January 4, 2014 by Charles McDonald
Most Valuable Player: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
No player has meant more to his team than Tom Brady has to the Patriots. Through plethora of on the field and off the field issues, the Patriots somehow clinched the No. 2 seed in the AFC with a 12-4 record. Brady led them through multiple 4th quarter comebacks throughout the season even though he was dealing with a depleted offense for the most of the season. Injuries on defense didn’t help either including injuries to Pro Bowlers Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo. Without Brady, the Patriots would be lucky to get 4 victories for the season.
Offensive Player of the Year: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
This one was probably a no brainer as Peyton Manning broke the record for passing yards, with 5,477 yards, and the record for passing touchdowns, with 55. He effectively utilized all of his weapons at an elite level for the entire season.
Defensive Player of the Year: J.J. Watt, DE/DT, Denver Broncos
For the second year in a row, J.J. Watt was the most dominate defensive player in the league. His sack totals declined from 20.5 to 10.5, but he continued to apply consistent pressure on the quarterback despite facing double and triple team blocks on a regular basis. He also dominated against the run for a second straight year. Watt was one of the lone bright spots on a dismal Houston team this season.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
Allen was projected to be a first round pick prior to his junior year, so the fact he dominated for the Chargers over the last half of the season shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. He totaled 71 catches for 1,046 yards and 8 touchdowns in his rookie campaign. The sky is the limit for Allen has he continues to build his relationship with Philip Rivers.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Sheldon Richardson, DE/DT, New York Jets
Sheldon Richardson established himself as one of the premier 3-4 defensive ends in the league this year. He was absolutely dominate against the run and flashed some ability to get after the passer. If Richardson continues to develop his pass rushing moves to go along with his elite run defense, then the sky is the limit for Richardson.
Most Improved Player: Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos
Prior to the 2013 season, Julius Thomas had 1 catch for 7 yards and that was in 2011. With Peyton Manning at the helm for the second season in Denver, Thomas developed into an elite intermediate (and at times deep) target for Manning, catching a whopping 12 touchdowns on only 65 catches for 788 yards. A supreme athlete and former Portland State basketball players, Thomas should only get better as he becomes accustomed to the NFL game.
Comeback Player of the Year: Darrelle Revis, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After missing the majority of the 2012 season with an ACL tear, Revis was traded to Tampa Bay where he reassumed his role as arguably the top cornerback in the league. He allowed only 54.0 percent of passes thrown in his coverage to be completed. With Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier taking over control of the defense in Tampa Bay, Revis’ game should only continue to improve.
Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals
A year after leading Indianapolis to a playoff berth on an interim basis, Arians led a Cardinals team from a 5-11 record in 2012 to a 10-6 record in 2013 and barely missed the playoffs. The revamped the offense after trading for Carson Palmer in the offseason and found a young stud running back in Andre Ellington. With an elite defense, Arizona should only continue to get better under his guidance.