NFL Midseason Awards II

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Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford

Dylan Becker, Staff Writer

 

Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Garrett, DE – Cleveland Browns

Honorable Mentions: Trevon Diggs, CB – Dallas Cowboys

One could imagine it would take a lot to scare an NFL offensive lineman. This makes it all the more impressive to see Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett terrorize blockers on a week-to-week basis. Garrett is a physical specimen, and has mastered the ability of getting to the quarterback. ”Flash” as he is sometimes referred to, currently sits atop the sack leaderboard with 14.0 sacks. With this score, he is on pace to just barely break Michael Strahan’s record for most sacks in a single season. He is also first in quarterback hits and tackles for losses with 23 hits and 12 tackles respectively. Absolute domination across the board. The former first round pick is certainly living up to expectations, and looks to grab his first of hopefully many Defensive Player of the Year awards. He has also been the best player on a talented Browns team and will try to bring the team to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1989.

 

Offensive Player of the Year: Cooper Kupp, WR – Los Angeles Rams

Honorable Mentions: Derrick Henry, RB – Tennessee Titans

Throughout his four year career, Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp has always been a reliable slot receiver. He even reached 1,000 receiving yards in his 2019 campaign. Fast-forward to his fifth season and Kupp has already passed that same landmark through just nine games. This incredible feat puts him first in the entire league for receiving yards. But that’s certainly not all. Kupp is also first in receptions with 74, as well as receiving touchdowns with 10. In fact, Kupp is tied for second in total touchdowns by a non-quarterback in the entire league. Through nine games, he has over 100 receiving yards in five of those, and has only had under 90 yards once. While he was already seen as a threat to NFL defenses before this season, Kupp’s massive improvements will force defensive coordinators to take new precautions if they want to have any chance of even hoping to stop him.

 

Coach of the Year: Kliff Kingsbury – Arizona Cardinals

Honorable Mentions: Mike Vrabel – Tennessee Titans and Matt LeFluer – Green Bay Packers

While credit must be given to Mike Vrabel for leading his Tennessee Titans to a 7-2 record (6-0 against 2020 playoff teams), this award must be given to Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury for his league best 8-1 record. Kingsbury wins this award simply because he is the coach of the best team in the league right now. The Cardinals are currently the top-ranked offense, with 277 points scored, the most of any team in the NFL. The team also has the second most offensive yards with 3,586. What makes the Cardinals so good, though, is the fact that they also have a great defense, ranked third in the league. The team has only allowed 158 points so far, tied for first in the NFC and third in the whole league. This gives the team a point differential of 122, putting them at the top of another stat list. While many believed that Kingsbury’s inexperience would lead to the downfall of the Cardinals, it seems he has only done good for the team, leading them to a highly impressive first half of the season and likely into the playoffs where they can make a deep run.

 

Most Valuable Player: Matthew Stafford – QB, Los Angeles Rams

Honorable Mentions: Kyler Murray, QB – Arizona Cardinals and Lamar Jackson, QB – Baltimore Ravens

The most important award of them all has to be the Most Valuable Player award. Through the first nine games, the MVP race has been uncertain at best. Names like Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Tom Brady have all stood atop the list for odds-on favorite to win the award, with weekly changes. Somehow, through all of this swapping, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has not once reached the top of that list. Stafford has seemed to have been removed from MVP talks despite his incredible statistical season. Stafford is currently first in the league with 2,771 passing yards, putting him on pace to end up with the fourth most single-season passing yards in NFL history. Stafford tops the list of both passer rating and quarterback rating among all qualified passers, showcasing his remarkable efficiency and accuracy. He is also second in touchdowns thrown with 23, and third in completions with 219. Throughout his career, it seems that Stafford has been under appreciated, however, his new role with the Rams has allowed him to gain a much deserved spotlight and lead his team to a 7-2 record. Expect to see more excellence from Stafford for the rest of the season. It’s about time he takes home some hardware.