The MMQB Midseason All-Pros, Awards Winners

By
Greg A. Bedard
· More from Greg·

DEFENSE

DE: Robert Quinn, Rams; Robert Mathis, Colts. These are the positions the AP has used for years, but I’m going to fill it a little bit differently. Quinn is second in The MMQB pressure rate for edge rushers, and he’s one of the only true ends on the list. He doesn’t get the benefit of scheme like some of the others who play outside linebacker in the 3-4 do. Mathis is technically an outside linebacker in the 3-4, but he plays mostly like an end. Mathis, despite now leading the league with 11.5 sacks, is not in our top 10 edge rushers. The point of our statistics is to capture a total look at quarterback pressure, and Mathis hasn’t added up in hurries and hits. However, Mathis is basically a one-man pass rush for the Colts, so he earns the other spot.

DT: J.J. Watt, Texans; Jason Hatcher, Cowboys. Watt was voted an All-Pro at end last year, but I don’t know how people vote him there. Could he play as a 4-3 end instead of a 3-4 end and dominate at the same level? I think we’d say yes. But he does most of his work from between the tackle and guard and further inside. To me, that’s a tackle—an awesome one at that. He’s just unstoppable.

Hatcher was a 3-4 end before this season, and now he’s a 4-3 DT. He hasn’t received much publicity, but he’s having an incredible season with seven sacks, three drawn holds, 24 hurries and seven quarterback hits. A week ago Hatcher was closing in on Watt in our interior rusher pressure rate. Watt’s widened the lead back up, so we’ll have to see how it unfolds. Muhammad Wilkerson is definitely in the conversation too.

After signing a six-year extension over the summer, Sean Lee has dominated with 90 tackles and four interceptions so far. (LM Otero/AP)
After signing a six-year extension over the summer, Sean Lee has dominated with 90 tackles and four interceptions so far. (LM Otero/AP)

OLB: Justin Houston, Chiefs; Lavonte David, Buccaneers. Doing a little mixing and matching here with OLBs of the 3-4 (Houston) and 4-3 (David), but both deserve a spot. Houston is the best stand-up outside linebacker in the game and leads our pressure points among all rushers in total points (33.13) and rate (12.5). Sure, Houston has benefited from a strong supporting cast, but production is production. David doesn’t get much attention with what’s going on with the winless Buccaneers, but the lack of success isn’t his fault. He’s been flying all over the field as a playmaker against the run and pass (five sacks and five passes defensed lead 4-3 outside linebackers).

ILB: Sean Lee, Cowboys; Derrick Johnson, Chiefs. Another position that is having a bit of an off year because there are several good candidates, but not many who shine above the rest. It’s kind of a beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder situation. Can’t go wrong with NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis of the 49ers. Rookie Kiko Alonso has surprised in Buffalo. The Cardinals’ Darryl Washington has been the best player since returning from his suspension, and could win the award by the end of the season—he’s been that good. Luke Kuechly, Jerrell Freeman, Brad Jones and Karlos Dansby have played well for the most part. Lee and Johnson win out for now because the NFL is a passing league, and they are the two best cover linebackers to this point in addition to their very strong play against the run.

CB: Richard Sherman, Seahawks; Alterraun Verner, Titans. When it comes to cornerbacks, what I prefer to see is a true No. 1 cornerback who plays mostly man coverage and then go from there. The problem is, there aren’t a whole lot of viable candidates because Darrelle Revis hasn’t played much man, and Aqib Talib has missed too much time with his hip injury (for now). Both could be heard from down the stretch. The Bengals’ Leon Hall was headed for a spot before his injury, and Vontae Davis (Colts) and Joe Haden (Browns) are both right there. Sherman seems to be the one man corner who has played above the rest with consistency. He’s tied for the league lead with four interceptions. So is Verner, who holds the league lead with 17 passes defensed.

S: Earl Thomas, Seahawks (FS); Eric Berry, Chiefs (SS). These spots don’t necessarily call for a free and strong safety, but if you have two spots, why wouldn’t you do that? Thomas is, without question, the best free safety in the game. Devin McCourty may challenge him in time, but no one possesses Thomas’ closing speed, and that makes up any sloppy play that may leak out of the Seahawks. The Chargers’ Eric Weddle doesn’t get a whole lot of acclaim, but he’s a terrific player who is probably the biggest reason why San Diego has survived so many injuries on defense. He covers up a lot of mistakes. At strong safety, I haven’t historically been the biggest fan of Berry’s play, as he can be a liability in space, but new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton is putting him in great positions to be successful.

