Now that the season is over, here are my selections for some New York Jets awards:
Most Valuable Offensive Player - Geno Smith
Obviously, there weren't that many offensive players that played amazingly well this year. Jeremy Kerley is always solid, Austin Howard had a good year, and David Nelson surprised us all. However, I think the best choice here is Smith. The team was 6-0 when Smith ran for a touchdown; simply put, when Smith played efficiently and well, the team won. When he struggled, the team struggled. That's how it often is for a quarterback.
Most Valuable Defensive Player - Damon Harrison
The easy answer here is Muhammad Wilkerson, and I think you would be correct in saying that he was the best defensive player. However, what Harrison did at the nose tackle position cannot be understated, and makes him the most valuable player in my book. As we've seen, the linebackers, especially David Harris, only perform as well as the nose tackle in front of them. Harrison played extraordinarily well, especially for a second year undrafted free agent, and he collapsed the pocket, held his blockers, and opened up gaps for everyone else. Harrison regularly commanded double teams, and really was the focal point of the excellent front seven.
Most Valuable Special Teams Player - Nick Folk
During the preseason, I thought this award might go to Robert Malone. My, how times have changed. Folk had a stunning year, going 33 for 36, good for a 91.6% conversion rate. Folk had three game winning kicks against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots. He connected on twenty-three straight field goals, one shy of the franchise record.
Rookie of the Year - Sheldon Richardson
Richardson might be able to qualify as the best offensive and defensive player. If you were to redo the 2013 NFL Draft, Richardson might go first overall. He had 77 tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 pass defense. Oh, and he had two touchdowns on three carries as a fullback, the most in a season by any defensive lineman since William "The Refrigerator" Perry.
Most Improved Position Group - Linebackers
I don't think you can understate the improvement of the linebackers this year under LB Coach Brian VanGorder. Harris, who has struggled the past few years, made a resurgence with a vengeance. Demario Davis looked like an excellent starter, and Quinton Coples got better every game, despite changing positions, breaking his ankle, and missing a significant amount of practice time. Even Calvin Pace had a career year, despite getting worse every year for the past three years.
Who wins these awards for you? What other awards would you give out?