NFL

2015 NFL Awards

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As a member of the Pro Football Writers of America, I was afforded the opportunity to vote for the end of the season NFL Awards, All-Pro teams and all-conference teams.  Over the next few days I will release my ballot beginning with who I selected for the various postseason awards and why.

NFL MVP- Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Although Newton posted career highs pretty much across the board, his impact on the Carolina Panthers can not be solely quantified in the box score.  Newton is the unquestioned heart and soul of the best regular season team in football.  He’s made all the plays without much around him and makes everyone on that offense better.  He’s clearly the league MVP.

Runner-up: Tom Brady

Offensive Player of the Year- Tom Brady, New England Patriots

I completely understand the argument that if Cam Newton is the MVP then he should be the OPOY.  With that said, Tom Brady should be recognized in some way for his spectacular 2015 season.  Brady led the Patriots to the No. 3 scoring offense in the league while battling a myriad of injuries around him and constant changes on the offensive line.

Runner-up: Cam Newton

Defensive Player of the Year- J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

Sometimes the most obvious choice is the right choice.  Watt is the most dominant force in the game and also the very best player.  Despite the inconsistent antics (and then complaining about other players antics), Watt is always disruptive and truly is an all-time great.  There is no way for a single offensive tackle to stop him or even slow him down.

Runner-up: Aaron Donald

Rookie of the Year- Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams

Despite missing the first two games of the season, Todd Gurley was spectacular and led all rookies in rushing.  He already looks like one of the very best running backs in football and he is the focal point of the Rams offense.

Runner-up: Jameis Winston

OROY- Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams

See above description.

Runner-up: Jameis Winston

DROY- Marcus Peters, Kansas City Chiefs

After a tough start to his rookie season, Peters was extremely impressive at cornerback and led all rookies with eight interceptions.  Sure, Peters was aided by a Pro Bowl safety in Eric Berry, but he’s one of the reasons why the Chiefs are in the playoffs.

Runner-up: Ronald Darby

Comeback Player of the Year- Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It started to look like Martin’s career was headed south and then he rebounded in a major way and finished second in the NFL in rushing, playing with a rookie quarterback and a pair of rookie offensive linemen.  Martin was finally healthy in 2015 and showed why he can carry an NFL offense.  It’s nice to see good things happen to good people.

Runner-up: Chris Johnson

Most Improved- Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars 

After Bortles nightmarish rookie campaign in 2014, many wondered if the Jaguars made a huge mistake drafting the former UCF quarterback with the third-overall pick.  He came back with some better weapons, better mechanics and more confidence in 2015 and broke most, if not all of the team’s passing records.  Bortles has cemented himself as a quarterback you can build an offense around and although there is still room for him to improve, he was the best QB in the AFC South in 2015.

Runner-up: Gary Barnidge

Coach of the Year- Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers

The proof is in the win-loss record and it’s difficult, if not impossible to vote for Ron Rivera for Coach of the Year.  Rivera is a perfect fit for his team and they believe in him implicitly.  He’s a testament to the fact head coaches can improve with time on the job and give owner Jerry Richardson plenty of credit for sticking with him.

Runner-up: Jay Gruden

Executive of the Year- Mike Maccagnan, New York Jets

In his first year on the job, Maccagnan transformed what had become a perennial loser with no offensive weapons to the only offense in the NFL to score at least two touchdowns in every game this season.  Don’t let the final game put a damper on what Maccagnan has done, the Jets have positioned themselves well to be a contender going forward.

Runner-up: Scot McCloughan

Asst Coach- Matt Patricia, New England Patriots

For whatever reason, Matt Patricia is overlooked in the “hot assistant coach” race, but he’s done an amazing job with the Patriots defense.  The team lost a pair of starting cornerbacks in the offseason, as well as Vince Wilfork and they were still a Top 10 defense despite their opponents having significantly more possessions than most of the defenses in the Top 10.

Runner-up: Mike Shula


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.