Special Teams

K: Matt Prater, Broncos. This looks like it will be a head-to-head battle until the end between Prater and Stephen Gostkowski. Both are among the league’s best at kickoffs, which gives them the edge on Nick Folk.. Prater has yet to miss on 12 attempts, with nine over 40. Gostkowski has missed once and is 9 of 10 in the same situation. Like I said, it’s virtually a deadheat. Time for a kick off.

P: Johnny Hekker, Rams. Tough three-way battle between Hekker, Shane Lechler and Thomas Morstead. Hekker is the choice because he leads the league in net average thanks to his 2.4 yards per return average, which is second only to Jon Ryan of the Seahawks (1.4).

KR: Trindon Holliday, Broncos. He’s the best dual returner in the game, and for now that gives him an edge on Vikings kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson and his two touchdowns.

Go to Page 3 to check out my midseason award winners

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49 comments
AlanHawkins
AlanHawkins

Jamaal Charles over Peyton Manning?  No way you made your case on that nonsense. He is not the best running back, not the most vital player in the league and he has done NOTHING special this year.  But Peyton has redefined the position so often they will end up naming the award after him when he is gone. Take your own measurements and plug in Manning's numbers and you will be embarrassed to think Charles deserves even a mention in the debate. You lose credibility as a pundit to propose something so absurd as Charles over Manning. Ridiculous takes make your articles not unpopular but unworthy. 

CBgB
CBgB

It's interesting how a lot of analysts/writers don't like going with the obvious - they need to carve their own trail.  Charles over Manning?  ha.  I'll tell you what, let's both start a team - you take the most valuable player and I'll settle for Manning.  really?  And you considered Rivers for OPoY because of his completion %.. lol.. yes, his 72.2% makes Manning's 71.2% look terrible.. hopefully the remainder of Manning's stats, which dominate Rivers, holds up 'for now'...


JP3434
JP3434

Chris Clemons comeback > Darrelle Revis' comeback.  I would say Clemon's impact is bigger than Darrelle's.

Mood_Indigo
Mood_Indigo

What?!! Vernon Davis not even getting a mention in the list of TE's?! Davis, is by far the best overall TE in the league. All of the ones in the list except Gronk are below average blockers.  Comparing players based solely on numbers without considering schemes in which they play, and not considering blocking and other unmeasured variables, is simpleminded analysis. Works for fantasy football fans, I guess.

gyffesme
gyffesme

Given how many were shouting for the Cowboys to release Free, I'd think he's GOTTA be in the running for Comeback Player. Sure, it's not from injury, but he was AWFUL the last few years, and last year was a NIGHTMARE of holding calls and false-start penalties.

BenMyers
BenMyers

Comeback Player of the year?  Well gee Peter, IDK; they have millions of reasons to come back, but that ain't the same as being able to come back from a career threatening injury, and resume HoF pace and stats, like for instance Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson have both done recently.

It's not a matter of everyone gets an award, but an acknowledgement that a player has defeated to odds to return to the pinnacle of a grueling sport that already tried to take him out at least once.  Get your knee ligaments turned to confetti and see if you can "comeback" to a pick up basketball game, let alone in under a year be the only reason your team made the Playoffs (Adrian Peterson).

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

May be me just being a Pats fan but pre injury I would have taken Aqib Talib as the DPOY - completely shutting down Julio Jones, AJ Green and Jimmy Graham in back to back to back weeks.  Now you see just how valuable he is, out the last 3 games and the secondary back to its previous form giving up a ton of third and longs and a ton of yards.  In other words, they desperately need this guy in January.  

space4mase
space4mase

Very disappointed with the pick for Comeback Player of the Year. This was a lazy choice. Terrell Thomas of the Giants has come back from his third ACL and second in two years and was last week Defensive Player of the Week. Lets get serious. 

ryan l
ryan l

why is richard sherman on here, he does not even guard the best wr on the other team

ChrisSanchez
ChrisSanchez

Charles over Manning makes little sense either.  Charles is not a dominant back nor is he the reason why they are winning, yet somehow he is an MVP.  Alex Smith is the MVP of the team so how Charles is even recognized is bizarre.  The Chiefs are only winning because they are not turning the ball over thanks to Alex Smith.  Charles is not even coming close to the year he had last year in rushing.  If you are going to take into account running and passing yards received than Moreno is everybit as effective as Charles and has scored more TDs yet he is not even mentioned.

