Chicago Bears: Season's First Half Awards

Matt CoanCorrespondent IIOctober 26, 2011

Chicago Bears: Season's First Half Awards

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    The Chicago Bears will head into Week 8—their bye week—with a record of 4-3 and a pretty solid start to the season. 

    The first half of the Bears' season is over with, and after a few big wins and a few tough losses, the team is still in the hunt for a playoff spot.

    The halfway point of the season concluding means it's time to hand out my first half awards, and reveal who has earned them for the Bears.

    This list will cover the first half of the season's MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Special Teams Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

MVP: Matt Forte

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    Any other choice here would be a joke—Matt Forte is the Chicago Bears' team MVP after half a season.

    Forte is currently third in the NFL in rushing yards, 22nd in the league in receiving and leading the league in total yards from scrimmage.

    Forte is the Bears' top rusher and receiver and is the engine that makes the offense go.

    No player who isn't a quarterback does what Matt Forte does for this Chicago Bears offense, and if he continues on his current pace and the Bears end up a top playoff team, he could be in the real MVP race by the end of the season.

    Forte is developing very well and seems to be transitioning into one of the best backs in the league.

    He is also the best offensive player the Bears have had since Walter Payton—that alone is high praise.

Defensive Player of the Year: Brian Urlacher

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    Another no-brainer—Brian Urlacher is the easy choice for the Chicago Bears' first half Defensive Player of the Year.

    Urlacher has continued the great tradition of middle linebackers in the Windy City and is still one of the best in the league.

    Urlacher has three interceptions through seven games this season and is on pace to easily break his career record of five.

    Urlacher is third on the team in tackles with 41 and, just like everyone already knows, is the heart and soul of one of the league's best defenses.

    Still, though, what I love most about Urlacher is how much pride he takes in the organization and team he plays for.

    Urlacher loves being a Bear and takes pride in playing a position with such a storied history for such a storied franchise.

    It's rare today to see an athlete that truly loves the team and city he plays for, and it seems Urlacher really does.

Special Teams Player of the Year: Devin Hester

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    Devin Hester isn't only the Chicago Bears' Special Teams Player of the First Half, he is the entire league's.

    Hester is the greatest special teams threat of all time and the greatest return man of all time—no question.

    Hester has continued his dominance this season, already returning one punt for a touchdown and one kickoff for a touchdown, and he's only getting started.

    Hester is such a threat that teams need to game-plan for how they will defend him and whether or not they are willing to give up great field position to completely stop him.

    Many teams have learned the hard way that it's always better to just kick the ball out of bounds.

    Hester is huge for the Bears offense, and without his special teams presence, we would be watching an entirely different team.

Rookie of the Year: Dane Sanzenbacher

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    The Rookie of the Year award was a tough one to hand out.

    A few guys were in the running after the solid draft the Chicago Bears had in April, but it's the man that wasn't drafted that stole the show.

    Dane Sanzenbacher has been very productive so far this season and has actually played a pretty big role in the Bears offense.

    Sanzenbacher already has three touchdowns this season, and while he only has 19 catches, he's made his impact felt.

    It's nice knowing the Bears might actually have a solid wide receiver prospect they can develop and maybe turn into something great someday.

    Sanzenbacher has a long way to go, but he looks like a guy who could be playing in Chicago for a long time.