INDIANAPOLIS – With the weekend off and the Colts just past the mid-way point of the season, it’s time for some awards to be handed out.
These were not the most obvious to hand out, and we do try to spread the wealth around a bit.
Let’s hand out some hardware at the mid-way point of the season:
MVP: Jonathan Taylor
While you can make a nice case for Darius Leonard, it’s Taylor who takes home the mid-year MVP award. Taylor is averaging 5.9 yards per carry in Year Two and is continuing to provide that rare consistency from the running back position. With the Derrick Henry injury, Taylor might be the favorite to win the NFL rushing title (he ranks 2nd to Henry with 821 rushing yards). His 5.9 YPC is 2nd among starting running backs. The OL has had a lot of interchanging, but Taylor has been this team’s best player, giving the offense big-play potential from No. 28.
Others receiving votes: Darius Leonard, Michael Pittman
Offensive Player of the Year: Carson Wentz
Again, we like to spread the hardware around to appease various candidates. While it hasn’t been perfect, especially in the most important game of the season, Carson Wentz deserves recognition. Following limited practice action in August, and then playing through an ankle injury early in the season, Wentz has found a nice balance of hitting on plays down the field, yet still protecting the football at a really high level. Wentz’s legs have also been on display a bit more, which gives this offense another dimension in the RPO game. The floor of this offense with Wentz isn’t as high as last year, but the ceiling is higher. Now, how close can Wentz and the offense get to reaching that ceiling?
Others receiving votes: Michael Pittman
Defensive Player of the Year: Darius Leonard
It’s pretty darn remarkable what Leonard has been able to do given his ankle injury limitations. He hasn’t missed a single defensive snap due to injury and is up to his old playmaking tricks with 4 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries. This mini break should help Leonard inch closer to 100 percent. It’s been an admittedly very trying season for Leonard, but his ball production has helped the defense rank near the top of the NFL in takeaways.
Others receiving votes: Grover Stewart
Rookie of the Year: Kwity Paye
By default, this award is going to Paye. None of the other draft picks have earned enough playing time to qualify for this award. From Dayo Odeyingbo to Mike Strachan, the Colts barely have any candidates besides Paye. It’s been a quiet start for the first-round pick, Paye has started 7 of 9 games, but he has just 1 tackle for loss, 2 quarterback hits and 0 sacks. He has 16 total tackles in 282 defensive snaps.
Others receiving votes: None
Breakout Player: Michael Pittman
You could easily have given Pittman the offensive player of the year award, but let’s toss him some hardware here. If you would have asked me before the start of the season, which Colt would take home this honor, it would have been Pittman. He’s taken the exact jump that we thought he would, and that is so important for the future of this position. Pittman is easily on pace for a 1,000-yard season and is starting to find the end zone more and more as of late. The Colts have indeed found their No. 1 wide receiver of the future (and present).
Others receiving votes: Bobby Okereke, Chris Reed
Most Disappointing: Pass Rush Group
There’s too many individual names to toss in for this, but the lack of a pass rush has been a major problem. The pressure rate has been abysmal and former draft picks in Ben Banogu and Kemoko Turay have yet to do much. For Banogu it’s simply getting on the field in Year 3. For Turay, it’s availability and consistency in a contract year. With the Colts a strong run defense unit, and DeForest Buckner commanding attention in the middle of the D-line, that should help out the pass rush be even stronger. Yet, that’s not been the case at all. No team has a worse pressure rate than the Colts.
Others receiving votes: Parris Campbell, Xavier Rhodes, Eric Fisher
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