So what will the 2011 NFL season be remembered for?
Well this season everyone has talked about how wonderful the offenses have performed and how the short preseason has led to inefficient defense. With the Super Bowl still to be played the whole season could yet be remembered for other events but right now at this point who has really stood out? Which plays stood out? Well after the championship games this last weekend the one thing people can now state is while Defense may win championships Special Teams can certainly lose it! The history books will show the 2011 season as being the year the QB’s ruled not jut the air but also the running game. While we had Drew Brees break the single season passing record previously set by Dan Marino in 1984. But it doesn’t just end there as Tom Brady also broke Marino’s record, and Matt Stafford and Eli Manning also rounding out the top 6.
But as I said this year the new breed of QB’s showed running the ball can be as effective as passing, meaning a whole new problem for Defensive Co-Ordinator’s will have to rethink their strategy this off season because containing the QB just took a whole load more priority. Just look at the facts this year Cam Newton rushed for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns, Thats only 3 less than leading Running Back LeSean McCoy. Tim Tebow also rushed for 66o yards this season while only starting 12 games. Now in previous years there has always been a QB or two who could run the ball (just look at Michael Vick) but never has there been such a need to contain the QB and with the induction of Robert Griffin III entering the league next year will we see another passer with the chance to break into the open?
Who were the stand out players?
Well as we can see from the above there were some great players having historic years out there. Cam Newton had a great rookie season (Just add the 4000+ Passing yards to his rushing yardage). But what he didn’t achieve was a playoff berth. As rookie QB’s go Andy Dalton had a great year at Cincinnati taking them t the playoffs by being a good pocket passer, and then of course you have Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees from the QB’s. Now of course when you look at the receivers in the League this year you have to look at Rob Gronkowski who smashed the TE receiving yardage and TD records this year. Victor Cruz came out of nowhere as an elite receiver meaning the giants now have one of the best receiving corps in the league. Calvin Johnson also had an amazing season leading the league in TD’s and 1681 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball there were great players as well Jarred Allen had 22 sacks this year. Then there was the two Rookies who racked up the sacks this year, Aldon Smith got 14 sacks and Von Miller got 11.5 sacks. So standout player of the year for me has to be Rob Gronkowski. The Tight End role has been one that over the years has been changed and moved in a more receiver style role and this year in New England they have had two outstanding TE’s. Gronkowski has been the lethal weapon that in my mind has been missing from the Patriots offense and there seems to be no way to stop him.
Who were the notable absentees?
Only two words here: Peyton Manning! A team has never taken such a turn as the Colts this year. 10-6 to 2-14 surely he cant control the defense but apparently without their leader they cant play football.
Who still has something to prove?
Sam Bradford after a great 1st season of conservative football and completing the most passes for a rookie season. In his defense he did have a short off season to learn the Josh McDaniels offense and what some players described as “Quantum Physics of football”. Bradford also spent a long part of the season suffering with a high ankle sprain, which as we saw with Ben Rothlisberger can seriously restrict his movement. He was also sacked more than any other QB in the league so lets hope next season he can prove he was worthy of a 1st pick in the draft. Sam Bradford as a St Louis Ram please prove that you are an elite Quaterback in the making.
Well this space has to be reserved for the New York Giants. At the start of the season there was no way they could compete with the Philadelphia Eagles. They let their once wonderful receiver Plaxico Burress sign with the Jets leaving them “under staffed at receiver”, and with 5 weeks to go they wanted wholesale change as Tom Coughlin’s voice was lost on the players. Here we are 10 days away from the Giants 2nd Superbowl in 4 years. Overall they have done a great job and seem to be heating up at just the right time. Eli manning has also done a great job of shining with his brothers shadow on the sidelines and a win on Febuary 5th will give him one more ring than the supposedly greater Peyton.
What teams underachieved?
This hurts me to say but the biggest under achiever was definitely the St Louis Rams. A team that has been given early pick’s in the last 5 drafts should have a stronger team than they do. They had a great pre-season and looked like the pieces were finally fitting together, then the season started. Bradford had no O-Line to protect him as proven by being sacked so often, the running game and only working part of the offense and the defense could only have been worse if they had not stepped on the field. This is the right time for a change in the organisation and there can be only hope for next season, as there always is with the Rams.
A big rival of the Ram’s and the inspiration for next year. The San Fransisco 49ers may have lost to the Giants but there is no way they would have been projected to make the Championship game. Jim Harbaugh has taken the 49ers back to basic football an given Alex Smith the chance to prove his worth to the organisation that drafted him 1st pick in 2005 draft. They have had a great season and I look forward to the development of a great team next year.
Well with only the Superbowl left it gives us a great chance to look at who has really been the MVP. Earlier in the season it had to be Aaron Rodger or Drew Brees but now with the playoffs you have to narrow that field to 4 players. From the Giants you have to talk about Eli Manning while he may carry himself like a teenager who’s been told he cant go to prom (even after a 50yd completion), he has been outstanding when needed and when his team needs a leader he is there. Then you have Victor Cruz a player who took the opportunity that was handed to him by injury and has been truly outstanding he received over 1500yards had 9TD’s an a season long 99yd reception.
Then we have New England, Tom Brady has been his usual self consistent, awesome and accurate. There isn’t many more words you can use a guy who has been so good for so long.
Then for me you have the winner. Rob Gronkowski. He has been the difference for the Patriots this season. He has been outstanding, he is quick, big and a problem for every team. His yards after catch is phenomenal and he has been in a different class. So my MVP Rob Gronkowski.
So this is my season review just a few words. Feel free to discuss this below and add your own ideas.
I’m Matt and I know nothing