2013 Football Outsiders Awards
comments by Aaron Schatz
Welcome to the results of the 11th annual Football Outsiders Awards -- the best and worst players of the year, as voted on by you, our readers. For those curious about the FO Award winners in past years, you will find links to each of the previous FO Awards articles on this page.
Who is your choice as Offensive MVP for 2013? (Last year's winner: Adrian Peterson)
|76.4% Peyton Manning
11.2% Philip Rivers
3.3% Jamaal Charles
3.3% LeSean McCoy
2.2% Josh Gordon
1.6% Russell Wilson
1.4% Drew Brees
0.6% Calvin Johnson
Yeah, not a hard one this year. This is where I get to comment on the fact that Sirius/XM analyst and former Bears quarterback Jim Miller voted for Tom Brady instead of Manning, which is why Manning did not win the AP's award unanimously. Jim Miller is nuts. Yes, Manning has much better receiving weapons than Brady right now. The Patriots happen to have a better offensive line than the Broncos, except at right guard. And while it is true that the Broncos had a better defense than the Patriots, it wasn't that much better, especially over the course of the entire year, because a lot of people forget how good the Patriots' defense was early before everyone got injured. Better than Josh Miller voting for Brady is the fact that Tom Curran got talked out of voting for Brady... by Brady himself, who told him to vote for Manning.
Or, if you want someone who really dragged his team into the playoffs despite a terrible defense, you could have been like 11.2 percent of FO readers and voted for Philip Rivers.
Who is your choice as Defensive MVP for 2013? (Last year's winner: J.J. Watt)
|24.0% Luke Kuechly
21.9% Earl Thomas
12.1% J.J. Watt
11.3% Robert Mathis
10.0% NaVorro Bowman
|9.9% Robert Quinn
4.6% Lavonte David
2.2% Patrick Peterson
2.1% Justin Houston
1.9% Vontaze Burfict
In a year filled with strong Defensive MVP candidates, the FO readers went with the AP, which named Kuechly as Defensive Player of the Year, instead of the PFWA, which named Robert Quinn. Earl Thomas finished second; as a reminder, we did an informal poll a couple weeks ago to decide on nominating only Thomas or Richard Sherman, not both, so as to not split votes from Seahawks fans or people who just wanted to vote for someone from the Seahawks' historically strong defense. J.J. Watt was third, which shows that FO readers are smart; he was really good this year, despite not getting anywhere near the press he got last year because his teammates -- especially the offensive ones -- were awful. I was a bit surprised to see Lavonte David and his 49 Defeats (second only to Watt's record-setting 2012) finish seventh. But like I said, great year for strong Defensive MVP candidates.
Who is your choice as NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for 2013? (Last year's winner: Russell Wilson)
|65.6% Keenan Allen
16.9% Eddie Lacy
5.7% Giovani Bernard
|5.0% Kyle Long
4.1% Larry Warford
2.7% Mike Glennon
Highest receiving DYAR by a rookie wide receiver, 1989-2013:
Randy Moss, 1998 MIN: 428 DYAR
Michael Clayton, 2004 TB: 389 DYAR
Keenan Allen, 2013 SD: 342 DYAR
A.J. Green, 2011 CIN: 288 DYAR
Lee Evans, 2004 BUF: 284 DYAR
Marques Colston, 2006 NO: 258 DYAR
Who is your choice as NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year for 2013? (Last year's winner: Bobby Wagner)
|36.0% Sheldon Richardson
18.3% Kiko Alonso
14.5% Star Lotulelei
13.9% Tyrann Mathieu
|7.1% Eric Reid
4.5% Kenny Vaccaro
3.1% Desmond Trufant
2.6% Alec Ogletree
Just like it was a good year for Defensive MVP candidates, it was also a good year for Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates. In fact, it was really a great year for standout defensive performances overall, which is a bit strange since offensive levels have never been higher. Maybe the better defenders just stand out more because defense as a whole seems so historically mediocre.
Who was the best offensive lineman of 2013? (open question, two votes per ballot, top 14 listed) (Last year's winner: Joe Staley)
|16.1% Joe Thomas
10.1% Louis Vasquez
8.9% Evan Mathis
8.0% Joe Staley
7.6% Tyron Smith
5.9% Logan Mankins
4.9% Jason Peters
|3.6% Andrew Whitworth
2.5% Mike Iupati
2.5% Trent Williams
2.3% Branden Albert
2.1% D.J. Fluker
2.1% Ryan Kalil
2.1% Josh Sitton
Getting out of San Diego really raised Vasquez's profile, as he wasn't among our top 14 votegetters a year ago and finishes second this year. Tyron Smith definitely had a breakout year for the Cowboys and is definitely in the conversation as the best left tackle in the league. I have to admit to being surprised to see D.J. Fluker get enough votes to be listed here, more than more established players such as Jahri Evans and Nate Solder and more than the two best rookie linemen this year, Kyle Long and Larry Warford. Honestly, Fluker isn't even the best player on his own line. Nick Hardwick is.
