Okay, we’re 18.75 percent of the way through and the next NFL games played this year will take place in the month of October. So we’re separating ourselves from that “fluky start” range and creeping toward the “real deal” range. If the season were to end today, these guys would be your award winners…
MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Packers — Tom Brady’s four-interception performance might be but a small blemish on his end-of-season resume, but with only three weeks in the bag one poor performance looms too large. Rodgers leads the league with a 120.9 passer rating and his Packers are 3-0. His yardage numbers aren’t quite there with Brady’s (although his 8.9 yards-per-attempt average is still sky high) but he’s thrown eight touchdown passes and only been intercepted once.
Offensive player of the year: Darren McFadden, Raiders — He’s just one yard off the pace required to break the NFL’s single-season rushing yards record, thanks to a ridiculous 6.4 average. At 24, he’s running with remarkable speed and power and is carrying the 2-1 Raiders on his shoulders.
Defensive player of the year: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys — On pace for a record 26 sacks after picking up another one on Monday night against Washington. Usually my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek when talking about pace at this point in the season, but I get the feeling Ware actually has a chance to break the record. Mike Strahan agrees.
Offensive rookie of the year: Cam Newton, Panthers — Newton regained the crown from Andy Dalton with an impressive performance in rough conditions in a win over the Jaguars. But both quarterbacks should beware of Daniel Thomas’ presence in the rear-view mirror.
Defensive rookie of the year: Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins — Another sack, a forced fumble and four tackles against Dallas. Give him two sacks, two takeaways and an interception in his first three games.
Comeback player of the year: D’Qwell Jackson, Browns – Six more tackles and half a sack for a guy who’s been a force three games in after missing most of the last two seasons with torn pectoral muscles.
Coach of the year: Chan Gailey, Bills — Until they lose, nothing changes here. Gailey, who outcoached Bill Belichick Sunday, has a mediocre team playing like a juggernaut.
Executive of the year: Rick Smith, Texans — Johnathan Joseph continues to pay off and the defense wasn’t that bad against New Orleans. It’s tough to call this award at this point.