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ESPN's "way too early" awards for MVP, ROY, Top Coaches, etc. after Week 4

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Some really interesting names here....even if way too early.

Full article here.... https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27751910/nfl-quarter-season-awards-barnwell-picks-mvp-best-rookies-more

I'm going to post a subset of the very long article including things that might be most discussion-worthy.


NFL quarter-season awards: Barnwell's picks for MVP, best rookies and more

With four games of the NFL season in the books for most teams, it's about time to get to the quarter-season awards. I hand these awards out every year for a few reasons. One is to serve as a good reminder of what we were thinking at the time; 12 months ago, as an example, Mike Vrabel was a reasonable Coach of the Year candidate.

To try to get a handle on who is currently winning the major award races, I went through several of the long-standing Associated Press awards and identified my top three candidates after Week 4. To be clear, in each case, I'm talking exclusively about how a player has performed over the first month of the season as opposed to their chances of winning it at the end of the season, although I'll discuss the latter as I explain each pick. I'm also nominating the players I want as opposed to the players I think are the actual favorites to win.

In addition, I also came up with a few awards that aren't yet official, including stuff like Acquisition and Miscalculation of the Year. I'll finish with Most Valuable Player, but let's start with rookies and go from there.

Defensive Rookie of the Year


3. Devin Bush, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Bush leads the league with three fumble recoveries, but I'd characterize that as something closer to a trick than a repeatable skill. For one, he didn't recover any fumbles during his time in Michigan. Defenders who don't force fumbles also rarely recover a significant amount of the fumbles other people create. He has those fumble recoveries without a single forced fumble; when you look back at linebackers over the past 20 years, no linebacker has recovered more than four fumbles he didn't force himself in a single season.


2. Darnell Savage, S, Green Bay Packers


1. Brian Burns, DE, Carolina Panthers

The defensive awards tend to go to pass-rushers, and with apologies to Chase Winovich, Josh Allen and a handful of other defenders, Burns has been the most disruptive pass-rusher from this rookie class through four weeks. The No. 16 overall pick has 2.5 sacks, but where he really stands out is with nine quarterback knockdowns, which is tied for second in the NFL behind Shaq Barrett. Pass-rushers usually turn about 45% of their knockdowns into sacks, and Burns' aptitude in getting to the quarterback suggests his sack totals are likely to rise. He is the only defender in the league with at least two quarterback hits in each of his first four games.


Burns ranks 14th in ESPN's pass rush win rate metric, which paces all rookie pass-rushers, although Allen is just behind him at 15th. Of Burns' sacks, 1.5 would qualify as coverage sacks, but the other one is one of the filthiest sacks of the season, with Burns making Cardinals tackle Jordan Mills look like a grandfather. Burns is already showing off uncommon bend and flexibility as a pass-rusher. He's already a problem for opposing offenses.


Offensive Rookie of the Year


3. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders


2. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington


1. Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

I didn't expect this one! One of the higher-drafted quarterbacks has a better shot of coming away with this award, but Daniel Jones has played only about 60% as many snaps as Minshew, and the Jaguars' quarterback has significantly better numbers than Kyler Murray. Though the first overall pick led the Cardinals back for a dramatic tie against the Lions in Week 1, and Jones followed with a last-gasp victory over the Buccaneers in his first start, Minshew brought the Jaguars back twice in the fourth quarter to take and retake the lead against the Broncos.

He has also improved with more experience. He was mostly checking things down and playing conservative football over the first two weeks of the year, but in the wins over the Titans and Broncos, he has averaged an even 9 air yards per attempt. The book on Minshew coming out of Washington State was that he lacked an NFL-caliber arm, but on the final drive of the Broncos game, Minshew had no trouble hitting a 16-yard deep out to Dede Westbrook on the left sideline from what was nearly the opposite hashmark. The sixth-round pick's size was supposed to be a problem, but it helped him duck away from pass pressure and scramble to convert a third-and-14.

When I wrote about Mason Rudolph a couple of weeks ago, I noted that it wasn't a good sign the new Steelers starter had fallen to the third round. Rudolph is 6-foot-5 and 236 pounds. He's a good athlete. If a quarterback with prototypical size has NFL skills, they go in the first round. (Several people brought up Tom Brady as a counter, which is like using a winning lottery ticket from 15 years ago as proof that it's smart to play the lottery.)

If there was a late-round quarterback the scouts would miss on and underestimate, though, it would be someone like Minshew. The 23-year-old is just under 6-foot-1 and ranks in the sixth percentile of height for quarterbacks. He doesn't have prototypical arm strength. He spent two years as an anonymous passer at East Carolina before transferring to Washington State, where he excelled in his lone season in Pullman. His coach there was Mike Leach, who runs the Air Raid and doesn't think scouts are very smart.


Should the Jaguars tell Nick Foles he's going to be a backup when he comes back? No. It has been only three starts for Minshew, and there have been long stretches in those games where the Jags haven't been able to do anything on offense. They are also realistically committed to paying Foles at least $21.1 million after 2019, and Foles had thrown all of eight pass attempts as a Jaguars quarterback before breaking his collarbone. At the same time, the Jaguars clearly have something with Minshew. He's the best quarterback Jacksonville has drafted during the David Caldwell era.