Who is your choice for NFL Coach of the Year in 2013? (Last year's winner: Jim Harbaugh)
|23.7% Bill Belichick
16.0% Chip Kelly
16.0% Andy Reid
13.2% Ron Rivera
10.5% Mike McCoy
|10.0% Pete Carroll
8.6% Bruce Arians
0.8% Jim Harbaugh
0.6% Sean Payton
0.5% John Fox
Surprise! This result really stunned me, but a lot of FO readers seem to value holding a team together despite numerous injuries (and one murder arrest) over improving a team in your first year as head coach. I honestly thought Ron Rivera would be chosen by our readers, since he got religion on fourth downs this season. I even went to check if this was some sort of ballot-box stuffing by Patriots fans who voted for a lot of other various Patriots players, but it wasn't. The next award is an example of that.
Who is your choice for the Bill Arnsparger Award for Coordinator of the Year in 2013? (Last year's winner: Greg Roman)
|27.7% Ken Whisenhunt, SD offense
19.1% Dan Quinn, SEA defense
12.2% Todd Bowles, ARI defense
10.0% Mike Zimmer, CIN defense
7.2% Adam Gase, DEN offense
|6.8% Mike Pettine, BUF defense
6.2% Sean McDermott, CAR defense
4.3% Dave Toub, KC special teams
3.5% Aaron Kromer, CHI offense
3.0% Josh McDaniels, NE offense
Whisenhunt did an excellent job getting the huge comeback year from Philip Rivers and coaxing a strong performance out of a somewhat makeshift offensive line. Whisenhunt, Zimmer, and Pettine were all hired for head coaching jobs after the season.
Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Wood Award for 2013 (player who most hurt his team, on or off the field)? (Last year's winner: Mark Sanchez)
|44.4% Richie Incognito
21.4% Trent Richardson
14.3% Matt Schaub
|10.0% Derek Cox
8.6% Brandon Weeden
1.5% other candidates
Incognito hurt his team off the field, and then hurt his team on the field because he had to come off the field. The Miami offensive line was a mess this year, and it wasn't a help when they lost their longtime starting guard. Incognito takes the KCW Award from Trent Richardson, who played badly for not one but two teams.
Who is your choice for the Keep Choppin' Game Film Award for the worst coach of 2013? (Last year's winner: Tony Sparano)
|34.8% Greg Schiano, TB head coach
24.0% Mike Shanahan, WAS head coach
20.8% Monte Kiffin, DAL defensive coordinator
|9.1% Jim Caldwell, BAL offense
8.3% Greg Kubiak, HOU head coach
3.0% Mel Tucker, CHI defense
Just remember, Ron Rivera was one of the candidates for this award last year. So was Todd Bowles, who ran the Arizona defense that ranked second in DVOA this season. So you too can turn things around, Greg Schiano! But I don't think you will.
Who is your choice for the Art Rooney Jr. Award for Executive(s) of the Year? (Last year's winner: John Schneider)
|49.2% John Schneider, SEA
23.8% John Elway, DEN
9.5% John Dorsey, KC
|8.4% Steve Keim, ARI
5.0% Howie Roseman, PHI
4.2% Trent Baalke, SF
2013 was the second straight season that Seattle led the league in DVOA with Denver second, and it is also the second straight season where FO readers gave the Art Rooney Jr. Award to John Schneider with John Elway finishing second. I trust that Elway will eventually win this award, but he probably has to hire Terrell Davis as assistant general manager first. Speaking of Mr. Elway...
Who is your choice for the John Elway Award for disappointing highly-drafted rookie who turns things around with an impressive sophomore season? (Last year's winner: Kyle Rudolph)
|78.4% Alshon Jeffery
7.3% Michael Floyd
6.0% Ryan Tannehill
|4.2% Quinton Coples
3.9% Riley Reiff
0.2% Rueben Randle
Pretty obvious one this year.
Who is your pick for the Kurt Warner Award, for a low-drafted (or undrafted) backup who finally has a breakout year as a starter? (Last year's winner: Alex Boone)
|35.2% Julian Edelman
29.6% Josh McCown
16.2% Junior Galette
|9.0% George Selvie
8.7% Rashad Jennings
1.3% Jeff Cumberland
Some really nice breakout players this year. I'm guessing most of our readers have no idea that Jeff Cumberland finished second in DVOA among tight ends with at least 25 pass targets.
A few people asked why I didn't list Julius Thomas among the nominees for this award. Thomas wasn't really a long-time backup; he was a fourth-round pick in only his third season, and it was always known he was a project who wouldn't produce for his first year or two.
