NFL Midseason Awards

Scott BarbineCorrespondent INovember 2, 2008

Halfway through the 2008 NFL season, it's midseason award time.

MVP: Clinton Portis (Running Back, Washington Redskins)

Portis has been quietly putting together a monster season.  Through eight games, he has had 944 rushing yards along with seven rushing touchdowns, all while averaging five yards per carry. 

The Skins running back is the catalyst for the surprising Washington team, and without him they wouldn't be nearly as successful.

If Portis can remain healthy and keep his numbers up for the rest of the season, Portis will end with his best season by far in his seven-year career.

Offensive Player of the Year: Drew Brees (Quarterback, New Orleans Saints)

With the way Brees has been playing this year, Dan Marino's record of 5,084 yards is in danger. With 2,563 yards through eight games, Brees is on pace to throw for 5,126, a number that would break Marino's all-time single season passing record.

Not only has Brees been passing for big yards, he also has 15 touchdowns compared to only seven interceptions, and a passer rating of 101.6.

If Brees breaks Marino's record, it will be nearly impossible to give the award to anyone else.

Defensive Player of the Year: Albert Haynesworth (Defensive Tackle, Tennessee Titans)

The defensive line of the 8-0 Titans is anchored to the 320-pound, 6'6'' monster in the middle.  Defensive tackles don't rake in big stats because their main job is to stuff the run and take multiple blocks from the offensive line.  Haynesworth has done this better than anyone this year. 

With six sacks through the half-way point, Haynesworth has already matched his career high from a year ago.

Offenses cannot game plan on how they won't get hurt by Haynesworth, but how he will hurt them the least.  With Haynesworth constantly breaking through double teams, the quarterback's only worry is Big Al coming at him.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Chris Johnson (Running Back, Tennessee Titans)

There were a lot of people questioning the Titans' pick of Johnson with the 24th overall pick in the draft.  It appears the Titans knew what they were doing.

Johnson leads the AFC in rushing with 715 yards.  Even with teammate LenDale White scoring the majority of the touchdowns, Johnson still has managed to find the end zone six times, rushing five of them.

The tremendous speed and ability to change directions on a dime have made the transition from college to the pros simple for Johnson.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Chris Horton (Safety, Washington Redskins)

The 249th overall pick in the draft has proved to be a heck of a value.  Through seven games, Horton is tied among rookies with three interceptions and has added 37 total tackles, which ties him for fifth.

After last year's tragedy of losing Sean Taylor, the Redskins needed a new safety.  It looks like they found a good one.

Although no one can replace Sean Taylor, Horton is doing a good job of easing into the role.

Coach of the Year: Jeff Fisher (Tennessee Titans)

When your team is the only unbeaten team remaining, it's tough to make the argument for anyone else.  Fisher is the longest tenured coach with his current team, and it seems like he enjoys the game more and more every week.

The ultimate "glue" coach, Fisher always seems to find a way to rally his team to win while facing adversity.  Whether it be a scuffle between teammates (Keith Bulluck and Cortland Finnegan in week five) or having his team come back from a deficit, Fisher is by far this year's coach of the year.

Best Story of the Year: Atlanta Falcons

After last year's drama-filled season, things could only have gotten better for Arthur Blank's franchise, and they've been better than expected.

Michael Vick's arrest and Bobby Petrino's midseason runaway created a dismal season for the Falcons.  But hope was on the horizon.

With rookie Matt Ryan, free agent pick up Michael Turner, the emergence of wide-out Roddy White, and the will to win of new head coach Mike Smith, Atlanta is contending for a playoff spot this year. 

Second Best Story of the Year: Kurt Warner (Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals)

The 37-year-old Warner is having a season reminiscent of his MVP days in St. Louis.  Second in the league with 2,431, the Arizona quarterback is leading the way to what seems a playoff berth.

Since 2002, Warner's career has been swaying in the balance.  Uncertainty surrounding his arm strength and even if he could just hold onto the ball, brought up questions of whether it was worth it for Warner to resume his career.

I'd say it's been worth it. 

With a 104.2 quarterback rating and an almost guaranteed 300 yards passing per game, Warner is looking young again.

It's a great sight to see.

Disappointment of the Year: Dallas Cowboys

Many considered the Cowboys a Super Bowl contender going into the year. Now they are desperate just to make a playoff run.

At 5-4, the Cowboys find themselves tied for last in the NFC East. They have a bye this week and it couldn't have come at a better time.  Tony Romo will be returning from his finger injury and the Cowboys will be getting much needed rest.

It seems as though Wade Phillips is losing control of his team and it's only a matter of time before T.O. becomes the T.O. of old.

I'm hoping they can turn things around because they are far too talented to be in their situation.

Well halfway through the season we've seen a lot of unexpected things.  Let's hope the second half gives us just as much excitement.


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