It's become routine for ESPN, newspapers, magazines and internet bloggers to post 'Midseason Report Cards' and 'Midseason Awards' that I almost didn't do it... and then I read what was out there and decided I should. Fact is, most of them are getting it wrong. Once again I've taken time out of my busy day to fill your heads with truth instead of this corruption... You're welcome.
Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay Packers
"Wait?! What? We wanted to see Peyton Manning! Boo! I hate this guy!"
Well, get over it. Fact is when you really factor in what MVP means it's a no-brainer. If a team would have no business being in the playoff picture without a single player, he's the MVP. Peyton Manning was that for the Colts (and was rewarded for it with 4 MVP trophies) and now Aaron Rodgers is that for the Packers. Rodgers has played most of the season without his best receiver (Greg Jennings) and his best running back (Cedric Benson) and still leads the league in touchdown passes. He's been put on his back nearly three times as often as Manning because his offensive line is dreadful (Rodgers was sacked 36 times last year and already 28 this season) and still bests Manning in completion percentage (69.0 - 68.5). Manning gets more help on the defensive side of the ball, too - Green Bay is ranked 13th in total defense compared to Denver at 8th and the Broncos defense has 11 takeaways in just 7 games compared to 10 for the Packers in 8 games. Neither quarterback is prone to turning the ball over either, each with just 4 interceptions (although Rodgers has played one more game than Manning).
Remember how Manning made Blair White a household name? During Manning's heyday if Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne were to both miss a game you could still believe Peyton would find a way to win it. That's Rodgers right now... He's your MVP.
Honorable Mentions - Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan
Colts MVP - Reggie Wayne
Offensive Player of the Year
Percy Harvin - Minnesota Vikings
"Huh? What about Reggie Wayne!! Boohoo..."
Percy Harvin is an absolute beast. He is tied for the league lead in receptions and - perhaps most impressively - is 6th in passes targeted (Wayne is first). This means that Harvin catches just about every pass thrown his way... an amazing 76% of the time (Wayne's is 59%). Detractors will say that it's because he catches most of his passes at or behind the line of scrimmage (what... haven't seen enough Colts bubble screens?) and even if that was true, he's still averaging over 11 yards a catch (Wayne is at 14.0). Not only can Harvin catch the ball - he runs it and returns kicks. Already this season Harvin has a 105 yard kick return for a touchdown and 72 rushing yards for another touchdown.
Looking at how dynamic Percy Harvin is and how he is utilized in the passing, running and return games leaves you with no choice but to recognize the man as Offensive Player of the Year.
Honorable Mentions - Reggie Wayne, Victor Cruz, Arian Foster
Colts OPOY - Reggie Wayne
Defensive Player of the Year
Tim Jennings - Chicago Bears
"That guy?!? I hated him when he was with the Colts!"
All this guy has done this season is lead the league in interceptions and passes defended while collecting the third most tackles (even more than Brian Urlacher) on a Bears defense that is ranked 7th overall, 2nd in scoring and created the second most turnovers in the NFL. I know that J.J. Watt is getting all the attention (and he deserves it) but right now, no one is playing better defense than Tim Jennings.
Honorable Mentions - J.J. Watt, Clay Matthews
Colts DPOY - Robert Mathis
Comeback Player of the Year
Adrian Peterson - Minnesota Vikings
"OK... Now you're just trying to not pick Peyton Manning!"
I could understand those of you who think this is Peyton Manning's award - I almost completely agree with you. The only thing keeping me from doing it is the play of Adrian Peterson this season. Do you realize that it was ten months ago that Adrian Peterson tore his ACL? Less than nine months later he was starting again in an NFL game. The NFL is an unforgiving game - even more so for running backs. A running back that loses a step has no place in the NFL, they'll find someone younger and faster overnight. Remember when Edgerrin James tore his ACL? He was never the same again. He tore his in late October (giving him two more months to heal than Peterson) and returned the next season to rush for just 989 yards - the lowest off his career to that point. How about Rashard Mendenhall who tore his ACL just about a week after Peterson? 74 rushing yards so far this season. Peterson leads the league in rushing yards, yards per game and 20+ yard runs and he's second in YPC (minimum of 100 carries).
