receiver Randall Cobb only played in six games in 2013 because of a leg injury suffered in Week 6, but when he played he was dynamite.

    In those six games, Cobb had 31 receptions for 433 yards and four touchdowns. Two of those touchdowns occurred in the Week 17 showdown between the Packers and Bears for the right to win the NFC North.

    The last touchdown pass Cobb caught was epic, as he hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers on a 4th-and-8 play with just 38 seconds to go in the game.

    If you prorate Cobb's stats for last year, he would have had 83 receptions for 1,155 yards and 11 touchdowns had he been able to play the entire season.

    That type of season in 2014 could garner him support to win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.

    Cobb should have plenty of opportunities this season, as Rodgers will have a number of talented options to throw to. For that reason, there will be less double coverage at times for Cobb, as the secondary can't double-team all the receiving threats that the Packers can utilize.

    Besides Cobb, other players who would be in consideration for this award include Rodgers and Matthews.