Thursday, November 8, 2012
AFC South midseason awards
By Paul Kuharsky
Following up our All AFC South midseason team, here are our midseason awards:
MVP: Texans defensive end J.J. Watt
No one in the division has played with the week-to-week impact and dominance of Watt. If there is one guy in the division that has to be game-planned around more than anyone else, at this point it’s Watt. (From Sept. 27: Hot Watt looking to break mold of 3-4 ends.)
Offensive MVP: Colts receiver Reggie Wayne
It’s an incredible resurgence for the 33-year old, who’s the go-to guy for rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. Wayne’s got one of the receiver slots on virtually every midseason All-Pro Team I’ve seen. (From Nov. 1: Watching Reggie Wayne work.)
Rookie MVP: Colts quarterback Andrew Luck
Trent Dilfer recently put it best: There is no metric for command, and Luck’s got hard-to-fathom command of the position, the team and the game given than he’s in his first season. (From Oct. 25: A progress report on Andrew Luck (it's good))
Most improved: Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson
I was among those who regarded him as the defensive weak-link for the Texans coming into the season. But with mentoring from Johnathan Joseph, Jackson’s really made strides and has been very solid.
Top coach: Chuck Pagano/ Bruce Arians
With apologies to Gary Kubiak, who’s done good work, the framework Pagano set up and that Arians has been working off of has a team that lacks depth and has some weak spots in position for a playoff berth.
Top coordinator: Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips
The Texans defense has pretty much picked up where it left off last season. The front can be swarming and even minus the injured Brian Cushing they don't have a weakness offenses have been able to exploit.
Biggest disappointment: The Jaguars defense
Being without outside linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) all season has hurt. But when the rest of the group is healthy, it should be a tone-setting group that makes things far easier for the offense. It has not been.
Biggest mystery: Titans running back Chris Johnson
He was pretty much AWOL for four of the first five games of the season. In the other five, he’s run for at least 91 yards. A huge guarantee locks in for him in March, so he’s got financial incentive to be productive.
Hottest seat: Jaguars general manager Gene Smith
He’s been in charge since 2009 and his team simply doesn’t have enough quality players to compete and win with any consistency.
Honorable mentions Titans coordinators Jerry Gray and Chris Palmer
Game of the year: Colts 30, Green Bay 27 on Oct. 7.
In their first game after learning Pagano had leukemia, the Colts rallied from 21-3 halftime deficit to win the game and honor their coach.
Honorable mentions: Titans 44, Lions 41 (OT) on Sept. 23; Colts 19, Titans 13 (OT) on Oct. 28.