ChrisSanchez
ChrisSanchez

Rivers has had a solid season for a .500 team but he is not even close to being in the same league as Manning.  Rodgers is hurt so he is pretty much out of it.  Brees and Brady (funny no one gave Manning credit for what he did last season with his new young receivers but people act like Brady is doing something no one has done ever).  The MVP and offensive player of the year should come down to Brees, Manning, and Calvin Johnson/Jimmy Graham (for non-QB contenders).  Also, how do you fail to mention Julies Thomas in the TEs, he is having the second best year among TEs (better than Witten, Gonzalez and Cameroon)

BigAltweetsyes
BigAltweetsyes

Whoa. Completely missed the boat on your OROY pick. Lacy hands down. Are you knocking him for missing time earlier in the year?

mgranadosv
mgranadosv

J.J. Watt is a great player on an awful team that has been getting carved. How is he the DPOY?

Should go to Richard Sherman who is actually you know, making a difference to win games.

And I hate the Seahawks

bearsbball12
bearsbball12

Peyton Manning has accounted for 30 touchdowns so far this season (29 passing, 1 rushing). There is only 1 other TEAM in the NFL with 30 touchdowns this season (Dallas has exactly 30 and has played 9 games to Denver's 8). Who knows what the second half hold, but naming anyone but him the MVP is just laughable right now.

BlueBarron
BlueBarron

Jamal Charles? That's just trying too hard to be different.

And Reid, while doing a great job, doesn't deserve COY. The teams success says more about the former coach than it does about Reid.

TheeLidman
TheeLidman

Hard to argue against Andy Reid, but he did inherit a team with 6 Pro-Bowlers-6 on defense. He also added a QB, who was 16-4 over his last 20 starts. On top of what you said, about Ryan, he's had to do this is the biggest media market with everyone calling for his head. His GMs early actions did suggest he might be setting him up to fail. He lost both his DC and Asst HC, both of whom are having success at their new spots. He's brought in a new OC coordinator too. For the most part, other than Sutton, Reid has much of his old staff, which is huge for continuity. 

As for other awards, how Mo Wilkerson doesn't make your team or a sniff for DPOY seems hard to believe…8 sacks, from a 3/4 DE who anchors the top run defense in the league..and 1 interception to boot.

The only reason Revis has fewer passes 'defensed', even in zone, nobody throws at him. I know Peter is a big PFF fan, well according to them, Revis was only targeted 8 times, in October: https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2013/11/05/team-of-the-month-q2/ So, while he may be telling us he wasn't 100%, it seems opposing OCs/QBs don't feel the same way.

tlombardo949
tlombardo949

3 Cowboys is so preposterous. They are perhaps the worst D in league, yet 2 fr their D. 2 Texans, and for the entire nation to see no closing out a huge lead for Watt and his D. Not one NE player, and just 1 fr DEN, IND, and SF. I am ignoring spec teams. Something like 96% of FG inside 40yds are made! and very few kick returns are now attempted. Nobody cares about the next touchback or fair catch.

GrillClass
GrillClass

Matt Forte, third on the list of total yards from scrimmage per game (av. 121.8), behind Jamaal Charles (123.8) and LeSean McCoy (122.0). Almost a 20 yd. drop off to the next player (Marshawn Lynch at 102.6 per game). 

No mention of Forte under running backs.

Baconpizza
Baconpizza

Revis' comeback for $16 mill/ year is downright heroic.

JustinParisi
JustinParisi

The reasoning and logic behind some of these picks is mind boggling. Completion % over touchdowns? Really? Rivers is having a great year, but it's kind of skewed in perception because of how bad he was in  previous years. Manning is the guy right now, hands down, regardless of surrounding talent. Not even close.

I'm also not sure how you can call a linebacker a defensive end just because of the scheme he's in. Mathis plays linebacker, plain and simple. Putting him at DE is a cop out.

Dinging Antonio Brown because the Steelers throw alot? Why not ding Jimmy Graham for the same reason? Or ding Jamaal Charles because the Chiefs run a lot?

Giving the edge to Joe Staley because he's had a tougher schedule? How about his job being easier since his QB is one of the most mobile in the game?