Any other year and this is Peyton Manning's award - and it's not even close. But, the fact is, we've seen quarterbacks play late into their careers and be successful (Brett Favre, Joe Montana), we haven't seen a comeback like this ever - especially not a position like running back that is the least forgiving in the NFL.
Honorable Mentions - Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles
Colts Comeback POY - Jerry Hughes
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Andrew Luck - Indianapolis Colts
"Finally... I expected this guy to pick RGIII."
I doubt that I have to defend this much on this site. Luck has been every bit as good as advertised and has (almost) quieted all talk about #18. What Luck has been able to do in clutch situations and two minute drills is surprising every NFL analyst around the country. He's starting off better than Manning did his rookie year (we can only hope that he reaches the same pinnacle) and has a team that is VERY young in the heat of the wildcard race. Can't ask for much more out of a rookie.
Robert Griffin III has the stats but Luck has the wins and more on his shoulders.
Honorable Mentions - Robert Griffin III, Doug Martin
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Chandler Jones - New England Patriots
"Now this guy is picking Patriots players?! Just wait until I get to the comments section."
I hate picking Patriots players for anything but Chandler Jones has been too good to look past. He has six sacks and three forced fumbles in his first 8 games in the NFL - that's pretty impressive. In fact, his stats are nearly identical to perennial All-Pro DeMarcus Ware's this season... That's good company. He is second in tackles among pass rushing defensive ends, so he isn't a one trick pony (like... cough, Dwight Freeney... cough).
Honorable Mentions - Harrison Smith, Luke Kuechly
Colts Defensive ROY - Jerrell Freeman
Coach of the Year
Joe Philbin - Miami Dolphins
"This guy isn't ChuckStrong, man... C'mon the Colts are in the playoff hunt!"
The Dolphins are in the playoff hunt despite the train wreck we saw on 'Hard Knocks' and this continues to blow my mind. When we left the Dolphins after training camp they didn't seem to have any quality receivers, they were turning the offense over to a rookie that few thought was ready and just finished taping a reality show (which history has shown to be a bit of a distraction). Joe Philbin has taken a bad situation and very few playmakers and made them a contender - without any 'win one for the gipper' mentality - that's not easy to do and I respect him for that.
The Colts coaching staff deserves a lot of attention, too - but right now this award belongs to Joe Philbin.
Honorable Mentions - Chuck Pagano/Bruce Arians, Mike Smith
Executive of the Year
Ryan Grigson - Indianapolis Colts
"Sure... only give us the awards that don't mean much."
What Ryan Grigson has done with the Colts after the debacle of last season is one of the most impressive things I've seen this season in the NFL. Grigson brought in almost all new faces - with little chemistry to build on - and has created a team that is in the thick of the playoff hunt. To top it all off, he's done it with little to no cap space and a fanbase that lost faith in the franchise with the release of Peyton Manning. I can't wait to see what Grigson can do with all the cap space the Colts should have next season - bigger things are coming.
Honorable Mention - Rick Smith (Texans)
Feel Good Story
"It's about time he made us feel good after that crap."
The table was set for disaster this season for the Colts and it would have been easy to write this season off as a 'rebuilding year' - especially after Chuck Pagano had to be treated for leukemia and been away from the team. The team keeps fighting and may just be able to pull off something special... or maybe they already have.
"I remember when the Colts were here last season..."
Last offseason the Eagles made a lot of sexy moves and Vince Young proclaimed them the 'Dream Team'. After they struggled early last season a lot of analysts thought they just needed a season to figure out the team chemistry. Boy, were they wrong.
Most Depressing Outlook
"That's good for us, right?"
The Jaguars can't sell tickets and seem to be open to the idea of being the first NFL franchise located overseas (or so it seems). Maurice Jones-Drew wasn't offered a new contract and will probably force his way out soon (or be unproductive), Blaine Gabbert isn't panning out as an NFL quarterback and people are already calling rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon lazy. There isn't a lot to be excited about in Jacksonville and the chances are they will be at the bottom of the AFC South for awhile with the Texans rolling and the Colts looking to have a bright future.
I'm sure many of you will disagree with my awards but you should just pause for second, take a deep breath and realize you're wrong... It happens to the best of us. (Wait... that's not true. It doesn't happen to me) Feel free to share your incorrect objections on the comments below.
You can follow me on Twitter (you know you want to) at @ColtsInsiders