Well we are here – another NFL regular season is in the books and the playoffs are just around the corner.
Now is the time for my NFLFANINENGLAND 2008 NFL (Regular Season Awards)
Team of the Year – Miami Dolphins
You do not go from 1-15 to 11-5 and division winner without some truly mindblowing changes to the football program. Losing Zach Thomas (Cowboys 2008 no playoffs) and Jason Taylor (Redskins 2008 no playoffs) seemed bad enough, but this only seemed to strengthen a team that had been humiliated in 2007. Behind the pinpoint precision of Chad Pennington, robbed of a deserved Pro Bowl spot by Brett ‘no playoffs’ Favre, and the running of both Ronnie Brown and Ricky ‘lets go fly a kite’ Williams the Dolphins brought back the single wedge, to bemuse and befuddle defensive coordinators. Whatever happens here on out for the Florida fish 2008 is a huge success, and drafting an OT (Jake Long) over a fancy dan QB has turned out to be one helluva wise decision.
Coach of the Year – Mike Smith – Atlanta Falcons
When your franchise quarterback is behind bars, you have to get an unproven starter free agent running back, you then draft a rookie QB and throw him in the deep end and have a defense that is full of no names, then you have a recipe for about a 4-12 record. On top of that you have a head coach who is making his NFL debut as the main man. The Falcons were a team with little expectations by owners and fans alike, so to get to 11-5 and earn a playoff place is a real achievement. Matt Ryan has had his struggles but head coach Mike Smith has been there to offer encouragement at all times. This is a real case of overachieving, and with the NFL’s 2nd ranked rusher (Michael Turner) and burner Jerious Norwood in the backfield this could be a team that still has a few upsets to come in the proverbial applecart.
Comeback player of the Year – Antonio Bryant– Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout
Being out of the game in 2007, and with his third team in four seasons there was not a great expectation on Antonio Bryant to become a stud that could prove to the Cowboys, Browns and 49ers (all teams that packed his bags) wrong. Well Antonio had other ideas, as he set career bests for catches (82), yards (1, 248) and touchdowns (7). OK his Buccs did not reach the playoffs but Bryant managed over 500 yards receiving in December. That is pretty damm good.
Biggest disappointment player – Marion Barber – Dallas Cowboys running back
When the Cowboys decided to hitch up all their wagons on a stud horse by the name of Barber (the third to be precise), and ledt go of Julius Jones, they were expecting Barber to compete with Adrian Petersen for the NFL rushing title. Yes Barber did end up playing 15 games and he did get 1,300 yards from scrimmage, but he had a career low 3.7 yards a rush and only 885 yards on the ground and a lowly 7 touchdowns. True he had some sort of toe injury but this was a back that fantasy fans were expecting 1,500 yards rushing and 16-20 touchdowns.
Biggest disappointment team – Cleveland Browns
The Dawg Pound had about as much bite as Paris Hilton’s pooch in 2008, finishing 31st in passing yards per game despite the explosive weapons that include Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow Junior. Derek Anderson was supposed to steer this team to the playoffs, with Brady Quinn waiting in the wings. When your season dies on its ass with Bruce Gradkowski you know it doesn’t get much worse. 31 points in their last six games has to be one of the worst last six games of offense in NFL history.
Rookie of the year – Chris Johnson – Tennessee Titans running back
The Titans stated the season with Vince Young having a bit of a mental breakdown, and that gave the keys to Kerry Collins. Gulp. No need to worry Jeff Fisher said lets run over teams with some blubber (LenDale White) and some finnesse – namely Chris Johnson who finished with 1,228 rushing yards and a mightily impressive 4.9 yards a carry. With 43 catches added and 10 total touchdowns that is one great rookie effort. The opening chapter of Johnson’s book is still unwritten as the Titans have the #1 AFC seed and will look to take their hard nosed play all the way to the Superbowl.
Rookie disappointment of the year – the entire Washington Redskins 2nd round
When Coach Jim Zorn drafted Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly (both wr) and Fred Davis (te) the Redskins fans thought they were going to be unstoppable. Instead they went vanilla average finishing 8-8 and out of the playoffs. Thomas, Kelly and Davis combined for a pathetic 21 catches for 165 yards in the air and 4-50 on the ground with Thonas getting one td on a gadget play. This is not what was expected, and with the likes of DeSean Jackson and Eddie Royal, and even Donnie Avery showing up at wr the Redskins crop could be the biggest group of busts assembled since the remake of Giant Jugs 7 – Revenge of the Boob Monsters.
What other awards would you like to see?