Who was the least deserving pick for the Pro Bowl? (Last year's winner: Jeff Saturday)
|29.9% Frank Gore
19.6% Marshal Yanda
12.0% Max Unger
10.0% Brandon Flowers
|8.1% Brent Grimes
7.6% Ahmad Brooks
7.6% Aqib Talib
5.2% Ben Grubbs
Football Outsiders readers were not big fans of Frank Gore this year, as he ranked just 20th in rushing DYAR and 24th in DVOA. I don't think the problem is really Gore, as the Adjusted Line Yards stats suggest that he did his share this year while his blocking declined. The problem was choosing Gore ahead of Eddie Lacy and DeMarco Murray. As for the other choices here, Yanda didn't suddenly become a bad player, but it does seem odd to pick anyone from this year's Baltimore offensive line given how bad it was overall. Yanda was named to the Pro Bowl ahead of Evan Mathis and Andrew Whitworth (who did play guard half the year) as well as stud rookies Long and Warford. Max Unger struggled with injury and wasn't as good as he was in 2012; I would have given his spot to Nick Hardwick. We'll get to this when we run cornerback charting stats soon, but Flowers and Grimes had charting stats that didn't match their reputations or what they put up in past years.
The most deserving offensive player left off the original Pro Bowl roster is: (open question, top 10 listed) (Last year's winner: Russell Wilson)
|20.0% Alshon Jeffery
9.6% Evan Mathis
8.1% Nick Foles
7.8% Keenan Allen
5.9% Jordy Nelson
|5.6% Ryan Mathews
4.4% Andrew Luck
3.0% Anquan Boldin
2.2% Tony Romo
1.9% DeMarco Murray
This is really a problem of numbers: Who should have been left off the original Pro Bowl roster to make room for Jeffery, Allen, or Nelson? There's probably a good argument that Andre Johnson was not at his best this year, but really, high passing numbers around the league make for a lot of standout receivers, and there isn't room for all of them.
The most deserving defensive player left off the original Pro Bowl roster is: (open question, top 10 listed) (Last year's winner: Richard Sherman)
|40.2% Lavonte David
7.8% Muhammad Wilkerson
5.3% Michael Bennett
3.3% Calais Campbell
2.0% Kiko Alonso
|2.0% Karlos Dansby
2.0% Thomas Davis
2.0% Devin McCourty
1.6% Donald Butler
1.6% Bobby Wagner
Like a year ago, when 47.4 percent of readers voted for Richard Sherman, this one was easy. The next three players are defensive ends, and I'm not sure which of the defensive ends who were chosen should have stayed home for Wilkerson or Campbell. (No offense to Bennett, but I would not have put him in the Pro Bowl over Wilkerson or Campbell.) Cameron Jordan, maybe?
The most underrated special teams player in the NFL is: (open question, top 10 listed) (Last year's winner: Justin Tucker)
|14.6% Cordarrelle Patterson
12.4% Stephen Gostkowski
11.4% Darrell Stuckey
9.7% Jeremy Lane
5.9% Andy Lee
|5.4% Mike Scifres
3.8% Nick Folk
3.2% Steven Hauschka
3.2% Kassim Osgood
2.7% Dan Bailey
Patterson was a casualty of the decision to remove kickoffs from the Pro Bowl, since Marcus Sherels returned punts for the Vikings. Patterson eventually was chosen as a "replacement" because Antonio Brown had been chosen as both a wide receiver and punt returner. I'm really blown away to see this many votes for San Diego gunner Darrell Stuckey, who didn't even come close to leading the league in special teams tackles this year. He had 12; the leader was Marcus Easley of the Bills with 23 followed by Justin Bethel of the Cardinals, who did make the Pro Bowl, with 21.
Which is your choice for Game of the Year in 2013? (Last year's choice: Baltimore 38, Denver 35 (2 OT) in the Divisional Round)
|27.0% AFC Wild Card: Kansas City 44 at Indianapolis 45
21.6% NFC Championship: San Francisco 17 at Seattle 23
15.1% Week 5: Denver 51 at Dallas 48
13.2% Week 12: San Diego 41 at Kansas City 38
11.0% Week 12: Denver 31 at New England 34 (OT)
|7.2% Week 14: Minnesota 26 at Baltimore 29
2.4% Week 8: Dallas 30 at Detriot 31
1.4% Week 7: Denver 33 at Indianapolis 39
0.6% Week 6: New Orleans 27 at New England 30
0.5%: Week 15: Baltimore 18 at Detroit 16
Player most likely to breakout in 2014 (open question, top 12 listed): (Last year's winner: LaMichael James)
|7.5% Cordarrelle Patterson
4.8% Tavon Austin
4.5% Giovani Bernard
4.2% Ladarius Green
3.6% Marcus Lattimore
3.3% Montee Ball
|2.7% EJ Manuel
2.7% Ryan Tannehill
2.4% Manti Te'o
2.1% Le'Veon Bell
2.1% Jamie Collins
2.1% DeAndre Hopkins
The good news for Cordarrelle Patterson is that he has tons of natural athletic talent. The bad news is that FO readers seem to be really bad at this one. Last year, the readers chose LaMichael James. The year before, they chose Matt Flynn.
