Black Quarterback: The Awards Episode
By Brandon Simmons
Awards of the Year
Don’t expect the MVP race to be exciting as it is probably going to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The 2nd year player has shook defenses to the core with his deep throws and wild, yet accurate, scrambling passes. Mahomes burst onto the scene this year throwing an NFL record 18 touchdowns in 4 games and has pushed this team to a 7-1 record. So what’s the big deal about that? How about if it wasn’t for Mahomes’ play under center, the Chiefs might not be where they are today. Kansas City has one of the worst defenses in the league at the moment, and their QB has pulled them out of that fire a few times. Even in their only loss – a 43-40 shootout defeat to the New England Patriots – Mahomes kept them in the game with his 4 touchdowns and the ability to escape sacks. His league leading 26 touchdowns may very well help escape the pressure of being in close MVP race.
Offensive player of the Year
This could probably be considered the runner up to the MVP but there are some worthy candidates in this category. Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley may very well take this award if he does not pull off with the MVP. In each game this year, he has scored a touchdown whether it was rushing or receiving. A lot has been said about Rams quarterback Jared Goff, but Gurley is a vital part of getting this offense going. When he gets things moving, it can open up defenses and allow for the receivers to get open and make plays. Gurley is an effective player from anywhere on the field, whether it’s the backfield, slot or lined up out wide.
The same could be said for Chiefs wide receiver Tyreke Hill. Hill is one of the most dangerous weapons in all of football as he also has the potential to score from any position. He has already matched his total of 7 touchdowns from last season an could potentially double that with Mahomes at the QB. Given the fact that Hill is at wide out, his speed will cause more concerns for defenses as a deep threat, but it’s his ability to catch the ball and run in open spaces that really showcases that speed.
Defensive Player of the Year
This award is a little tricky, because there has not been much defense played by NFL teams, collectively this year; but somebody has to win the award. Khalil Mack has to run away with this awardbecause of his immediate impact with the Chicago Bears. The linebacker, who was infamously traded from the Oakland Raiders because of a contract dispute, opened the season against the Green Bay Packers with 3 tackles, a sack and a pick 6. So far he has been relatively quiet when it comes to producing, recording 2 tackles in the previous 2 games and missing action last game because of an ankle injury. St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is another player who was rewarded a new contract right before the season and he is earning every penny. Donald leads the league with 10 sacks, including having a 4 sack performance against the San Francisco 49ers. He did not get his first sack until Week 4, against the Minnesota Vikings, but he always maintained getting hits on the quarterback, in which he is tied for the league lead with 17.
The trade deadline this season was at NBA levels of spectacular. There were already so many names being thrown around that it made sense for some of these teams to actually make a big move. The Denver Broncos traded wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and a 7th round pick to the Houston Texans for a 4th and 7th round pick. The Detroit Lions traded wide receiver Golden Tate for a 3rd round pick. The Green Bay packers sent safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the Washington Redskins for 4th round pick. The Jacksonville Jaguars traded defensive end Dante Fowler to the Los Angeles Rams for a 2019 3rd round pick and 2020 5th round pick.
There is no such thing as participation trophies but there are quite a few immediate winners right now. The Texans and Eagles filled needs at the wide receiver positions, where each suffered some sort of season ending injury. Everybody is raving about the addition of Fowler to the Rams, who already has a stacked defensive line. The good thing about this, is that it barely cost the team anything. A 4th rounder here and a 3rd rounder there; now you got yourself some weapons going to into the late season playoff battles. On the flip side of things, teams such as the Jaguars and Lions are able to free up some space for free agency as well as stack up some draft picks for offseason trades they might want to make.
Is Cleveland Going to get it Right?
Monday, the Cleveland Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. It was probably something coming for a while, especially when it was reported this week Jackson wanted to take over the playcalling duties to help the struggling offense. But the only thing that’s concerning about this situation is how bad can things really get for the Browns right now? This season, Cleveland has won double the games it has for the past two years, which is 2. This team was well on its way to actually being something and now they are at a setback.
The biggest question mark is how will they play this going forward. People are speculating they will reach out to Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, which could be very possible. Riley actually coached Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, so the rookie would already have a leg up on knowing the offense. Plus, Riley already has denied it, so given the history of college coaches being honest, he’s probably going to the Browns.
Any other team, that wins 3 games in 2 years has every right to fire their head coach; but this is the Browns we’re talking about. It’s like finally teaching a child how to write a complete sentence then getting mad when they fail an essay test. This football team has experienced failure for almost 20 years and they won’t just roll out of it at this rate. The Browns have been through so much history of disappointment and bad decisions that it will be hard to turn everything around within 3 years. Their next coach should not get a Jon Gruden type of deal, but they should have a considerable amount to show some progress that amounts to more than 2 games.
Shout out to former Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas for getting his jersey retired at the game Monday night. The ceremony took place at half time of the Bills’ 25-6 loss to the New England Patriots
Shut out to the Bills for losing to the Patriots on a very special night for that franchise. Who raised y’all?
Halloween has come and gone – depending on when you read this – but fans will have plenty of treats to choose from as some teams show off their new acquisitions within the past few weeks. Wide receiver Amari Cooper will make his Dallas Cowboys debut on Monday Night Football against the Tennessee Titans; Demaryius Thomas will be doing the same when the Texans take on the Broncos this Sunday. There will also be back-to-back blockbusters this Sunday when the Los Angeles Rams visit the New Orleans Saints at 4:25 p.m. eastern while the Green Bay Packers are visiting the New England Patriots. The latter will feature two of the all time great QB’s and probably the last time to catch them head-to-head before they retire. The way both defenses, it’s likely to be a shootout but until then…I’ll holla.
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