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Taco John
11-07-2005, 05:08 PM
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2005/11/06/SPGFAFJHD81.DTL

MIDSEASON AWARDS
Old dogs, new tricks
Ira Miller

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Call the first half of the 2005 season a throwback year. Or the revenge of the oldies.

Dick Vermeil, 69; Joe Gibbs, who will be 65 the day after Thanksgiving, and Bill Parcells, 64, all are winning again. A year ago, their three teams (Chiefs, Redskins and Cowboys, respectively) were a combined 19-29. Now, they are a combined 13-9. They are the NFL's three oldest active coaches.

Dallas' Drew Bledsoe, 33, and Washington's Mark Brunell, 35, are having good years, with passer ratings above 89 and a combined 25 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. They rank 4th and 12th in the NFL, respectively, in passer rating. Last year, Bledsoe ranked 25th, and Brunell, who was 31st, was the only ranked quarterback who failed to complete half his passes.

Bryant Young, 33, has made eight sacks to share the league lead. That's already the fifth-highest total of a 12-year career and nearly as many sacks as he made in the last three years combined (81/2).

This is the ninth weekend, midpoint of the 17-week NFL season. At midyear, undefeated Indianapolis is the best team; every other team has lost at least twice. But that's not necessarily a good omen for the Colts because not since 1998, when Denver started 13-0, has the team that was the best at midseason still been the best at the end. In fact, the apparent best team at midyear has not even reached the Super Bowl since the '98 Broncos.

The rest of the best and worst for the first half of the season:

-- MVP: Quarterback Jake Plummer, Denver. With coach Mike Shanahan, offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and quarterbacks coach Pat McPherson whispering in his ear, Plummer finally is the player he was supposed to be years ago. He has learned how to manage games, hasn't thrown an interception in six games, and his 12-3 TD-interception ratio is the best of his career.

-- Defensive MVP: Defensive end Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis. He's not leading the league in sacks as he did a year ago (one of his teammates, Robert Mathis, is among three atop the list), but he's still the player opponents scheme to avoid on the Colts' improved defense. In seven games, Freeney has made six sacks, recorded 11 quarterback pressures and forced four fumbles.

-- Least valuable player: Running back Jamal Lewis, Baltimore. With the Ravens' passing game in shambles, again, they need Lewis more than ever. In seven games, he has 387 yards rushing and 3.0 a carry, and he has a former teammate announcing that Lewis is not playing hard because he doesn't like his contract.

-- Least valuable defensive player: The Saints have plenty of candidates but the winner is defensive end Charles Grant, who made 201/2 sacks the last two years and has 11/2 this year.

-- Most surprising team: New York Giants. Philadelphia was expected to win the NFC East again, Dallas was said to be better, and Washington's Gibbs was supposed to correct the errors of his first year back on the sidelines. Instead, it's the Giants who share the best record in the NFC and lead the division.

-- Most disappointing team: Minnesota. No competition for this award, on land or on sea.

-- Best coaching job: Old friend Mike Holmgren finally appears to have the Seahawks playing well on defense, and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is under control. Seattle is in great shape to earn a first-round playoff bye because the remaining schedule includes only one road game against a team with a winning record (Dec. 5 at Philadelphia).

-- Worst coaching job: Dom Capers, Houston. The Texans not only stopped improving in this, their fourth year, they regressed badly. They're 32nd on offense, 31st on defense (just the reverse of the 49ers).

-- Best assistant coach: Ron Turner, offensive coordinator, Chicago. The Bears lost their starting quarterback, Rex Grossman, in training camp, Turner got rookie Kyle Orton, a fourth-round draft choice, ready to play, and the Bears are in first place in their division. A nod, also, to Cincinnati defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, the Raiders' former coordinator. The Bengals lead the league with 28 takeaways including 20 interceptions. At that pace, they'd finish with 40 interceptions, a total exceeded only three times in history.

-- Best executive: Shanahan, Denver. He was criticized for importing four defensive linemen from Cleveland, but they have helped, and so have the cornerbacks he drafted with the Broncos' first three draft picks.

-- Best rookie: Orton. In four games during October, he threw five touchdown passes, just one interception, completed 57.7 percent of his passes and helped the Bears win three in a row. The kid has been consistent, especially for a rookie, with successive passer ratings of 84.9, 84.9, 77.5 and 89.4 in the last four games.

-- Best defensive rookie: Middle linebacker Odell Thurman, Cincinnati. A second-round draft pick, Thurman has made four interceptions and he was the Bengals' leading tackler in five of their eight games.

-- Best free-agent signing: Wide receiver Plaxico Burress, N.Y. Giants. Eli Manning's new best friend has caught 40 passes for 577 yards and five touchdowns.

-- Worst free-agent signing: Quarterback Kurt Warner, Arizona. The Cardinals were lulled into thinking Warner could revive his career and lift their team. Wrong.

