2011 National Football League Awards
It's that time of the year again—to hand out the hardware to the best players in the National Football League.
Awards include: Coach of the Year, Breakout Player of the Year, NFC Rookie of the Year, AFC Rookie of the Year, NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year, AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year, NFC Defensive Player of the Year, AFC Defensive Player of the Year, NFC Offensive Player of the Year, AFC Offensive Player of the year and finally, MVP (hint: it rhymes with Barren Dodgers).
These guys have had fabulous seasons and deserve recognition. Let me know what awards you agree and/or disagree with.
Coach of the Year: Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans
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Kubiak might be a bit of a reach to some people, but think about it. He has led the Texans to their first postseason appearance with a 10-3 record so far. All of that with injuries to star quarterback Matt Schaub and perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson. The defense has really picked it up this season. Give Kubiak the credit he deserves.
Runners-up: Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers; Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers; John Fox, Denver Broncos
Breakout Player of the Year: Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants
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Cruz was not even starting at wide receiver at the beginning of the season. Injuries gave Cruz his opportunity in the New York offense and he ran with it. He is currently third in the league in receiving yards (1,150) with seven TDs. Cruz has quickly become one of Eli Manning's favorite targets.
NFC Rookie of the Year: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
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Here's an obvious choice. Who knew Newton would do as well as he has done this season? Sure, he's had his fair share of turnovers, but so did Peyton Manning when he was a rookie. Newton is the reincarnation of Vince Young, except a better passer. He should be the unanimous NFC Rookie of the Year.
Runners-up: DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys; Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
AFC Rookie of the Year: Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
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Dalton has led the Bengals to a 7-6 record through the first 13 games of the season. That's not bad at all for being a rookie with an extremely young offense. He and wide receiver A.J. Green have built quite the rapport in Cincinnati.
Runners-up: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals; Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens
NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aldon Smith, DE/LB, San Francisco 49ers
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Smith is a big reason why the 49ers have the best defense in all of football. He has double-digit sacks already and has anchored a defensive line that has helped San Francisco not give up a rushing touchdown this season—a phenomenal feat.
Runners-up: Patrick Peterson, CB/KR, Arizona Cardinals; Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Washington Redskins
AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year: Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos
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There aren't many AFC defensive players who have been more relentless than Miller. As a rookie he is second in the AFC, only behind Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs, with 11.5 sacks. He and teammate Elvis Dumervil make up arguably the most threatening, and definitely the quickest, pass-rushing duo in the AFC, and maybe the whole league.
Runners-up: Phillip Taylor, DT, Cleveland Browns
NFC Defensive Player of the Year: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants
Pierre-Paul has been somewhat of an unsung hero this season for the Giants. He doesn't get the recognition he deserves and doesn't praise himself off the field. He lets his play do the talking. J.P.P. has racked up 60 tackles and 12.5 sacks so far in 2011. His presence has been felt in every game this season. It's safe to say he's the best pass-rusher on the Giants, and that's saying something. I'm glad I'm not an NFC East quarterback.
Runners-up: Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay Packers; Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings
AFC Defensive Player of the Year: Terrell Suggs, LB/DE, Baltimore Ravens
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Suggs was a monster this year. He wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks en route to 13 sacks, two INT and six FF. With fellow Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis sitting on the sideline with injury, Suggs has had to pick up the slack for the Baltimore defense and has lived up to the task.
NFC Offensive Player of the Year: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
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It's too bad Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is having the season he is having or all the MVP talk would be surrounding the quarterback in New Orleans. He leads the league in passing yards and, barring injury, will likely be the first, and maybe only, quarterback to pass Dan Marino's single-season passing yards record.
Runners-up: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers; LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles; Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
AFC Offensive Player of the Year: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
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Brady is another quarterback who could best Marino's single-season record of 5,084 passing yards. He's had to come through for the Patriots time and time again this season due to the team's horrific defense.
Runners-up: Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens; Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots; Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
NFL Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
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Rodgers is the pretty obvious choice here. Sure, there are four quarterbacks who have a chance of breaking Marino's single-season passing record, but the Packers are undefeated and Rodgers has led them the whole way, tallying 39 TDs and six INTs with three weeks left.
Runners-up: Brady, Brees, McCoy, Manning