Tuesday, November 11, 2008

SUS 54th Annual Mid Season NFL Awards Part 1 of 2

Here we are, 10 weeks into the season, every team having played 9 games. Some teams are starting to rise to the top, some teams are falling behind, and the NFL is almost starting to sort itself out. Wait, did I say the NFL? I meant the NFC. The AFC is still a clusterfuck. All that said, it’s time to engage in America’s 8th most favorite tradition-the 54th annual SUS Mid Season NFL Awards. Like the other previous 53 editions, this will be a point/counterpoint/final word format between Moses and Gand-er, Devo and Mahatma. Let’s rock.

Offensive MVP (AFC)

Point: This is kind of difficult, if only because pretty much every team in this conference except for the Steelers and Bengals have 4-6 wins. That said, if the Broncos kept Jake the Snake as their quarterback this year, they’d probably be no better than 3-6. Cutler is quickly establishing himself as a slightly better choice than his ’06 draft peers of Vince Young and Matt Leinart. Unlike the latter two, Cutler does the little things, like start games. And with Denver’s chop block karma starting to come back and haunt them in the form of 15 hurt rb’s, and a lousy defense, Cutler and the passing attack is the only reason that Denver will take the division with a ’73 Dolphinsesque 9-7. Also, some love for Ben, without whom Pitt would be led by Byron Leftwich, he of the Hideo Nomo windup.

Counterpoint: Cutler would have been it if the award was awarded during the first 3 weeks of the year but sadly it hasn’t. Thus, give me Jones who is the most consistent out a sorely inconsistent bunch. Up until the last month, I’d say Ben Roeth but he has apparently slipped into a Derek Anderson type void that will take some time to get out of. Tennessee doesn’t really have an offense but if you could pick someone it would have to be Chris Johnson. Heck at this point with the Jets at 6-3, an argument can be made for Thomas Jones and sadly that’s who I’m going with at this point. Jones has brought consistent hard running and play making ability to the lowely Jet offense that has been overshadowed by that Brett guy but Jones is the one that makes that offense work. That being said, Peyton will probably have a killer 2nd half and win the award again by default. Special notice should be to Andre Johnson. If the Texans were anything this season, he’d be winning this award.

Final Word: Wait, Brett Favre isn’t the Jets running back? I’m going with Cutler, if only because the Broncos have a better chance of making the playoffs and a MUCH worse defense.

Offensive MVP (NFC)

Point: For a guy who dresses up for press conferences like they’re masquerade balls, has anyone had a quieter near-1,000 yard first half than ClintonJerome from Southeast” Portis? Also, big ups to Drew Brees, Michael Turner, and Earth Wind and Fire.

Counterpoint: I’m going to go with Michael Turner here. He was the big off-season pickup and has helped rejuvenate a 4 win team into the cusp of the playoffs. If you consider that fact that he is behind a rookie QB and has to deal with constant 9-10 man fronts, you’d have to consider his stats and impact to be well worth the price paid. Consideration should also be made for Kurt Warner who has led to the Cardinals finally becoming relevant. He is running an offense that really has not had much of a running game, lost one of his receivers for a couple of weeks, and still turned the Cardinals into a respectable team, which is not an easy feat. Be honest.

Final Word: I’ll give it to Turner, but let the record show that any teammate who has harsh words with Jeremiah Charles Shockey is ok with me.

Defensive MVP (AFC)

Point: I don’t care how many times the Titans appear on television, I’m still not going to even attempt to learn anything about their players other than if you mess with Albert Haynesworth, you’re gonna get cleated. But they’re 8-0 with Kerry Collins, so I guess someone on their defense should get some props. That said, Mahatma can name anyone but Vernon Gholston, and I’ll probably agree with him.

Counterpoint: Haynesworth…if I see Bob Sanders anywhere on the list, I’m going to puke.

Final Word: Oh…so Haynesworth it is, I suppose.

Defensive MVP (NFC)

Point: Please. This is easy. My top 3: #1 Justin Tuck. #2 Fred Robbins, who may actually be more responsible for Tucks’ success than Tuck himself. #3 Brad Johnson, because no one helps a defense more than this guy, just ask Corey Webster. Mahatma, even if you make a credible argument for anyone else in the NFC, I’m pulling rank in the final word on this one.

Counterpoint: I’ll go Tuck here also. He’s been the poster boy for the Gmen’s dominant defense and has helped turned Corey Webster into a respectable corner.

Final Word: Corey Webster is a Pro Bowl Cornerback. Not the Defensive MVP, but a pro bowl cornerback.

Offensive Rookie of the Half Year

Point: Chris Johnson is real good, probably the best player on the Titans’ offense. But Matt Ryan is leading the Falcons to a playoff birth, and good rookie rb’s are much more prevalent than good rookie qb’s. Will this end badly when he gets destroyed by an NFC East pass rush in the first or second round of the playoffs? Absolutely. But that’s not the point.

Counterpoint: Chris Johnson is leading the Titans to the playoffs also without the benefit of a passing game. Sure he has adequate support in Lendale White but Ryan gets tremendous help from Turner, Roddy White, etc. The supporting cast is better on the Falcons and thus I’m going with Johnson.

Final Word: The official SUS pick here is Ryan, because again, how many rookie quarterbacks are anything but embarrassing under center?

Defensive Rookie of the Half Year

Point: Chris Long is having a pretty solid season, on pace for 8 sacks. But every time Kenny Phillips makes a tackle or solid defensive play in general, I envision Brian Dawkins in a big f’in blue jersey. So Kenny gets it for me.

Counterpoint: Sorry homes but shouldn’t the award go to someone that starts? For me, I’d go with Patriots, Jerod Mayo. He’s not making the plays that Patrick Willis did last year but he does collect a lot of tackles. At this point, there is no one else out there.

Final Word: I’ll go Jerod Mayo, but by the end of the season, and more importantly, 5 years from now, we’ll be saying that Kenny Phillips was the best defensive player from this draft.

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