2013 NFL Regular Season Awards

2013 Regular Season Awards

1/28/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Blog Photo - 2013 NFL Regular Season AwardsDefensive Player of the Year: DE J.J. Watt (HOU)

I'd imagine that Watt is probably the general consensus for this award. Though he's listed as a defensive end, Watt lines up all over the field and affects the play before the ball is even snapped. With his exceptional leaping ability and timing, quarterbacks are forced to find him and adjust accordingly, or else they'll have the football smacked right back in their faces - or worse, smacked into the air and intercepted. Watt led all defensive linemen with 16 batted passes, seven more than the next closest player. Even when he doesn't get the sack, Watt forces the quarterback to put more air under his throws, making life easier for his teammates in the defensive backfield.

When Watt doesn't get the sack, he can still be very effective, but the fact of the matter is that he frequently does get to the quarterback. Watt's 20.5 sacks led the NFL, as he used his unique combination of speed and brute strength to blow past (or through) offensive linemen. He also forced four fumbles, recovered two, and was second on the Texans in tackles.

The numbers make a strong case for Watt as DPOY, but I think his versatility and the confusion he causes for opposing quarterbacks is really what makes him this year's best defensive player.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: QB Robert Griffin III (WAS)

This is going to be a really tough award to give out, because there are three candidates who would have won easily in most other years (Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson). Andrew Luck was sensational, leading a team that was 2-14 last season to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. However, Luck completed 54.1% of his passes (better than only Chad Henne - yes, worse than Mark Sanchez), and turned over the ball too much (18 interceptions and five lost fumbles). He was also aided by a very underrated defense.

Russell Wilson also had an incredible season, but with the top ranked scoring defense and third ranked rushing offense, I think a good amount of quarterbacks could have had the same sort of success with that team.
Blog Photo - 2013 NFL Regular Season Awards
RG3 not only led his team to the playoffs (where he lost to Wilson in part due to a bum knee), but his numbers are absolutely eye-popping. With 27 total touchdowns compared to seven total turnovers, Griffin displayed plenty of big play ability with the poise and control of a veteran. He led the league in both yards per pass attempt and yards per rush, easily making him the most dangerous dual threat from the quarterback position. His 65.6% completion percentage was good for 4th best in the league... And he did all this with his only decent receiver - Pierre Garcon - sidelined for six games due to injury.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: LB Luke Kuechly (CAR)

Take a look at the Panthers' 2012 defensive rankings, with their 2011 rankings in parentheses next to it - Total Defense: 10 (28), Scoring Defense: 18 (27), Pass Defense: 13 (24), Run Defense: 12 (25).

It's pretty obvious that the Panthers improved a lot on the defensive side of the ball in 2012, and the biggest difference, as far as personnel, was middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. The only number on Kuechly's stat sheet that stands out are his 164 tackles, which led the NFL and were 15 more than any other player. He also notched one sack, two interceptions, eight passes defended, and three fumble recoveries. Kuechly's presence on the field made a bigger difference than that of any other rookie in 2012.

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