INDIANAPOLIS — “I’d like to thank my parents for deciding to go through with it.”
That’s what Terrell Suggs had to say after winning the AP defensive player of the year award tonight at the league’s first-ever live awards ceremony here in Indy.
I’ve got no problem with Suggs winning this award — he put up 14 sacks, two picks and forced seven fumbles, making big plays at big times — but he also had a habit of disappearing for large quantities of time, and sheer numbers don’t tell the story.
I’d argue that Justin Smith was just as dominant, and even more consistent, in San Francisco. But 3-4 ends don’t typically have the same number of opportunities to make big plays. I can recall more than a few times in which Smith made a great play that led to a sack or an interception accredited to a teammate.
But this was a year in which there was no obvious favorite for the award. Jared Allen and DeMarcus Ware put up a combined 41.5 sacks, but we all know how overrated sacks are. And based on the eyeball test alone, I’d also like to think that Jason Pierre-Paul was a prime candidate. JPP was the most dangerous pass rusher in the league down the stretch, making phenomenal plays against both the pass and run.
But it goes to Suggs, who had a lot of help on the Baltimore defensive front. It’s not a mistake, but it’s definitely fodder for debate.
UPDATE: Suggs got 21 of 50 votes, Allen got 14. Pierre-Paul and Smith also got votes.