The week after the NFL conference championship games are played, the league hands out awards to its players. I am going to hand out mine now.
Coach of the year: Bruce Arians/Arizona Cardinals. Second: Jason Garrett/Dallas Cowboys. Third: Bill O’Brien/Houston Texans. Fourth: Ron Rivera/Carolina Panthers. Fifth: Mike McCarthy/Green Bay Packers.
It has to be Bruce Arians, and it will be unanimously. Arians kept the Cardinals afloat with no offense and a third string quarterback signed off the street in November. If Carson Palmer had been healthy all season, the Cardinals would have been the number one overall seed and would be on their way to the Super Bowl.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Aaron Donald/DE/St. Louis Rams. Second: Chris Borland/LB/San Francisco 49ers. Third: Ha-Ha Clinton Dix/S/Green Bay Packers. Fourth: Kyle Fuller/CB/Chicago Bears. Fifth: Khalil Mack/LB/Oakland Raiders.
Aaron Donald instantly established himself along a great defensive front in St. Louis, and was an integral part of the pass rush that beat the crap out of every quarterback they played this season. Chris Borland stepped up for the injured Patrick Willis and did better than anyone could have imagined. Ha-Ha got better as the season went along.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Odell Beckham Jr./WR/New York Giants. Second: Corey Linsley/C/Green Bay Packers. Third: Jeremy Hill/RB/Cincinnati Bengals Fourth: Teddy Bridgewater/QB/Minnesota Vikings Fifth: Jace Amaro/TE/New York Jets
If offensive lineman got a fair shake in this award, Corey Linsley would win it easily. But they don’t, so he is number two. Anyone who grades out as the 4th best center in the league as a 5th round rookie who didn’t even know he was going to be the starting center until a week before the regular season is the best rookie in the league. But, due to people’s obsession with style, it goes to the flashy Odell Beckham, who quickly established himself as Eli Manning’s new favorite target without Victor Cruz. Teddy Bridgewater also did extremely well under the circumstances he was put in.
Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt/DE/Houston Texans
I could list other players, but it would be pointless. Watt had one of the best seasons for a defensive player in NFL history, and is going win this award with every single first place vote. He is also going to get some serious MVP consideration.
Most Valuable Player: Aaron Rodgers/QB/Green Bay Packers Second: DeMarco Murray/RB/Dallas Cowboys Third: Ben Roethlisberger/QB/Pittsburgh Steelers Fourth: J.J. Watt/DE/Houston Texans Fifth; Tony Romo/QB/Dallas Cowboys