NFL First-Quarter Awards


It’s hard to believe that we are already a month into the season, but as the time flies we have to look back at the first quarter of the season and determine the top performers. As always, names like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are in the mix, but there are also a handful of other players who may surprise you.

In total, three rookies came in first in their respective categories. The categories for this first installment of the quarterly awards were NFL MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Rookie of the Year and Coach of the year.

So who were the top performers through the seasons first month? Continue after the jump for a rundown.

NFL MVP: Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

Tom Brady is on a ridiculous pace to break NFL records for passing yards and touchdowns in a season. In a year where NFL offenses are throwing the ball all over the place, Brady has been a standout. Through only four games, Brady has racked up 1,553 yards and 13 touchdowns. That puts Brady on pace for 6,212 yards and 52 touchdowns. It is unlikely that Brady will be able to keep at this pace, but you can never count Tom out.

NFL Offensive Player of the Year: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

Yes, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers were left out. While it is hard to leave out some of the league’s top signal-callers, you cannot ignore what Calvin Johnson has been able to do through the first quarter of the season. Johnson has been virtually impossible to cover as he has brought in 321 yards and 8 touchdowns. Eight touchdowns would be a solid season for most receivers, but not for Johnson. He has hauled in two touchdown catches in each of the team’s first four games and is a big reason for their 4-0 record.

NFL Defensive Player of the Year: Ryan Kerrigan (R), OLB, Washington Redskins

A rookie? Absolutely. Kerrigan has been on a tear to start the season; showing up in nearly every major statline. Whether it be sacks, forced fumbles, tackles, passes defensed, interceptions or touchdowns, you will see Kerrigan’s name on the statline. It is rare for a young player to be such a dynamic force early in his career, but Kerrigan has proven to be an exception. He has been a standout on a very underrated Redskins defense.

NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

Who would have ever guessed that Cam Newton would fly out of the gates like he has? He started his rookie campaign with two straight 400 yard passing games. While he has to be disappointed with the high number in the team’s loss column, Newton has been one of the brightest spots on the team. He has been nothing but a true professional and has shown why the Panthers took him first in the draft. Newton has improved greatly every week and looks to be a future star in this league.

NFL Defensive Player of the Year: Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos

I could have taken the easy way out and given this award to Ryan Kerrigan as well, but I wanted to feature a name that has been overshadowed on his team by a lingering quarterback controversy. On an otherwise terrible defensive unit, Von Miller has been making plays all over the field and been a force. Miller has four sacks through the first month and has consistently made his presence felt when rushing the passer. If the first month is any indication, the Broncos have a great linebacker to build their defense around.

Coach of the Year: Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers

Yes, you could easily give it to Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions, but every year people claim the Detroit Lions will be the league’s breakout team so it has become expected. What Harbaugh has done in San Francisco, however, has been incredible. He has turned the 49ers into a tough, resilient team with a 3-1 record that is sitting pretty in the NFC West. The Niners lone loss came at home to the Dallas Cowboys. Other than that setback, the team has been rolling. They hold wins over the Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles. Harbaugh has done a great job getting his team ready for the season and hopefully he can keep them headed in the right direction. If Harbaugh keeps this up, San Francisco will be sitting in the playoffs come January.

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Tags: Cam Newton Jim Harbaugh NFL NFL Awards NFL Awards 2011 NFL News Ryan Kerrigan San Francisco 49ers Tom Brady Von Miller