Player most likely to significantly decline in 2014 (open question, top 13 listed): (Last year's winner: Robert Griffin)
|17.9% Peyton Manning
14.1% Frank Gore
10.0% Tom Brady
7.6% Nick Foles
3.5% Philip Rivers
2.9% Josh Gordon
2.9% Adrian Peterson
|2.4% Jamaal Charles
2.1% Drew Brees
1.8% Julian Edelman
1.8% Marshawn Lynch
1.8% LeSean McCoy
1.8% Knowshon Moreno
This one is called "math." When nobody else had thrown more than 50 touchdowns in a season before, it's not likely that Peyton Manning can do it twice in a row. However, I'm not sure why so many people expect Tom Brady to decline next year. He already declined plenty this year, he rebounded a bit after midseason, and it's likely he'll have better weapons in 2014. As for Frank Gore, it feels like there are so many running backs now in San Francisco just waiting to pick at his carcass, but the guy's been remarkably resiliant.
Which of the following teams is most likely next year's surprise Super Bowl contender? (Last year's choice: Carolina)
|22.1% Tampa Bay
18.0% St. Louis
FO readers chose Carolina for this question two years in a row, and the second time was the charm! So why not go back to the NFC South well, where it seems like teams are constantly churning and climbing out of last place to go to the playoffs. Atlanta probably would have won this if I had included them; I didn't because let's be honest, an Atlanta rebound wouldn't be a very big surprise. Unlike Houston, they'll be going to battle in 2014 with the same quarterback and head coach who took them to the playoffs the last couple years.
Which playoff team is most likely to miss the playoffs in 2014? (Last year's choice: Minnesota)
|32.0% San Diego
22.9% Kansas City
|2.6% New England
1.8% San Francisco
1.4% Green Bay
1.3% New Orleans
Well, heck, San Diego very nearly missed the playoffs in 2013, and the NFC West should make tough opponents for both the Chargers and Chiefs next year.
The "Get Your Story Straight" Award for best commercial during NFL games this year goes to:
(Last year's choice: NFL Play 60 Cam Newton)
|18.6% Sprint James Earl Jones/Malcolm McDowell
15.7% AT&T "It's not complicated"
14.4% Dodge Durango Ron Burgandy ads
14.2% Bud Light "It's only crazy if it doesn't work"
12.4% Old Spice "Made a man out of my son"
10.6% DirectTV "Get rid of cable" campaign
9.7% Old Spice Wes Welker ads
4.4% Nike "Calvin vs. Johnson"
The "John Mellencamp Must Die" Award for most annoying commercial during NFL games this year goes to:
(Last year's choice: Pepsi Drew Brees/One Direction)
|21.6% State Farm Discount Double Check
16.4% Chevrolet Silverado "A man... a man and his truck"
11.1% Old Spice "made a man out of my son"
11.1% Papa John's Peyton Manning ads
10.1% McDonald's Joe Flacco/Colin Kaepernick "Mighty Wings"
8.6% GEICO "Pig in a blanket"
6.5% Bud Light "It's only crazy if it doesn't work"
6.3% Nissan Rogue "Race across town"
5.7% Dodge Durango Ron Burgandy
2.6% AT&T "It's not complicated"
That does it for the 2013 Football Outsiders Awards. Once again, thanks to all the readers for voting. Next stop: The offseason!
87 comments, Last at 20 Nov 2016, 4:35am
#3 by serutan // Feb 10, 2014 - 11:40pm
"I trust that Elway will eventually win this award, but he probably has to hire Terrell Davis as assistant general manager first. "
I sure am glad I wasn't drinking anything when I read that, otherwise my monitor and keyboard would have been thoroughly sprayed.
#4 by Led // Feb 10, 2014 - 11:41pm
"I'm not sure why so many people expect Tom Brady to decline next year. He already declined plenty this year. . ."
Isn't that sort of answering your own question? If Brady's decline this year was attributable in material part to age, then all else being equal it's reasonable to expect continued age-related decline. If a 32 year old running back has a bit of a down year, wouldn't you guess that the next year would be worse?
On the other hand, if you think Brady's numbers this year are attributable solely to weaker talent around him, then presumably you did not vote for him in this category!
#7 by Ryan D. // Feb 10, 2014 - 11:51pm
In a year filled with strong Defensive MVP candidates, the FO readers went in a different direction from the AP and PFWA, who both named Robert Quinn as Defensive Player of the Year.
#9 by Raiderjoe // Feb 11, 2014 - 12:40am
Didn't vote but woulr have goje wity bowles for asst xoach pf year, Raiders for most likel6 for Super Bowl, mathis for offensice lineman, allen anr richardson for RoYs. Wes Welker old Spice qds for commercial of year.
