As the season winds down, the award races are shaping up. With a few weeks left in the season, these are all but final. Plenty can happen in the last three weeks with a few tight races. We saw last year Drew Brees looked like the clear cut front runner for MVP only to have some rough outings down the stretch while Patrick Mahomes still put up video game numbers. I think we see a similar story unfolding with this year’s MVP.
MVP – QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Others considered: Russell Wilson, Michael Thomas
He is leading the NFL in Touchdown passes by a mile currently and only has 6 interceptions. It only took him 15 weeks to break Michael Vick’s rushing yardage record in a single season for a QB. Pair the passing numbers with his rushing ability, he has broken the race wide open. A few weeks ago, it was Russell Wilson’s to lose. He did just that with a few sub par outings while Jackson has been unbelievably good and virtually unstoppable. The Ravens offense has put up 40 points six times this year and Jackson has two games with a perfect QB rating of 158.3.
I would like to take this time to talk about how wrong I was about him. I never thought for a single second this guy would even be close to the MVP. I thought he would never be accurate enough of a passer to be sustainable and I wasn’t alone in that. He was awful last year in terms of passing and if all he could do is run, the Chargers showed in the playoffs how to eliminate it. Use safeties and corners in the box and dare him to beat you with his arm. Now, you can’t do that because he will.
My favorite moment this year was when Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh walked over to him on the bench after pulling him in a blowout victory in which Jackson finished 15-17 for 233 yards, 3 Touchdowns plus 65 rushing yards and a TD and this exchange happened…
Harbaugh: “Most quarterbacks worry about their stats, but you’re a leader. I love the way you play. You don’t flinch, you just attack. All you do is attack.”
Jackson: “It’s all I know.”
Harbaugh: “You changed the game, man.”
Jackson: “And we’re going to keep it going.”
Harbaugh: “Do you know how many little kids in this country are going to be wearing No. 8 playing quarterback for the next 20 years?”
Jackson: “I can’t wait to see it when I get older. But right now, I gotta get to the Super Bowl.”
That moment almost moves me to tears when I watch it. Just the ultimate sign of respect and showing the humility and drive to be the best from a guy who many including myself criticized. Way to go Lamar. You absolutely deserve the MVP and all the praise you’re getting.
Barring anything crazy, Jackson walks into the endzone with the MVP now.
Offensive Player of the Year – RB Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
Others Considered: Michael Thomas
I want to be a homer so bad here and say Michael Thomas as offensive player, but it is Run CMC all the way. He is likely going to finish with 1,500 rush yards, 100 receptions and another 800 receiving yards plus 20 or so TDs. That is without Cam Newton as the QB. Much like Thomas, he proved he is every bit as good no matter who is under center.
Defensive Player of the Year – LB TJ Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
Others Considered: Aaron Donald, Cam Jordan, Nick Bosa, Stephon Gilmore
The younger brother of JJ Watt is completely flying under the radar this year and likely won’t win, but he would be my pick. He is an absolute playmaker off the edge. He is currently top 5 in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles. He also has two interceptions to his credit. He is one of the biggest contributors to the Steelers being top 5 in total yards allowed and points per game on defense.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – RB Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders
Others Considered: Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray will walk away with this award, but he shouldn’t. Jacobs has had a hell of a rookie campaign and looks like he will be leading the Oakland backfield for years to come. Jacobs is on pace to finish in the top 10 in rushing yards and yards per carry on the season and is currently tied for third in 20+ yard rushing plays this season. Not only is he good, he is one of the league’s best backs in 2019.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
Others Considered: Nick Bosa, Nick Bosa, Nick Bosa, Nick Bosa
Nick Bosa is just a fucking animal. His older brother Joey gave him high praise back in April saying that when it is all said and done, younger brother Nick will be the better Bosa. That is high praise considering Joey is already one of the league’s best defensive players. Little bro is a dead runaway for Rookie. The Niners defense is unbelievably good and much of that has to do with Bosa being able to apply pressure on opposing QBs.
Comeback Player of the Year – RB Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
Others Considered: Cooper Kupp, Jimmy Garoppolo, Teddy Bridgewater
He is every bit the elite back I thought he was. His first two seasons were cut short due to injury. Now with a full season under his belt, he has helped Minnesota’s potent offense by becoming one of the league’s best rushers and proving exactly what he is capable of. He is as explosive as they come.
Coach of the Year – Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Others Considered: Kyle Shanahan, Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh
Again, Kyle Shanahan is probably running away with this award. Although, this one is incredibly tough to decipher and my pick likely changes by week 17. For now, I will say Sean Payton for the simple fact that it is hard to overlook his 5-0 record with Teddy Bridgewater. They didn’t miss a beat not having Drew Brees. The Saints are still in play for the top seed in the conference. Others up are the aforementioned Shanahan as well as Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh. If the Steelers make the playoffs, I have to go with Tomlin for the nod. They lost virtually everything minus their terrific line on offense. That defense is back to what we are so accustomed to seeing in Pittsburgh. That team looked dead in the water in the beginning of the year.
Executive of the Year – John Lynch, San Francisco 49ers
Others Considered: No one
They became absolute dumpster fire after the firing of Jim Harbaugh with Jim Tomsula and then Chip Kelly. The 49ers played hardball extending Harbaugh prior to 2014 and the writing was on the wall that he was out and the shit show began. When Lynch and Shanahan teamed up to take over the 49ers, they walked into one of the biggest organization collapses in recent memory. That roster was built to be successful for years to come. It took two years of building including the move to trade for QB Jimmy Garappolo. He is now 19-4 as a starter. They have acquired other major pieces through draft, free agency and trades, guys like George Kittle, Emmanuel Sanders, Richard Sherman, Fred Warner and Tevin Coleman just to name a few. It has all come full circle this year as they sit on top of the best division in football currently.