MVP: JJ Watt
Final Stats: 20.5 sacks, 1 INT, 10 PDs, 4 FFs, 5 FRs, 10 TFLs, 2 DEF TDs, 3 REC TDs
I’m going for it, with JJ Watt being the first NFL player to post two 20 sack seasons in his career, I think he has enough for stat junkies to reign in the MVP award. Watt is no longer a mystery, teams know they need to double team him, they know they need to game plan for him and away from him, and it doesn’t matter, he still finds a way to change games on a weekly basis. What sets Watt apart this year from a guy like Justin Houston who had 1.5 more sacks than him is his non-sack production, defensive TDs, FFs, interception, blocked kick, offensive TDs.
Interestingly, and maybe the Texans should have taken note of this, many said that the reason Clowney’s junior year wasn’t as productive as the previous season is because teams were game planning for him…hmmmm.
Next man up: Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers had an MVP season, it won’t be a surprise to anyone if he wins the award. Inherently, quarterbacks are just more “valuable” to their team than any defensive player can be normally. He was efficient, he made huge plays, he was often the reason his team won, he really did it all. However, in a stat filled world, he wasn’t at the top in most significant categories, 7th in yards, 3rd in TDs, 2nd in passer rating. All together he had a masterful year, there is no discounting his work, however, if there is a year for a defensive player to win, I think it could be this year.
Others who may receive votes: Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger
Offensive Player of the Year: Rodgers
This award should be Rodgers’ whether he wins the MVP or not. His complete body of work was the most impressive on the offensive side of the ball. There will be others in the conversation however, who may have put up more gaudy stats in other categories.
Others who may receive votes: Tony Romo, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, DeMarco Murray, Antonio Brown
Defensive Player of the Year: Watt
We’ve probably said enough about Watt in this awards series. He’s good.
Others who may receive votes: Justin Houston
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Odell Beckham Jr.
Back when this awards series kicked off about half way through the season, there would have been no shot for Beckham to be in the conversation for this award, he was a relative no name rookie with a struggling quarterback and offense no taking him into consideration. Then all he did to finish out the last 9 weeks of the season is post 9 catches, 133 yards and a TD a game for the last 9 games. No big deal I guess. That pace would have had him finishing with 144 catches, 2,128 yards, 16 TDs. Safe to say we’ll be hearing from this kid in 2015 and beyond.
Final note on this year’s offensive rookie class, if you missed in 2014 drafting offense, your front offense needs a shake down, this class was riddled with talent deep into the draft with current and future stars. Really early to say, but this may go down as the best rookie class ever.
Others who may receive votes: Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Sammy Watkins, Jeremy Hill, Zack Martin
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aaron Donald
There were other successful NFL defensive rookies in 2014, but none finished the season on a hot streak as good as Donald’s. His relentless motor and impact plays were consistent and he showed flashes of what will be a building block for the Rams defense for years to come. If the Rams figure out the offensive side of the ball in the next 25 years, they could become a scary team in a division about to have a shift in power.
Others who may receive votes: CJ Mosley, Chris Borland
Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians
Significant players went down, quarterbacks, all-pros, running backs, didn’t matter, the Cardinals kept pulling out victories and somehow managed to find themselves in the playoffs.
Next men up: Jim Caldwell, Bill Belichick, Ron Rivera