#11 by bubqr // Feb 11, 2014 - 1:49am
I love Kuechly, but I'm not sure on him as DPOTY. Earl Thomas, Bowman too. All of them are the best players(debatable for Thomas) of great playoff defenses. As an individual award, I would go with JJ Watt, carrying his defense by himself.
I don't get what's the thinking on Houston being a surprise contender next year. Chances are a rookie QB might start the season, or will at least be pushing for the job very early. People think that Schaub will be able to rebound in a major way, despite a declining Andre Johnson and bring this team to the SB? They sure look to me like a team that missed his window, and is now looking 2/3 years from now with JJ Watt + their new QB to lead them there, but next year? I really don't see it. Curious to see the reasoning from those 20%.
TB sure makes a lot of sense. I do think that Carolina and the Saints are due to have a bit of a down year and I'm not as high on the Falcons as Aaron seems to be with a really old R.White/S.Jackson and no TonyG.
I was also very surprised to see teams like the Raiders, Jaguars (lol) and no Jets in there. Geno improving, a good FA WR could make this offense average, and with their very good defense that could be enough to have them be this year Carolina.
On the other side, given Brees' age, the salary cap situation and the 2nd best division in football next year(despite what I say above), I can't see how the Saints are the team the most likely to be back in the playoffs after Seattle, over a team like NE that fought a trillion injuries to end in a conference championship.
Regarding Elway finishing second on the GM votes, apart from signing Peyton and some nice FA moves this year, what are his accomplishments? Looking at his drafts, his first one as a GM, therefore the one he probably had a minimal impact upon, was good to very good (Von Miller, Orlando Franklin, Julius Thomas, Nate Irving), but the last 2 look pretty bad. FA signing-wise, he did some good moves with Vasquez, S.Phillips and Pot Roast this season, but overall, his resume is really boosted by the single presence of Peyton Manning on the roster, and to me does not deserve to be put above Dorsey or Baalke
#16 by BJR // Feb 11, 2014 - 6:11am
My reasoning with Houston was simple: strength of schedule/opposition. They are in what projects to be the weakest division in by far the weaker conference. San Diego made the AFC playoffs last year (and won a game) with an 8-8 record and possibly the worst defence in the league. It really isn't a stretch to see a similar outcome with Houston next season if they can find some decent QBing and injury luck.
I don't doubt that Tampa are probably a better overall team than Houston, but they are mired in a horrid division/conference. Also: Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton.... Mike Glennon???
Re. Elway, I agree. He deserved a lot of credit last year for signing Peyton. This year, meh.
#18 by Mr Shush // Feb 11, 2014 - 7:50am
Yeah. Terrible division, team much more talented than their record, likely to have better injury luck, likely huge upgrade at quarterback because even a rookie Bridgewater or Manziel is almost certainly streets ahead of Schaub or Keenum, never mind Yates.
#41 by Ryan D. // Feb 11, 2014 - 2:24pm
Elway was acting in the better interest of his team by trying to get Dumervil to take a pay cut. The fact that Dumervil's agent dropped the ball on submitting the paperwork in a timely manner shouldn't be Elway's fault.
#22 by Noahrk // Feb 11, 2014 - 9:58am
The Raiders have a ton of cap space, they can do pretty much anything they want. Geno improving? Maybe. Or maybe he's a bust holding back the team for a couple of years, a la Sanchez. I mean, Smith was truly terrible.
You're right about the DPOY, I should've voted for Watt. Oddly enough, I changed my mind precisely for the opposite reasons you cite: I thought that the defensive MVP should be on a strong defensive team that accomplished something. Only later did I realize we weren't voting for the MVP.
The man with no sig
#25 by are-tee // Feb 11, 2014 - 10:45am
Geno actually played pretty well the last quarter of the season. He started making much better decisions and cut down on turnovers and sacks. You also can't just focus on his passing stats - he made a lot of big plays running with the ball.
#23 by rageon // Feb 11, 2014 - 10:13am
I'd say that the signings of Vasquez, Phillips, Knighton -- plus DRC (who had a great year) -- were extremely successful. Obviously Denver isn't going to sign that many stud players as free agents every year (including two who ended up among the best at their positions). But in terms of how successful a teams' signings were in 2013, Denver did as well as anyone.
#46 by tunesmith // Feb 11, 2014 - 3:20pm
Re: Elway. I mostly agree about the last two years. Some people are really high on Derek Wolfe, but I never really saw it. Who knows if he'll see the field again, although that part couldn't have been anticipated by Elway's front office.
I don't think Osweiler will be the Broncos starter of the future. Hillman and Bolden look like busts or underperformers. Blake was cut. You have to get to the last two picks (Malik Jackson and Trevathan) to find some gems - I tend to think Denver is better at late-round value signings than finding early-round producers.
For the 2013 draft, they lost Tavarres King by exposing him to waivers, which had a lot of fans very upset. There's still hope for Sylvester Williams. The rest are a bunch of unknowns - Montee Ball has some potential but he strikes me as erratic, but none of them showed the early promise that Jackson and Trevathan showed the year before.