Sheldon Richardson over Tyrann Mathieu? What? "Mathieu may have flashier numbers." What are you measuring Richardson on? Intangibles?

No mention of Lacy for OROY?

regdaDkciN
regdaDkciN

Eddie Lacy has 65% more yards that Giovani Bernard in two fewer games.  65% more, not 65 yards.  Lacy is averaging 85 yards per game, Bernard 40.

croane17
croane17

Wait you name Peyton Manning OPOY hands down, but debate whether he should be the all pro QB.  Then you say Jamaal Charles is the MVP in the NFL. He's not even the most valuable player on that team. I can name three players on that defense that I would consider more valuable considering its their defense winning games for them not their offense. if jamaal charles accounts for 40% of their offense the defense accounts for the other 60. The thought should be here if Charles goes down Smith will still be able to time manage while their defense gets them by. But picking any one other than Manning for MVP at this point is laughable, i do not care how good his supporting staff is someone still has to get them the ball and he makes that make shift o-line seem as good as it is. 

anon76
anon76

Precisely how well do you think the Broncos would be doing without Peyton?  He accounts for 78% of their yardage and 75% of their offensive touchdowns.  And this isn't an offense that scores 9 points a week and relies on defense to score (like the Chiefs), it is the single most explosive offense that's ever been seen through 8 games in NFL/AFL history.  The fact that you had any consideration on who to put at QB for your all pro team speaks volumes about your decision making ability in this area.

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

Mr. King,

Phillip Rivers completion percentage is just one stat of many obviously for QB's.  He isn't lapping the field.  Peyton is at 71.2% to Rivers 72.2%.  How close is this?  Well Peyton has more pass attempts and if Rivers were to go 24 for 38 in passing in his next game, he and Peyton would be tied with the exact same amount of completions and pass attempts.  Of course Peyton is going to play that week too so they won't end up tied but since they are that close (when one game by the league leader may sway things), all of the other stats have to come into play.

Peyton's lead in TD passes over Rivers is 12, which is MORE than one games worth (at least in NFL history up to this point).  Peyton is leading in yards per attempt, yards per game, QB rating, has thrown fewer INT's in more pass attempts and has taken fewer sacks on more pass attempts (yes the O line is partially responsible here but so is the QB for knowing where receivers are, dumping the ball off or throwing it away to avoid the sack).

I don't see how a slim lead in one category (slim enough that one game with the leader completing 63% of his passes by going 24 of 38 negates his lead in that category and ties the two men) renders Peyton's lead in multiple other categories moot.

Is having the lead in one category, regardless of how tenuous, really enough to trump another QB when the other QB leads in all other categories?

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

I really hope Ray Horton gets a shot at a head coaching job next season, he really deserves it

jimmyjon_55555
jimmyjon_55555

DEs are tough to choose since a few guys are having great years ....  but one guy ill take:  muhammed wilkerson - jets DE having a beast of a year.  8 sacks- 2 ffs- 1 sick interception and generally a massive force in every game--  the guys in the booth for every jets game rave about him.  

mgoetze5
mgoetze5

Yes, we know J.J. Watt was amazing last year. But aren't the awards supposed to be about this year?

Packers aren't humming along on offense anymore now that the truly award-worthy man is out of the picture... Aaron Rodgers.

Also, Megatron for MVP.

gogolf424
gogolf424

Eddie Lacy not even considered for OROY? Seriously?

Allthings18
Allthings18

Your MVP is cute.  Ignorant, but cute.

jhc54
jhc54

Terrell Thomas should be comeback. Not even close, with three ACL tears. Fix that please.

BenMyers
BenMyers

@space4mase  Petey's whole tepid opinion of the CPotY award is lazy and disappointing.  As Is his desire to marginalize already marginalized guys like FG kickers, despite the amount of vilification they get if they don't pull through. (remember Nick Folks getting chased out of Dallas?  Yup, because kicking FGs is sooooooo easy Pete.  Go kick a few. Then tell us about it)

thedon923
thedon923

@ChrisSanchez Okay, we get it. You're a Broncos fan and you're bitter. It's just one dude's opinion he doesn't speak for the population

TheeLidman
TheeLidman

@BlueBarron I'll never understand the strategy of suggesting how a prior team's coach, or a prior team's opponent, is more responsible for current success, than a new coach, or the winning team. Sure, maybe Haley wasn't the right fit for KC, but they were still 2-14. Does Alex Smith go there if Andy Reid isn't there? Does Bob Sutton go there and transform their 2012 26th scoring defense to the top scoring defense? I personally think R Ryan is a better candidate, but to say Reid doesn't deserve it, is incorrect, in my opinion.

