NFL Awards Week 1: Who Are Front Runners For All Major Awards?
As the nation mourned the memory of the September 11th attacks one decade later, the league did the same with a special tribute simultaneously for all the early afternoon games.
Jet fly-overs, memorial tributes and giant football field sized American flags were all on display. It was a touching moment that paid great memory to this Nation's darkest day in history.
Something happened that made this a good day though; the rest of the league kicked off their first regular season games of the 2011 NFL season.
As expected, with emotions high and fans rabid to have their favorite sport back, the NFL delivered with some amazing performances.
Now, I realize it's a little early to be talking about MVPs and play of the year awards, so let's look at this like a power ranking more than actually awarding the hardware after only sixty minutes of play for each player.
Most Valuable Player
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Let's start off with the big enchilada here, the league's most valuable player. In my preseason predictions I listed Philip Rivers as my favorite to win this award by season's end.
And Rivers did have an impressive debut in leading the Chargers to a comeback victory over the Vikings, but I'm going to have to go with Saints quarterback Drew Brees over him and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Yes, I realize that Aaron Rodgers had the hot start and he looked like a surgeon against Brees' Saints on Thursday night, but Drew kept New Orleans in that game almost single-handedly.
If not for his amazing night that comprised of 419 yards and three touchdowns, that Saints are never in a position to tie the game on the last play.
The definition of the award is the player that is the most valuable to their team. With the Saints defense getting carved up, the Packers might have hung sixty on them without Brees keeping them in it.
MVP after week one: Drew Brees, QB, Saints (419 yds passing, 3 TD)
Honorable Mention: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers (312 yds, 3 TD)
Offensive Player of the Year
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We all knew that if Stafford was able to stay healthy this season, he has all the tools to put up some gaudy numbers and in week one, he didn't disappoint.
Sure, some other quarterbacks put up some bigger numbers than him, but the Stafford to Calvin Johnson connection has the tools to be the best duo in the league by the end of the season.
This is why I'm putting him at the top of this category at the end of week one over Jay Cutler of the Bears who had a stellar day after being torn apart by the media all week who are questioning his leadership abilities.
He shredded the Falcons defense for a big day and a huge win in Chicago. I wanted to go with Panthers receiver Steve Smith who had a huge day, but ultimately I tend to go with quarterbacks in this category.
Offensive Player of The Year: Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions (305 yds, 3 TD)
Honorable Mention: Jay Cutler, QB, Bears (312 yds, 2 TD)
Defensive Player of the Year
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My pick earlier this week for defensive player of the year was for the unstoppable Ndamukong Suh of the Lions, and while he didn't play poorly in week one, Terrell Suggs just killed it.
If I could, I would give this award to the Baltimore Ravens defense, which turned the ball over seven times, as a whole.
But Suggs was especially efficient with his three sacks and two forced fumbles.
He gets the nod narrowly over Mario Williams of the Texans who had two sacks and a forced fumble during his first game playing a new position.
Defensive Player of The Year: Terrell Suggs, LB, Ravens (3 sacks, 2 FF)
Honorable Mention: Mario Williams, LB, Texans (2 sacks, 1 FF)
Offensive Rookie of the Year
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My pick in the preseason for offensive rookie of the year was Julio Jones of the Falcons, but Atlanta stunk it up as a unit today and Julio had a decent day.
But how can anyone deny how good Cam Newton looked in his NFL debut in Carolina?
Newton had the greatest statistical debut for a rookie quarterback in NFL history with 422 yards passing, shattering Otto Graham's previous record of 346.
I realize that Arizona isn't exactly the Steel Curtain or anything on defense, but to deny Newton's debut would just be ridiculous.
Cam and Steve Smith appear to already have their timing down and look to be a lethal combination for NFL defenses. I think it's safe to say that Carolina has certainly found their quarterback of the present.
For an honorable mention, I have to give some love to Packers rookie Randall Cobb who electrified a national viewing audience on Thursday night with only two catches, but two scores and a highlight reel kickoff return for a touchdown.
Offensive Rookie of The Year: Cam Newton, QB, Panthers (422 yds, 2 TD)
Honorable Mention: Randall Cobb, WR/KR, Packers (167 total yds, 2 TD)
Defensive Rookie of the Year
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My pick for defensive rookie of the year last week was Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, and he had a decent debut against the Colts.
This is why I'm going to go ahead and stick with my pick here. Watt and the Texans defensive front wreaked havoc in the Colts backfield all afternoon and he was in on every play.
It may sound cliché, but the guy has a motor like you can't believe. No taking plays off for the youngster from Wisconsin.
An honorable mention has to go out to Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson who won the game for Arizona on a a long punt return.
But I give the edge to J.J. Watt since that isn't exactly a defensive play. Peterson made some good plays, but he was on the receiving end of Steve Smith's vapor trails a few times too many.
Defensive Rookie of The Year: J.J. Watt, DE, Texans (5 tackles, 1 fumble recovery)
Honorable Mention: Patrick Peterson, CB, Cardinals (5 tackles, 1 TD)
Coach of the Year
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I didn't make a pick for coach of the year before the season started because it is an award that usually goes to a guy who turns a team around or they are some kind of Cinderella story.
This is something that is hard to predict, really, but if I have to go on record using that formula, I am going to go with Lions head coach Jim Schwartz.
I think the Lions are going to be a real good team this year and what Schwartz has done in just over two seasons with that team is nothing short of amazing.
For an honorable mention I'll go with Bills head coach Chan Gailey.
I said earlier in the week that I thought the Bills would e a much better team than everyone was predicting and the offensive display they put on in Kansas City today was ridiculous.
Coach of The Year: Jim Schwartz, Lions
Honorable Mention: Chan Gailey, Bills