The season is halfway home and it’s time to distribute some hardware. In Week 8 of his NFL Diary, Ryan Bradley hands out his first half awards.
It’s hard to believe we’re eight weeks into the NFL season. It’s been an up and down year, a year of unexpected results. This week I’m handing out the first half awards. So, without further ado:
Coach of the Year:
Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs. There’s no argument here. The Chiefs are the only undefeated team left. And even if they lost the rest of their games he’d still be in the mix. There’s certainly no one more qualified when talking about the first half.
Honorable mention: Bill Belichick. People either love or hate Bellichick, but there’s no denying that he’s one of the big reasons the Patriots have managed a 6-2 record with a team of misfit toys.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Kiko Alonso of the Buffalo Bills. The rookie out of the University of Oregon is currently tied for second in the league in tackles, and tied for first in interceptions. As a middle linebacker nonetheless. (More on Alonso later).
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers. This is actually a difficult award to give out. There have been no runaway rookie performances on offense this year. So far. But Eddie Lacy has shown some great moments and given the Packers a boost in the run game they haven’t had in recent years. I expect by the end of the year this field will become clearer.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Kiko Alonso of the Buffalo Bills. This is may seem repetitive, but here’s why it’s not: There’s only one other player who’s rankings match up to Alonso’s across the board and that’s Sean Lee (also a middle linebacker) out of Dallas. They have the same number of tackles and interceptions. Here’s why Alonso has the edge: he also has one sack, a fumble forced, and a fumble recovered. Sean Lee has none of these things. Want more? Sean Lee’s four interceptions are out of six defended passes. That’s a hell of a ratio, but Alonso? His ratio is a hundred percent. He’s defended four passes and intercepted them all.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos. Denver has looked mortal in recent weeks, but there’s no arguing with Manning’s numbers at the halfway point. He leads the league in yards, touchdowns, quarterback rating, and is second in completion percentage.
Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs. A good argument can be made for Peyton Manning here, but unlike the Offensive Player of the Year this award shouldn’t just be about statistics, it should be about what the player means to his team. Yes, Manning is integral to the Bronco’s success, but the Kansas City Chiefs are having an improbable season. Alex Smith is a part of that, Andy Reid is a part of it, but for the team to be successful offensively they needed a consistent running game. Charles is second in the league in rushing yards and tied for third in touchdowns. His yards haven’t come easy (in fact LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia has nearly a hundred more yards in just three more carries), which means he’s been a grinder for Kansas City. He may not take the award at the end of the full season, but for the first half he has been a huge key to the success in Kansas City.
Come back next week for our first half Anti-Awards!