#61 by The Hypno-Toad // Feb 12, 2014 - 1:20pm
I'm with you on Wolfe, when I hear fans and radio people talking about him, it's like we're just not thinking of the same player. I hope he can come back and play, or failing that, that this weird illness/injury gets taken care of any he can have a normal life. But I haven't seen much of anything from him that makes me think that he is a meaningful improvement over the other guys who have drifted through the Broncos D-line in the last 15 years.
I am still not sure what the strategy was that led to the picks of Osweiler or Hillman. I don't have anything like a read on Osweiler, maybe he can play, maybe he can't. Maybe he'll finally get his chance when this team which is already short of depth loses critical pieces to free agency and/or retirement and it will look like a decline in results is his fault (He should ask Brian Griese about that one).
But at no point has Hillman looked like anything other than a wasted pick to me. Maybe he can have a late contract renaissance like Moreno just did, but he doesn't look fast enough in comparison to NFL talent to play the position the way he was touted after the draft, and he doesn't look strong enough to play the position in the way the Broncos have shown themselves willing to define the position since Manning got here.
Jackson and Trevathan seem like really strong values. I think Jackson still has more room for improvement, but Trevathan has been a big hit. I'm going to want to see a bit more of a track record before I start trying to parse whether Elway's front office is good or bad at early or late round picks, but early results do seem to indicate that whatever acumen they have shown is more concentrated in the later rounds.
My thought on Ball is that he was significantly better this season than Moreno was at any point in his career until roughly the last quarter of the 2012 season, and that he showed noticeable improvement in ball security and pass blocking as the year went on. Still needs a lot of work catching the ball, but I think he's been a reasonably successful pick at least so far.
#14 by thok // Feb 11, 2014 - 3:56am
I'm saddened that you've passed on having a Funniest Moment poll two years in a row now. I would have liked to know what percentage Ahmad Brooks going offsides would have gotten and what percentage of the vote the one Miami holder not paying attention would have gotten.
#19 by Mr Shush // Feb 11, 2014 - 7:53am
"There's probably a good argument that Andre Johnson was not at his best this year"
He put up north of 1400 yards catching passes from a second year undrafted guy, the rotting corpse of Matt Schaub and occasionally TJ Yates, who was actually worse than either of them. Sure, his DVOA was bad, but honestly, what do you expect in that situation?
#35 by Perfundle // Feb 11, 2014 - 12:52pm
It's easy to rack up yards when you get targeted more than any other receiver (other than Pierre Garcon). Those QBs also threw 8 interceptions when targeting him. The fact that Garcon can pick up almost as many yards with just one more target doesn't reflect highly upon Johnson.
#70 by MC2 // Feb 13, 2014 - 9:03am
The question that you don't seem to ask yourself is, "Why is Johnson being targeted so often, if his per-target production is not that great?" It seems obvious that the answer is either that he is getting open a lot, that when everybody's covered, he is always the default option, or, more likely, some combination of the two. In any case, I think those factors reflect quite well on his level of play.
#74 by Perfundle // Feb 13, 2014 - 3:38pm
I don't see why the second option necessarily reflects well on his level of play. It could simply be that he has a past reputation of being a great receiver but is now in decline (also see Fitzgerald, whom Floyd outperformed this year). He'll be 33 before the next season starts, after all. And being the default option on a team where the second-most targeted receiver was a rookie isn't that much of an accomplishment.
Another reason that Johnson was targeted so often was simply that they played from behind so much and had to throw the ball, which is something that Garcon faced as well.
#75 by MC2 // Feb 13, 2014 - 10:23pm
You make a good point about playing from behind, but as for Johnson being targeted a lot because of his past reputation, that same reputation also causes him to see tougher coverage (more safety help, better corners, etc.). Yet, in spite of that, the Texans (who get to see him in practice and should be more aware than anyone if he really is in decline) still feel that he is by far their best option.
#76 by Mr Shush // Feb 14, 2014 - 9:00am
It seems pretty obvious to me that being the sole offensive threat and focus of all defensive schemes while catching passes from terrible quarterbacks is going to seriously impair a guy's rate stats. Putting up roughly average per-play performance on a vast volume of targets in that context is seriously impressive. Megatron is probably the only other player in the league right now who could do it. Trust me, I watched every snap of the Texans' season (my eyes are still burning) and if Johnson's declined it's only in the sense that he is now a great receiver rather than the best in the league.
I heartily second the comments about the limited usefulness of receiving DYAR/DVOA.
#78 by Thomas_beardown // Feb 14, 2014 - 1:04pm
Looking through receiver targets, it looks like AJ Green and Antonio Brown (!) are the other guys who can do it.
Antonio Brown has much better quarterbacking than any of these others guys.
AJ Green had 3 fewer targets on a team that had 36 fewer pass attempts, and Brown had 14 fewer targets on a team with 37 fewer attempts.
