The NFL Midseason Awards Show
As the NFL reaches the mid point of this bizarre 2009 season, we are witnessing a huge drop off of good and not as good teams.
The long line of teams struggling is not a good thing for the NFL, and this will probably be brought up as the league tries to get a new collective bargaining agreement with the players before the 2010 season begins.
There has been some good news in the league, and most of that has come from excellent play on the gridiron. I decided to have an awards ceremony, which I hope you enjoy.
Most Valuable Player: Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts
The main reason the Colts are undefeated after seven games is Manning. Not just from his exceptional play on the field, but also his leadership.
The Colts have made a virtually unnoticeable change of head coaches, especially not an easy task when you consider the previous coach led the team to a Super Bowl win not long ago.
The Colts have also struggled to find a running game, as well as deal with several significant injuries.
The team has not had a hard schedule yet, but Manning's 15 touchdowns versus four interceptions has carried the team a long way, as has his 109.3 quarterback rating.
His molding of the Colts young receivers is more proof of Manning's insatiable drive and dedication to perfection and especially victory.
Least Valuable Player: Jake Delhomme, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers
What are the Panthers getting from their 11th year veteran and his $6 million dollar a year contract? Five touchdowns against 13 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 59.3.
Carolina has run the ball well, which is amazing considering none of their opponents respect their passing game.
Delhomme is basically a fat millionaire being paid to hand the ball off all game while praying that will get his team a win.
This strategy has gotten two of the teams three wins, because Delhomme completed 16 out of 31 attempts total in those victories. If Carolina had a quarterback, they might be doing better than their 3-4 record.
Rookie of the Year: Michael Oher, Offensive Tackle, Baltimore Ravens
Oher was a man who amazingly fell into the laps of the Ravens laps of the 2009 NFL Draft.
On that day, he stated he would make all the teams who had a chance to get him, regret passing on him. He probably has on quite a few already.
Oher earned the starting job at right tackle immediately, and was standing out as the Ravens won their first three games.
When starting left tackle Jared Gaither was injured in a loss to the New England Patriots in the fourth game, Oher slid right over into Gaither's spot to protect quarterback Joe Flacco's blind side.
All Oher did was play two solid weeks after that at one of the toughest positions on the field. His shutting down All-Pro Jared Allen, in the Ravens loss to the Minnesota Vikings, was given notice by many of the league's pundits.
Gaither is back now, so Oher had gone back to the right side to continue his excellent play. He has given up only two sacks all season, which is excellent for any lineman at this point of the season.
If you really want to learn about this man, then see a movie on his life premiering on Nov. 20, 2009, titled, "The Blind Side."
NOT Rookie of the Year: B.J. Raji, Nose Tackle, Green Bay Packers
You could also look at Buffalo Bills Aaron Maybin's six tackles thus far, or Cleveland Browns Alex Mack's struggles right now, or New Orleans Saints Malcolm Jenkins one tackle so far as well.
Raji was the ninth player chosen overall in the 2009 draft, and the second defensive player chosen.
His pick was one of necessity, because the Packers had just switched to a 3-4 defense and needed the all important position of nose tackle filled.
Raji was considered the type who could dominate the position, which can take a 3-4 defense a very long way.
He did not play in the first two games of the season, and has played sparingly since.
Raji has given Green Bay just eight tackles thus far, and this is not what the Packers had hoped for.
Raji's purported ability to stop the run is much needed, because the Packers have given up 262 rushing yards in two of their three losses thus far.
Coach of the Year: Josh McDaniels, Head Coach, Denver Broncos
One thing you might imagine is McDaniels whistling the song, "I did it my way". He has.
McDaniels walked into Denver just a few months ago and told everyone it was his way or the highway. The first to hit the highway was their star quarterback Jay Cutler.
He then announced he only had 30 players on his draft board, and he actually got the guys he wanted in moves that were widely criticized by Broncos fans.
It got to the point that several of the fans were calling for his firing before he even stepped onto the field.
Those critics are quieted now by the muzzle of victory. McDaniels has totally turned around the team in every facet almost. The smartest move he may have made was getting Mike Nolan to coach his defense.
Denver had one of the lower echelon defenses in the NFL for several previous seasons, but this has not been the case in 2009.
This team wins because of defense, and is calling on the ghosts of the "Orange Crush" days. They are the second-best team in points allowed so far.
The one part of the team that McDaniels would like to improve is offense, where the team is now 20th in scoring.
Many teams tend to struggle in a new offensive philosophy the first season, but Denver's 6-1 record thus far belies that theory.
As the team becomes more comfortable with McDaniels play calling, with the defense doing what it has done so far, it is not unfathomable that the Broncos could win the AFC West this year.
Un-Coach of the Year : Jim Zorn, Head Coach, Washington Redskins
Zorn came into Washington, D.C. last year as a quarterbacks coach with no other experience other than the fact he was a quarterback in the NFL in the 1970's.
After a fast start of 6-2 in 2008, with players from the Joe Gibbs Era, the team has gone 4-11 since. One of the main reasons was Zorn's obvious lack of confidence in his play calling and his players.
Now Zorn has been reduced to basically a cheerleader who shakes a clipboard, because the Redskins hired Sherman Lewis from a bingo parlor a few weeks ago to call the plays for the team now.
Zorn's abilities as a quarterbacks coach have also come into question, because Jason Campbell has seemed to have regressed under Zorn's tutelage.
It seems inevitable that Zorn will be fired at the end of the season, but he actually already has been in a way.
Comeback Player of the Year: Jason Taylor, Linebacker, Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady may get all the love for this award at season's end, but what Jason Taylor is doing right now is nothing short of amazing.
Taylor is a 35-year-old man playing in his 13th season in the NFL who will be in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame one day.
The six-time Pro Bowler had left the Miami Dolphins after the 2007 season, despite having 11 quarterback sacks that year.
He went to the Washington Redskins in 2008, and soon appeared to be yet another of a long line of washed-up players that Redskins Vice President for Football Operations Vinny Cerrato had wasted more draft picks on.
Taylor, who had just appeared on the hit television show "Dancing With The Stars," seemed to have an eye on Hollywood and little interest in football.
This showed in Washington, where he started in just eight of the 13 games he played, while getting just 3.5 sacks.
It was his lowest sack total since 1999, and his best days seemed far behind him on the gridiron. Hollywood seemed inevitable.
He put those ideas on hold, and decided to go back to Miami this season. To make things more difficult for him, the long time defensive end was now being asked to play the linebacker position.
Taylor has responded with six sacks in seven games so far. He also has forced two fumbles, and scored his ninth career touchdown after taking a third quarter fumble 48 yards in the Dolphins win over the New York Jets.
If he maintains this pace, you may be seeing Taylor make his seventh Pro Bowl at season's end.
Go Away Player of the Year: Larry Johnson, Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs
Johnson's end was seen a few years ago. He had obviously lost a step from injuries due to being grossly over-used. Though he rebounded nicely in 2008 by averaging 4.5 yards a carry, he still missed four games.
This season has seen LJ average a dismal 2.7 yards a carry thus far. It isn't all his fault. The blocking has generally been putrid for the Chiefs this year, and a running back is only as good as his offensive line.
He is in the last year of a contract that pays him 3.6 million dollars. It is most likely his last big pay day as a player, and surely his last days with the Chiefs.
When he looks for a new team to play with in 2010, he will be offered back up money, because he most likely will be relegated to being such a player until he retires.
Johnson doesn't help his cause with his actions off the field either. Such is the life of an NFL running back when they hit the wall, and refuse to fade with class and dignity.