Coach of the Year


3. Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers


2. Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills


1. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

Has there been a week over the past 15 years where anybody doubted Belichick was the best coach in football? Virtually every person who works inside the NFL or watches it closely would pick him as the league's best coach, and with that knowledge, he has won this award ... three times. It took 14-2 seasons in 2003 and 2010 and that famous 16-0 campaign from 2007 to earn Belichick this nod. Consider that 14-2 seasons weren't enough for him to win this award in 2004 (when it went to Marty Schottenheimer and the 12-4 Chargers) or 2016 (Jason Garrett's 13-3 season with the Cowboys).

Guess who's back? Even after a narrow victory over the Bills, the Patriots finished the first quarter of the season with the third-best point differential of any team since the 1970 merger at plus-95. It's coincidentally the best mark any team has posted since 2007, and you can probably guess who pulled off that feat. The Pats also face the league's easiest schedule over the remainder of the season. FPI projects the Patriots to win 13.1 games; if they top that total, I think it's about time for Belichick to win this award again.


Coordinator of the Year


3. Greg Roman, OC, Baltimore Ravens


2. Todd Bowles, DC, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Do you remember how bad the Bucs were on defense last season? They finished last in the league in DVOA. They allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a passer rating of 110.9, the same figure Russell Wilson posted on the other side of the ball. The Bucs posted the second-worst red zone defense since 2001. Oh, and star pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul went down during the offseason with a neck injury and hasn't played in 2019.

By points allowed, the Bucs haven't been significantly better, given that they rank 30th in points allowed per game. DVOA, though, pegs them as the seventh-best defense in the league. How does that work? For one, Jameis Winston has thrown three pick-sixes, which amounts to 21 points that have nothing to do with the defense. Tampa's defense has scored twice on its own and created nine takeaways, fourth in the league and more than half of its season-long total from 2018. The Bucs also have faced 46 drives through four games, the seventh most in the league, giving opposing offenses more chances to score.

I'm not sure this is going to be the seventh-best defense in football over the remainder of the season, but Bowles has managed to coax some upside out of this unit. Unsurprisingly from a Bowles defense, Tampa is blitzing a ton -- 41.8% of the time -- and allowing the league's 12th-fewest yards per dropback when it does. Tampa also leads the league in rush defense DVOA and yards per carry against.


1. Kellen Moore, OC, Dallas Cowboys


Miscalculation of the Year


3. New York Jets sign Ryan Kalil

I was in favor of this deal. The Jets needed to surround Sam Darnold with all the help he could get, and after adding guard Kelechi Osemele to their line on a salary dump from the Raiders, coaxing Kalil out of retirement made sense. New York gave the long-time Panthers standout a one-year, $8.4 million deal to end his brief retirement and immediately installed the 34-year-old as the starting center.

As is the case with most things related to the Jets this season, Kalil's tenure in green hasn't gone well. He has two penalties in three games after never topping three in a 16-game season. The Jets benched Kalil for a period during the Week 2 loss to the Browns. Coach Adam Gase has suggested that the Jets might make changes to their offensive line after returning from the bye, and while it's probably too early to give up on the five-time Pro Bowler, Kalil certainly hasn't helped what has been a dismal offensive line.


2. Melvin Gordon holds out


1. Everything related to Antonio Brown




Most Valuable Player


3. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks


2. Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys


1. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs



Some themes that are hard to ignore.  Guys that were either passed on by the Jets (all the Rookies), Mahomes, Wilson, etc. or used to be part of the Jets (Bowles) ending up in the positive categories.  The Jets landing in a negative category with Kalil.  The top two candidates for Coach of the Year being in the AFC East and neither are from the Jets.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

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Obviously this guy is clueless because Josh Allen was the next LT. A completely  unblockable sack monster that was going to live in the backfield and break the TFL record. OC were going to stay awake at night trying to figure out how to contain the beast. QBs were going to pee themselves when they saw him line up across from them. RBs would automatically cut back inside to try to avoid him but still get tackled for a loss. TEs would jog instead of running their route because they knew it was pointless to even try to get open. The sculptor in Canton already started on his bust and made the stand 3” higher then everyone else because he was going to be that good. 

This guy is clearly bias and didn't read this forum during draft time.   

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47 minutes ago, Guilhermezmc said:

The draft isn't rocket science, If ever watched tape on burns you knew he was going to be a stud.

+1. I think a lot Jets fans feared his size and all that jazz. He looked legit to me and I was on the bandwagon saying he was top prospect in the draft.

Arm chair GMs sometimes get it right. Can’t get too happy though because the Jets would have imploded after my trade for AB. 

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13 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

LOL  Todd Bowles still fooling the pundits.

Tampa 21st in yards per game, 30th in points per game defensively.

I agree.  He seems to be mentioned simply because of their improvement over last year's abysmal defense in Tampa....and beating a Rams team that's clearly taken a little step back from last season.

It is still amazing to me though that other teams find a way to get good coaches in their coordinator positions but the Jets seem to hire these guys as Head Coaches.  Rex Ryan, Todd Bowles, even Adam Gase.....I might not mind seeing those guys as DCs and OC respectively, the way Baltimore, Arizona/Tampa, and Denver did with the three of those guys.  Until this year with Gregg Williams (and the years with Belichick, Crenel, etc.) the Jets just never seem to get the right coaches into the right slots.

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