With this being the Colts' bye week, there's some time to take a look back at the first half of the season. Let's do so in the form of handing out some midseason awards.
Midseason MVP - Andrew Luck
If you had any questions about this award, you probably haven't been watching the Colts. There's no discussion here - the team's MVP is Andrew Luck. He is the fourth player in NFL history to throw for 3,000 yards in his team's first nine games. He has a franchise record of seven consecutive games with 300+ passing yards (a streak that's still active). He's topped 300 yards in eight of nine games this year. He's just the third quarterback in NFL history to top 40 pass attempts in six straight games. He's the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 350+ yards in five straight road games. He is on pace to set the NFL single-season passing yardage record and he's on pace for the fifth-highest single-season touchdown total in history as well. Whatever way you spin this award - best player, most valuable player to his team, etc. - Luck not only is the runaway winner for the Colts, he's also in contention for the NFL MVP award. Easy answer here.
Midseason Offensive Player of the Year - T.Y. Hilton
The easy answer here would be Andrew Luck. And he's also the best answer here. If he doesn't win the league MVP award this year, he's got a great shot at winning the OPOY award. The numbers he's putting up say it all. But if you don't want to take the easy way out and not give the MVP and OPOY of the year to the same player (which I'm not going to do, no matter how deserving), then I think there are a couple of other candidates to consider. Is it T.Y. Hilton, who has caught 56 passes for 937 yards and 3 touchdowns through nine games? Or is it Ahmad Bradshaw, who has racked up 714 yards and 8 touchdowns combined rushing and receiving, and who also is a great blocking back? And let's not forget Dwayne Allen, who's numbers say a lot (26 catches for 374 yards and 7 touchdowns through nine games) but who's overall impact says even more? Those three are easily the best three skill position players for the Colts this year, but if I have to choose one I'll take T.Y. Hilton for the offensive player of the year award at midseason.
Midseason Defensive Player of the Year - Vontae Davis
Two names I also considered were defensive end Cory Redding and safety Mike Adams for their play so far this season, but in reality the defensive player of the year award is an easy one to hand out - cornerback Vontae Davis is without question the one who deserves this award. In fact, the key to the Colts' defense has been their cornerbacks and in particular Davis. He has truly emerged into that elite category and this year is playing like he's the best corner in football. He's allowing the defense to do a lot of different things with his great man coverage skills, and it's working. While Redding is having a fantastic season and Adams is too, this award is really an easy one - it goes to Davis.
Midseason Special Teams Player of the Year - Pat McAfee
The Colts' special teams unit has been great this year, and both of their kickers are deserving of recognition. Adam Vinatieri is a perfect 20-for-20 and, dating back to last year, has hit 26 straight field goals. But the team's other kicker is also having a fantastic season and his impact goes much further, making him the no-brainer choice here. Of course, I'm talking about Pat McAfee. He's been arguably the NFL's best punter this season, but he also leads the league in touchbacks on kickoffs and has successfully converted all three of his onside kick attempts. To say he's a big weapon for the Colts would be an understatement. McAfee has been incredible this season and he's the easy choice here.
Best Newcomer - Mike Adams
Remember as we were entering the season and the safety position was a huge concern? The Colts signed the veteran Mike Adams but he was competing for a starting spot in camp until Delano Howell went down with an injury. And he wasn't really a guy that made many fans feel comfortable with the spot. Through the first nine games, however, Adams has emerged as one of the best and most solid players on the defense. He provides a veteran presence there, played every game, and does well. There still are some questions about the safety position, but those have to do with LaRon Landry, not Mike Adams. The veteran has been an impact player in the secondary and has been the best addition to this Colts' team this season.
Worst Newcomer - D'Qwell Jackson
This is an "award" you don't want if you're a player, but at midseason of this year the "award" for the worst newcomer goes to linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. He has been bad in pass coverage and not that good in run defense either. He's been a veteran presence who plays most snaps, but he really hasn't done much to help the defense. His speed just isn't there to keep up with guys or chase them down. If he's playing in a box, he does fine, but in the course of a game those situations rarely play out that way. The one real positive area for Jackson has been his three sacks, which is tied (with several others) for the second most on the team. That has been encouraging, but overall he has had a tough season and considering what the Colts invested in him and more importantly the role he plays, he earns the "award" for worst newcomer through the first half of the season.
Biggest Surprise - Ricky Jean Francois
I love what Ricky Jean Francois has done this year. A year ago, RJF had a very poor year along the defensive line for the Colts, and the team signed Arthur Jones in free agency this year to effectively replace him. Basically, RJF was relegated to the bench and to playing as a role player and spot starter, and after his poor play last year many thought that was the right move. But RJF deserves a ton of credit (and I mean a lot) - he realized he did not play well last year and really devoted himself this offseason to improving. He accepted whatever role the team had for him and just controlled what he could - his own play, and he worked to really improve. When Art Jones went down with a high ankle sprain in week two, it was RJF who stepped in, and ever since he has been the starter. But even more than that, RJF has been the biggest surprise of the season and has been a very solid player on the defense and along the defensive line. He has been the second best lineman for the Colts so far this year behind only Cory Redding, and he has been very impressive. After considering how he played a year ago compared to this year, I think he's a very worthy recipient of this award at midseason.
Biggest Disappointment - Hakeem Nicks
I didn't give Hakeem Nicks the "award" for worst newcomer at midseason, but only because he hasn't played nearly as much as Jackson has. But Nicks is certainly in line for the "award" of the biggest disappointment so far this year. Coming into the season, I think we all knew that Nicks had not been great for the past few seasons, and that's why the Giants parted ways with him and that's why he signed with the Colts for a one-year deal. He was hoping to get back to his old form and the Colts took a low risk move hoping that could happen as well. He was always going to be the team's third receiver, but many (including myself) hoped that with a new offense and a new chance he would be able to regain at least part of what made him great a couple of years ago. Instead, we've just seen the Nicks that struggles to create separation and a Nicks that has absolutely no timing with Andrew Luck. The receiver has not had a good season whatsoever and pretty much all fans are clamoring for him to be demoted to the fourth wide receiver behind promising rookie Donte Moncrief - and for good reason, too. It's unfortunate, but Nicks has not been good this season and is the biggest disappointment through the first half of the year.
What are your thoughts on these midseason awards? What do you agree or disagree with?