Tom, Osi, and Adrian Among Top Performers

Alex Whitaker

It seems like just yesterday that people were wondering whether Randy Moss could have any real effect on the Patriots offense and were discussing how far the Jets would go in the playoffs this season. But now that we know the answers to those questions (yes and don’t even think about, respectively), it is time to move on to more pressing issues: handing out midseason awards.

MVP – Tom Brady. Brady has played out of his mind so far this year, already surpassing his career high in touchdowns for a season and amassing 2,431 passing yards along the way. You’ve probably heard it a million times already, but it really looks like he’s playing at the rookie level in Madden, picking apart defenses and throwing only two interceptions. He is the obvious choice not only because of his ridiculous numbers, but also for his incredible ability to manage the clock and keep a game under control. Oh, and by the way, Patriots vs. Colts next week in what could be the game of the decade.

Best Offensive Player – Braylon Edwards. Edwards has been going catch-for-catch with Randy Moss this year, but does not receive as much coverage because, well, he’s on the Browns. Yet he has surpassed TE Kellen Winslow Jr. as QB Derek Anderson’s favorite target, boasting 669 receiving yards and nine touchdowns through only seven games. It seems Edwards is finally fulfilling his potential as the third overall pick out of Michigan in 2005.

Best Defensive Player – Osi Umenyiora. Umenyiora highlights the revitalized Giant’s defense with eight sacks and three forced fumbles. Just to illustrate how important Osi is to New York, take a look at the standings; the Giants went 0-2 and gave up 80 points in two games when Umenyiora was hobbled by a bad knee. Since then, they have gone 6-0 and have allowed only 79 points over that span. Plus, if you watched Umenyiora’s six-sack game against Philadelphia, you know how easily he can take over a game.

Rookie of the Year – Adrian Peterson. Another obvious pick here, Peterson has earned this award. He leads the entire league in rushing with 740 yards and has five rushing touchdowns along with a receiving touchdown. Incredibly, he has done all of this while sharing time with starter Chester Taylor. If Peterson keeps this up, Taylor will be out of a job next year.

Biggest Surprise – Wes Welker. Welker has thrived in New England after being acquired from the Dolphins this past March. He reminds me of WR Brandon Stokely circa 2004, a third-string wide receiver with an unbelievable quarterback who just finds a way of getting open. For Welker, this has translated into a whopping 613 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Biggest Bust – Steven Jackson. Seen by analysts and fantasy owners alike as “the best running back not named LaDanian Tomlinson” at the beginning of the season, Jackson has done nothing this year. While he was injured for four games, he still did nothing in the games in which he played. Jackson has not found the end zone yet this season, has lost two fumbles and his team is 0-8. Terrible.

Coach of the Year – Mike Tomlin. I think that Tomlin deserves this award over Bill Belichick for a few reasons. First of all, he is a rookie coach taking over for the legendary Bill Cowher, and he has not missed a step in leading his team to a 5-2 record. Additionally, the Pittsburgh defense leads the league in points allowed with just 91, a true testament to Tomlin’s brilliance. And lastly, the guy is a complete baller; I almost mistook him for a player walking around the sidelines last week. Indeed, at 35, there are many current players who are older than him — and have you seen that beard?