#81 by Mr Shush // Feb 17, 2014 - 7:11pm
I think "doesn't fight for jump balls as much as a #1 WR should" is a fair criticism. But I also think Green massively outperforms his QB. He's very good at a lot of other things (like getting open deep). I'm not sure Dalton's much good at anything.
#82 by LionInAZ // Feb 17, 2014 - 10:49pm
I didn't say 'jump balls' specifically. I meant that from my observations Green lets himself get muscled out of plays too easily. Green's production has declined the past three years despite being targeted more, and he got shut down by the Chargers secondary in the playoffs, for Grid's sake.
#84 by Mr Shush // Feb 18, 2014 - 9:24am
Sorry, lousy reading comprehension on my part. I do think even that broader criticism has some substance, and Green's certainly got less efficient as he's been targeted more, as anyone would, but again, I find the ability to rack up 1400 yards (and 11 TDs) at roughly league average efficiency with quarterbacking that's both poor in general and specifically unsuited to the receiver's skill set quite impressive.
#85 by Mr Shush // Feb 18, 2014 - 9:29am
True, though I think from a receiver's point of view (as opposed to a fan's or a GM's) Roethlisberger to Stafford is the smallest gap of any of those 3. Still substantial, mind.
Roethlisberger >> Stafford >>> Dalton >>> [Texans QB]
#26 by are-tee // Feb 11, 2014 - 10:47am
"..disappointing highly-drafted rookie who turns things around with an impressive sophomore season"
I know he had a great year in 2013, but was Jeffrey really considered a disappointing, highly-drafted rookie in 2012?
#38 by TomC // Feb 11, 2014 - 1:36pm
He was a 2nd-rounder that they traded up to get, so I'm OK with the "highly drafted" part, but I don't think anyone was particularly disappointed in his performance in 2012. But we're splitting hairs here; he was very clearly the most improved 2nd-year player, which is what the award really is for.
#47 by justanothersteve // Feb 11, 2014 - 3:20pm
He caught 24 passes as a rookie (only one more than Devin Hester) despite usually being single-covered because Brandon Marshall was the only Bears WR threat. He had three offensive pass interference penalties in one game. I'd say yes.
#27 by BlueStarDude // Feb 11, 2014 - 10:52am
Late to the party, but just wanted to say, re: " I trust that Elway will eventually win this award, but he probably has to hire Terrell Davis as assistant general manager first." Classic. Made my day.
#30 by MilkmanDanimal // Feb 11, 2014 - 11:08am
I'm not sure I can live in a world where only a third of people voted for Schiano. After having spent a year fueled on little but pure hatred, I figured it would have been contagious and spread about the nation, leading us all into a new world where we just sit around and stab Schiano voodoo dolls in the head all day.
#39 by barf // Feb 11, 2014 - 1:45pm
Now you get to watch Lovie on the sidelines, which is something akin to someone standing on a street corner waiting for a bus. The Bucs will be a better team though.
"I'm in a glass case of emotion." Mainly because I'm a Chiefs fan...
#53 by Thomas_beardown // Feb 11, 2014 - 11:31pm
I don't watch much of the Bucs, but I did just watch Mel Tucker and injuries turn one of the top 20 defenses of all time into a bunch of clowns who couldn't figure out how to stop a run up the gut.
#65 by LionInAZ // Feb 12, 2014 - 6:18pm
It's not very surprising considering the Bucs generate so little interest outside of the S Florida/NFC South base. I wouldn't be surprised if the Dolphins or FSU had a bigger fan base in the Tampa Bay area.
#45 by jtr // Feb 11, 2014 - 2:59pm
Excellent point, the NO defense was one of the worst units in the league for a few years running before he brought them to the middle of the pack. I've always liked the Ryan brothers' defenses; I was hoping for a Rex firing just so we could see him focus on a defense somewhere again.
#60 by Joseph // Feb 12, 2014 - 12:57pm
Soph, that was exactly my comment at the end of the voting post. You'd think that the guy who took one of the worst defenses in NFL history and coached it into the top 10 with the preseason injuries that they had would have merited a spot on the ballot.
#34 by NWebster // Feb 11, 2014 - 12:40pm
I'm a little disappointed as I usually lime these winners much more than the press awards but I'm stunned that Kuechley still won DPOY. FO readers of all people shouldn't credit a guy for a compiling stat. I can only assume nobody saw LaVonte David as he was clearly the superior of the two LB's, he's so fast he literally blurrs across the screen and is notably better as both a Blitzer and in pass coverage than Luke. Luke is technically stronger at the point of attack, yet still not more effective as a run defender. And yes, JJ probably deserved it as well - he seemed to disrupt every play somehow.
I'm afraid its become a meme or something with Kuechley, until he actually plays badly hell be assumed to be the best LB in the NFL. Btw, other guys with high single game tackle totals include Damien Covington of the Bills a decade or so ago and strike replacement Bob Harris for the Chiefs against the Broncos in 87, yay Luke!