-- Best trade: The Redskins got Santana Moss from the Jets in a swap of wideouts, giving up Laveranues Coles. Moss' speed is a key to the Washington offense. He has caught 42 passes for 777 yards and five touchdowns. Coles caught one TD pass last year.

-- Worst trade: Houston gave the Raiders second- and third-round draft choices for cornerback Phillip Buchanon. The Raiders used one of those picks for promising linebacker Kirk Morrison. Buchanon has been benched.

-- Rising star: Quarterback Carson Palmer, Cincinnati. He leads the NFL in completion percentage (69.7) and touchdown passes (16) and is second in passer rating behind Ben Roethlisberger.

-- Falling star: Quarterback Brett Favre, Green Bay. That bizarre last play against Cincinnati said it all when Favre, instead of spiking the ball and taking a last-play shot at the end zone from the Bengals' 30, started running around like a lost rookie, ran past the line of scrimmage and then threw an underhanded shovel pass to end the game. He leads the NFL with 13 interceptions.

-- Most improved player: Manning, N.Y. Giants. As pointed out in a column earlier in the week, he has made one of biggest leaps ever in passer rating after his rookie year.

-- Most improved defensive player: Linebacker Cato June, Indianapolis. June, a safety in college, was moved to linebacker by the Colts. His five interceptions are three more than he had in two previous full NFL seasons.

-- Least improved offensive player: Quarterback Joey Harrington, Detroit. He's averaging 5.58 yards an attempt with four touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 55.6 rating. Awful.

-- Least improved defensive player: Cornerback Fred Smoot, Minnesota. After 16 interceptions in four seasons with Washington, he has one this year.

-- Comeback player: Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, Tennessee. A bargain free agent because of knee problems, he shares the NFL lead with eight sacks. In three previous seasons, he made a total of four sacks.

Count Zarth
11-07-2005, 05:50 PM
"This is a castle. And we have many tapestries! But if Jake Plummer is the MVP...THEN I AM MICKEY MOUSE!"

Bowser
11-07-2005, 05:57 PM
Jake must be tickling some nuts with that pr0n stache he has.

Plummer over LaDanian Tomlinson for MVP? Jesus.

Count Zarth
11-07-2005, 05:58 PM
Jake must be tickling some nuts with that pr0n stache he has.

Plummer over LaDanian Tomlinson for MVP? Jesus.

I don't like giving MVP consideration to anyone on a 5-4 team.

I'm in the Shaun Alexander/Steve Smith camp. SA has 900 yards and 14 TD.

Bowser
11-07-2005, 06:04 PM
I don't like giving MVP consideration to anyone on a 5-4 team.

I'm in the Shaun Alexander/Steve Smith camp. SA has 900 yards and 14 TD.

I know what you're saying, but still. NO WAY is Jake more valuable of a player than Tomlinson is. Not even close.

It's like a couple of years ago when Tomlinson got jobbed on going to the Pro Bowl, even though he had 100 receptions and 2000+ yards of offense. Total crap.

joesomebody
11-07-2005, 06:05 PM
I don't like giving MVP consideration to anyone on a 5-4 team.

I'm in the Shaun Alexander/Steve Smith camp. SA has 900 yards and 14 TD.I'm still going for Dexter McCleon, he just doesn't make any mistakes.

Taco John
11-08-2005, 12:44 AM
I don't think there is anyone more valuable to their team's success than Peyton Manning.

CupidStunt
11-08-2005, 09:44 AM
I don't like giving MVP consideration to anyone on a 5-4 team.

I'm in the Shaun Alexander/Steve Smith camp. SA has 900 yards and 14 TD.

Walter Jones > Shaun Alexander.

There's a reason they aren't paying Alexander.

Braincase
11-08-2005, 09:48 AM
Wait til the Broncos spend a little more time on the road... Jake will return to classic form.

jspchief
11-08-2005, 09:56 AM
I think the Broncos should get the mid-season Trophy. The same one that KC got in 2003.

Dr. Facebook Fever
11-08-2005, 10:00 AM
MVP: Quarterback Jake Plummer, Denver.

Holy Lord... and Terrell Owens wins the annual good guy award.

Rain Man
11-08-2005, 10:08 AM
I'm trying to figure out the Bryant Young thing. How does an ancient guy on a team that's horrible get that many sacks? You know that the other teams are protecting a lead for the final 54 minutes of every game.

morphius
11-08-2005, 10:12 AM
What is interesting about Jake is that in the last 2 games he has thrown 6 balls right into the hands of the defenders, all were dropped. If someone starts to actually hold on you could see his stock drop quickly.

Thig Lyfe
11-08-2005, 10:18 AM
MVP: Quarterback Jake Plummer, Denver.

:doh!:

jspchief
01-22-2006, 02:49 PM
Maybe Plummer can find a spare Sunday in February to polish his mid-season MVP trophy.

Reaper16
01-22-2006, 02:52 PM
nice bump