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Written by: Tyler Zajac

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Lamar Jackson Tossing Football

MVP – Lamar Jackson: BAL

For the second time, Lamar Jackson was able to secure NFL MVP after leading the Baltimore Ravens to the best record in the National Football League. From an award standpoint I understand that some felt Christian McCaffrey or Tyreek Hill may have deserved the nod and others Josh Allen or Dak Prescott. MVP is generally given to a QB as they touch the ball essentially every offensive play. In fact, we have to go back to 2012 when Adrian Peterson took home the award if we want to see another position locking it down.

I’m happy with the decision to give it to Lamar. I think that even though Brock Purdy helped get his team to the biggest game and Josh Allen put up more passing yards (4695) and even TDs (33) including playoffs this season, neither have had a more game related positive impact and reduced negative impact on their respective teams. Purdy, controversial topic or not has a host of talent helping him and Allen has made some very poor decisions that have essentially lost games for the Bills despite his upside including interceptions thrown. Dak is no different, having an inability to play well in games that he has to be clutch in. This year Jackson has made for the most part good decisions, good reads and has great plays with his feet to put the Ravens in a strong position to win games. Even in their AFC championship loss his interception could have been negated by what was a pretty clear pass interference call that wasn’t thrown. He deserves the award and I think that they made the right decision if it’s going to go to a QB.

OPOY – Christian McCaffrey: SF

There should not be one single NFL fan who doesn’t believe this was the right decision. Christian McCaffrey could have arguably also been NFL MVP but if that is going to a QB then he was the clear OPOY. Nobody has done more for their team than him. Rushing, Receiving, and even throwing touchdowns, CMC has done it all.

After a brutal time in Carolina where he was so overused that he was injured constantly, McCaffrey has found a home where he still gets a massive workload but has a host of talent that can help him out when he needs a breather. Between that and what I can only assume is a combination of his training and medical he has stayed healthy and now gets his shot at the Lombardi trophy while already taking home some hardware. The easy and right call.

McCaffrey Walking

DPOY – Myles Garrett: CLE

Personally, I don’t agree with this one. Myles Garrett is a great player and yes, he helped lead a defensive unit that is #1 in the NFL. From a stat perspective though TJ Watt was my clear favorite to win this award. For those saying that Garrett won because it isn’t a sack award, he outplayed Garrett in almost every stat at their respective positions including tackles, assists and sacks. Garrett did have 10 more QB pressures.

I’m not even worried that much about the stats. Yes, those are a good start but when it comes to many of these awards just like I harped on above you have to look at the entire picture. There is a good argument for Garrett in that he had it tougher game-to-game with more double teams and like I said above, pressured the QB more. So then how do you make that decision? In my opinion after watching both defenses all year that Watt means more to the Steelers defense. If you take Garrett out of the Browns defense this year, they are likely still ranking in the top 3. If you take Watt away from the Steelers though that defense would drop harder than an ACME anvil on Wile E Coyote from. Top ten to bottom ten and I have no doubt about that. That’s why I think Watt deserved it. At the end of the day though it was very close and you can make an argument for either so it really was a tough choice.

OROY – CJ Stroud: HOU

Yup, I love this. Stroud led his squad after an absolute dumpster fire of a 2022 to the playoffs this season. He helped the Texans take home a playoff W over the Browns all while missing top wide receiver Tank Dell and a host of others as one of the most injury prone teams in the NFL.

I know some felt Puka Nacua deserved this award but I think Stroud was the rightful winner. Nacua had an unbelievable year but that offense was made for his type of player and we saw that with Cooper Kupp. He did continue his dominance even with Kupp in the lineup which is something to be taken into account but again Stroud just seems more important to his team.

Stroud came out and shined his rookie year and gave hope to a team that stuck through Davis Mills the last two seasons. Stroud is the future, and the Texans are firing now. They have some young players now and are building for some good years to come and Stroud will be that staple looking to add an OPOY and MVP to his early award beginning in the years to come.

CJ Stroud Dropping Back

DROY – Will Anderson Jr.: HOU

This was a tough award to hand out this year because Anderson Jr., Carter, Witherspoon and Turner were all viable options at the end of the day. Also even though Anderson Jr. had one more sack, thirteen more QB hits and two more tackles for loss compared to Carter he plays a different position. Carter had two forced fumbles and huge against the run. I would have had Carter slightly edging out Anderson Jr. here which is hard for me to say as a Bama Alumni by the way but I just think Carter earned that.

With that said, Anderson brought the energy this year and he is deserving of the award for sure. It was a toss-up and he came out on top. For the Texans to take home both OROY and DROY should scare the entire AFC South.

Coach of the Year – Kevin Stefanski: CLE

This award came down to Kevin Stefanski and DeMeco Ryans and after a tie came down to first place votes. Stefanski brought it home, and despite what DeMeco Ryan was able to do with his young team and adversity, Stefanski edged him out in my opinion due to the adversity he dealt with on offense and putting together a top ranked defense. After the Watson fiasco, they put together wins with PJ Walker, Dorian Thompson-Robinson before Flacco came in and led that offense through the end of the season into the playoffs.

Stefanski winning the award was a great ending after a tumultuous season that he held together despite the injury issues. The hard part starts now though as he looks to next season and what to do to keep the wins coming.

Comeback Player of the Year – Joe Flacco: CLE

Finally we get to comeback player of the year. Joe Flacco took home the award and even he said that Damar Hamlin should have won it earlier this year. I don’t agree with that though. I know Hamlin came back from a horrific event and was able to play football again which is absolutely amazing. I have nothing but love for him and am in awe of his courage to do what he did.

This award though feels like Flacco is the rightful owner after taking a team who didn’t know what to do a QB and took them to the playoffs. If you had asked anyone in the beginning of the year to name QBs that will play this season Flacco wouldn’t have been on 98% of those lists if not 100%. For him to come out and play like he did earned him that award and he deserves what he brought home. I just always love the comeback player of the year award, just great stories.