The 2011 NFL season is 12.5 percent complete, so there’s at least a little room for things to change. But if current trends continue, these guys will be your award winners in January…
MVP: Tom Brady, Patriots — I suppose this is a given. Brady’s even hotter now than he was in his off-the-charts 2007 MVP season. Guy’s on pace to pass for 7,520 yards, which is a number ridiculous enough to make me want to write “LOL” after typing it.
Offensive player of the year: Brady — And yeah, yardage can be overrated. But Brady’s Pats are 2-0 despite some poor defensive play and his 128.0 passer rating is also in an unprecedented range.
Defensive player of the year: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys — We predicted prior to the season that Ware might finally be in position to make a run at Michael Strahan’s single-season sack record of 22.5. Four sacks in two games have him well on that pace.
Offensive rookie of the year: Cam Newton, Panthers — With Newton on pace to pass for 6,832 yards (another LOL number), you’d think this is a no-brainer. But Andy Dalton actually has a passer rating that is 16 points higher than Newton’s and Dalton has yet to throw a pick (Newton has four). This could be a fun race to watch throughout the season.
Defensive rookie of the year: Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins — A pick six in his first game and his first career sack in his second game. He’s making things easier for everyone around him in a revitalized Washington defense. Honorable mention: Mason Foster, who has had a hell of a start as the new middle linebacker in Tampa.
Comeback player of the year: D’Qwell Jackson, Browns — The NFL’s tackle leader in 2008 tore his pectoral muscle twice and missed the majority of 2009 and all of 2010. He’s back in full force this year with two sacks, a forced fumble and 19 tackles out of the gate.
Coach of the year: Chan Gailey, Bills — The old Bills never won games like the one Gailey’s team won against Oakland Sunday. A mediocre team is playing way over its head.
Executive of the year: Rick Smith, Texans — The reformed defense under offseason hire Wade Phillips is killing it and free-agent signings Danieal Manning and Johnathan Joseph have helped resurrect a once-terrible secondary. As a result, Smith’s Texans are 2-0 and in the driver’s seat in the AFC South.