Well, the first half is in the books. Now, I get to follow in the footsteps of legends like Peter King, Warren Sapp and any other NFL analyst and give out my first-half MVP for the Detroit Lions on offense, defense and special teams.
And the nominees for offensive MVP are...
Calvin Johnson, WR
Matthew Stafford, QB
Titus Young, WR
Brandon Pettigrew, TE
The nominees for defensive MVP are:
Ndamukong Suh, DT
Chris Houston, CB
Eric Wright, CB
Justin Durant, LB
Cliff Avril, DE
And finally, the nominees for special teams MVP:
Jason Hanson, K
Ryan Donahue, P
Stefan Logan, KR/PR
And the winners are....
And the winner of the 2011 first half Detroit Lions offensive MVP is...
Drum roll, please!
Calvin Johnson, wide receiver. The 6'5" receiver out of Georgia Tech is no stranger to putting up monster numbers in the NFL, and this season is definitely no different. Through eight games, Johnson leads most, if not all, wide receivers in the NFL in catches, touchdowns and yards.
So far, Johnson has amassed 47 receptions, 804 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is averaging 17.1 yards and has a longest of 71. That's pretty impressive if you ask me. Granted, it helps that he has a healthy Matthew Stafford throwing to him, but Johnson is a freak of nature in the NFL and has without a doubt punched his ticket to Hawaii in February for the Pro Bowl...or is it Miami?
Ladies and gentlemen, your offensive MVP, Calvin Johnson! (Insert applause here)
And now your defensive MVP...
Chris Houston, cornerback. There's a reason the Lions re-signed him to a two-year contract and why signing him was top priority.
The Lions passed up Prince Amakamura out of Nebraska in the draft, and didn't even offer Nnamdi Asomugha because that's how high they thought about Houston. They were right.
Through eight games, Houston has 40 tackles, 34 of them solo, and four interceptions. That's pretty good for a corner. He has been all over the field so far and has been a force in the Lions' six wins so far this season, and will continue to be for the rest of the year.
It's often very risky to gamble on players in the NFL, but the Lions gambled in the offseason signing Houston, and this time, they won.
Ladies and gentlemen, your defensive MVP, Chris Houston.
Could this pick be any more obvious?
Your 2011 Lions first half special teams MVP, Jason Hanson!
Hanson has been "old reliable" for what seems like forever. If there's a field goal that needs to be kicked, Hanson will most likely make it. He's definitely an established veteran at 41, but like most other 40-year old Detroit athletes (anyone remember Kenny Rogers and Chris Chelios? Nick Lidstrom?), Hanson is showing no signs of slowing down.
Hanson goes into today's game with a mysterious knee injury, but all indications are that Hanson will be kicking today in a place he's all-too familiar with: Soldier Field. I hope Hanson can stay around for another 10 years.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Detroit Lions special teams MVP, Jason Hanson
Honorable Mention, Matt Stafford, QB
Stafford is having a career year. Granted, it helps that he's healthy, and having a weapon like Calvin Johnson doesn't seem to hinder him any either. We've all seen flashes from Stafford the past two years, but this year, things seem different.
Stafford is among the top five quarterbacks in the league so far this season. The media is still comparing him to Aaron Rodgers. If he keeps going like this, he very well could be. There is no question that Stafford is the unquestioned leader of this team, and he is proving it this year.
Ladies and gentlemen, the 2011 Detroit Lions Honorable Mention, quarterback Matthew Stafford.