ChrisSanchez
ChrisSanchez

@tlombardo949 as poor as a lot of the kick coverage in the NFL and as poor as tackling that is done.  Touchbacks are very important stat to keep.  Special teams is very underrated in the NFL but they are key to winning any NFL game.

TheeLidman
TheeLidman

@Baconpizza What effect, or bearing, does Revis' compensation have on his being a candidate for CPOY? Adrian Peterson gets paid quite well too.

TheeLidman
TheeLidman

@JustinParisi Richardson is a 3-4 DE, on the league's best run defense. Last year, the Jets were 25th in run defense. Last year, Sheldon Richardson was playing at Missouri. 

j7apple
j7apple

@regdaDkciN   For those that lack math skills  Lacy 134 Rushes 596 yards  Bernard 81 rushes 361 yards  

CMFJ
CMFJ

@Sportsfan18 


One stat that supports your argument is ESPN's QBR.  I know that not everyone is a fan of that stat, but of the advanced QB stats, it was the easiest to compare on a per game basis for each of the listed QBs.  I suspect the other advanced states (PFF and Outsiders), it would be similar.

Manning's top five games this year are in QBR were 95.9, 95.4, 93.7, 89.1, and 83.6.  Each of the other 3 QBs have only 1 game that would crack that list.   Brees and Rogers have both had two terrible games, with QBR < 40.  Manning has two games in the 50s (52.7 and 57.9).  Rivers has one <40, but most of his games have been in the 60-81 range, which is to say around the same the range as Manning's bottom 4 games.  In sum, Manning has been excellent in more games, by far than the other QBs listed, has had fewer average games, and has had not bad games.  

It is also useful to look at INTs and TDs as % of attempts.  

TDs: Manning 8.7%, Rivers 5.8%, Brees 6.5%, Rogers 6%

INTs: Rogers 1.6%, Manning 1.8%, Brees 2.2%, Rivers 2.4% 

In both categories, each is doing quite well

anon76
anon76

@Sportsfan18 

In Mr. King's defense, this was not written by him, but by the apparently infeebled mind of Greg Bedard.

Mike26
Mike26

@mgoetze5 Who's blocked JJ with less than 2 guys THIS year?  What other DT's have the impact he does on games?

Next....

TheeLidman
TheeLidman

@gogolf424 It's 1st half…he just started to make his move the past 3 weeks…love that guy

TheeLidman
TheeLidman

@jhc54 First off, TT was first hurt at USC, so that has no bearing on his NFL performance. Second, while his perseverance is admirable, the CPOY is also rated on performance. Revis had the same injury as TT, that's the only similarity they share. You can't compare the two from a performance stand point, before, or after their injuries.

siaccount
siaccount

@BenMyers Is nobody going to mention to this guy that Peter King did not write this article? Good one, Benny.

mgranadosv
mgranadosv

@Mike26 @mgoetze5 look at all those games the Texans D has won for them. Just look at how they completely stopped the Colts on sunday.

Yeah J. J. Watt is having a huge impact....in 2012

TheeLidman
TheeLidman

@Mike26 @mgoetze5 Well, I guess blocking him with 2 guys is working, because Houston is currently 18th in rush yds per game. I realize it's an entire defense, but Mo Wilkerson's presence has allowed rookie, Sheldon Richardson to thrive and 2nd yr UFA, Damon Harrison to be arguably the top NT in the game. He's making those around him better….and he's producing…facing double teams.

space4mase
space4mase

@TheeLidman @jhc54 huh? Comeback Player of the Year has little to do with previous performance. It seems to factor in every year, where the largest household name to be unfortunately injured and come back is handed the award. If you want to rate performance after the injury, you are right, the two cannot be compared. Revis has factored in as an average zone corner on a discombobulated defense without a win. Terrell Thomas has returned from two NFL ACL injuries in the last two seasons and leads the defensive back field in tackles, and provided quiet days to good receivers (Welker et al.). Not to mention last weeks NFC Defensive Player of the Week. 

C'mon Man.  

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