#36 by Karl Cuba // Feb 11, 2014 - 1:05pm
Well there's another knock on both David and Keuchly in that it's a lot easier to play linebacker behind a four man line then it is for a 3-4 ILB who will have to take on offensive linemen much more of the time.
#48 by dryheat // Feb 11, 2014 - 4:06pm
You sound a little bitter. Or a lot bitter. There are reasons to prefer David, or Kuechly, or Watt, or Earl Thomas, but denigrating his league-leading tackles for the season by way of comparing him to two random guys who had a high single-game total once in their life is a curious point to claim in your favor.
#49 by panthersnbraves // Feb 11, 2014 - 5:45pm
I would like to share some love for Dave Gettleman of the Panthers. He had the perfect storm of little cap room, lots of holes to fill, lots of injuries in one area (Offensive Line), and missing draft picks. He was still making deals long after most front offices had packed up for the year.
Rather than spreading the peanut butter thin and addressing a little bit everywhere, he focused on making a top-end Front 7 (OK, 6) and using one-year deals to cobble together a work-able(ish) roster. "Legion of Whom" anyone?
If he can figure out a way to effectively deal with Hardy's free agency and still fill the gaping holes in the O Line, Secondary, and Receiving Corps all in one more year, I have to think he would be considered next year.
#55 by TheInsider // Feb 12, 2014 - 3:49am
As Gregg Rosenthal said, Bowman had the year that people think Kuechly did. Regardless, Watt was the most deserving. Unfortunately for him, these awards will almost always correlate with team success, with the exception of ROY when it's not a QB. With the least deserving thing, I'm surprised that people voted for Gore. His numbers were down but as Aaron (and PFF) said, a lot of it was the surprisingly inconsistent play of the o-line.
Also, I know every playoff team has to be included and I don't know how people voted (jokingly or serious), but why anyone picked Seattle or SF to miss the playoffs is beyond me. I'm surprised more didn't vote for New Orleans. While they still have Brees, their roster is very old, they're way over the cap, and in a division with Carolina and two teams that could make some noise in 2014, one of which was voted to be a surprise Super Bowl contender. Not to mention, they had to win the last game of the season or rely on another team losing to make the playoffs, even after they were gifted the win against the 49ers because of the game changing incorrect call.
Lastly, I find it somewhat ironic that Greg Roman was voted as the best coordinator last year and LaMichael James was voted as the most likely to break-out this year. The irony coming from Roman being one of the main reasons he had no chance to break out, failing to adapt his offense to LMJ's skill-set, including calling the least amount of screen plays in the league.
#56 by BJR // Feb 12, 2014 - 4:41am
Their division is indeed very tough, but there's no major reason to believe the Saints will decline next year. The offence has remained top 5 throughout the Brees/Payton era and they aren't going to be losing any major pieces this off-season as long as they sort out the Jimmy Graham franchise tag mess. The defence improved a lot last season, and could see some decline again, but there is some real talent there now as opposed to previous seasons.
A significant decline in Brees' play could see the Saints out of contention, and it is clearly a possibility at his age. But I would expect them to be in contention at the top of the NFC South again next season.
#57 by skeptic // Feb 12, 2014 - 4:50am
I really missed having the team names next to the players names. Maybe everyone else on this site is so knowledgeable they always know all the outstanding players, but I doubt that. Seems more like poor writing to me.
#58 by Duff Soviet Union // Feb 12, 2014 - 4:51am
Am I the only one who thinks Schneider getting executive of the year is just ridiculous? His big move was paying $13m per regular season reception plus a first rounder for Harvin and even taking into account that they were drafting late, the Seahawks draft picks contributed absolutely nothing this year.
He deserved it last year, but this year? Not even close.
#62 by bluereloaded // Feb 12, 2014 - 2:07pm
While that was the big move, that was far from the most important move that was made by Schneider. Picking up Avril and Bennett on short term deals were far more important to the team than Harvin was ever going to be due to the offensive scheme.
#59 by dmstorm22 // Feb 12, 2014 - 8:47am
I'm glad that the majority of people who didn't vote for Peyton voted for Rivers. It was maddening hearing all the excuses made for Brady's play, and even more maddening when the excuses started turning into reasons of why he was so great, all while Rivers had the same handicap of new targets on offense, a mediocre o-line, and the worst defense in the NFL, and was the 2nd best QB in the NFL in conventional and advanced stats (Foles excluded).
Rivers lost his #1 receiver in training camp, and #2 receiver in Week 2, and still proceeded to be brilliant. Sure, some of it is better coaching, new coaching, but some of it was him becoming the guy that was solidly a Top-5 QB from 2008-2010.
The other picks I'm all fine with. I would have picked Watt, but I understand Kuechly as the selection. The rookie picks are the right ones. BB did a good job. I would have gone with Rivera, but BB, kind of like a Popovich, is deserving every year.
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