Your award winners if the 2011 season ended today…
MVP: Aaron Rodgers, Packers — His latest might have been his best game yet. Rodgers was basically perfect against the Vikings. And considering how close the game was, he pretty much needed to be perfect. 24-for-30 (with three dropped passes and a spike), 335 yards, three touchdowns and no picks is hard to beat.
Offensive player of the year: Rodgers – He’s on pace to have arguably the best season a quarterback’s ever had. In other words, you might be watching history with Rodgers, who has a 20-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 125.7 passer rating seven games into the season. He also towers over his fellow pivots in terms of yards per attempt and completions of 40-plus yards.
Defensive player of the year: Jared Allen, Vikings — The top two players of 2011 were on display in the same game Sunday, as Allen sacked Rodgers twice to up his total to 11.5. He now has a 3.5-sack lead on DeMarcus Ware in that race and is on pace to crush the single-season sack record with 26. Even if his season ended today, this would be the fourth-best year of Allen’s career.
Offensive rookie of the year: Cam Newton, Panthers — I hate to take it away from Andy Dalton on a bye week, but Newton was simply too good in a victory over Washington. The No. 1 overall pick had easily his best game as a pro, completing 18 of 23 passes, scoring twice and committing zero turnovers in a 33-20 win. Amazingly, he’s leading all NFL quarterbacks with 35 completions of 20-plus yards.
Defensive rookie of the year: Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins — The high-intensity pass rusher continues to be a force in the Washington front seven, but he’s also failed to register a sack since Week 4. Unless Kerrigan can start putting up numbers again, he’ll cede this award to Von Miller, Aldon Smith or Adrian Clayborn.
Comeback player of the year: Alex Smith, 49ers — D’Qwell Jackson has faded a bit as of late, so I’m going to give Smith the edge. Some might argue that he shouldn’t be in this conversation because he was never really a star in the NFL, but he’s still making quite a comeback as a former top pick. No blatantly obvious candidates this season.
Coach of the year: Jim Harbaugh, 49ers — Nothing has changed following the Niners’ bye, aside from the fact that everyone else in the NFC West lost (again!), strengthening San Francisco’s hold on the division. It looks as though Harbaugh will easily lead his team to the playoffs in his first season as an NFL head coach.
Executive of the year: Rick Smith, Texans — That Johnathan Joseph signing looks better and better every week, and it’s amazing to see what Wade Phillips has done with the Houston defense, despite the loss of Mario Williams.