clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Falcons midseason awards: We deliver MVP, Rookie of the Year, and more

New, comments
Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Dave Choate

MVP: Matt Ryan

OPOY: Matt Ryan

DPOY: Desmond Trufant

ROY: Deion Jones

How things changed in such a short time. Ryan has been stellar over the last four weeks, throwing for eight touchdowns against just two interceptions over that span and continuing to spread the ball around exceptionally well. Julio Jones has had a huge year and will continue to have one, but he’s mixed in a handful of quieter efforts, and I think at this moment Ryan probably deserves both of the first two honors I’ve mentioned.

While Vic Beasley is putting his name in for defensive player of the year, Desmond Trufant has been his usual exceptional self and still tops my list, even if he’s allowed more touchdowns than usual this year. Keanu Neal hasn’t played quite enough yet to overtake Deion Jones, who has a handful of huge plays and still looks like a force to be reckoned with, but it’ll be close.

DW

MVP: Matt Ryan

OPOY: Julio Jones

DPOY: Desmond Trufant

ROY: Keanu Neal

Ryan is having a fantastic season, and the early calls to “move on” from the polarizing QB have all but vanished. Minus one relatively poor game against the Chargers, Ryan has been everything you can ask for out of a QB. His favorite target - Julio Jones - gets the nod for offensive player, as he still draws so much attention as to open opportunities up for everyone else.

It’s easy to forget how good Trufant really is, since most QBs don’t even bother challenging him regularly anymore. It almost seems a foregone conclusion that once you put Tru on the top WR of the other team, he takes them out of the game.

As for our rookies, while Deion Jones has been incredibly impressive, Neal has looked every bit the part in the secondary. He’s a punishing hitter and has surprised with his ability to excel in coverage. Dan Quinn wanted his “enforcer” in the defense, and he’s found it in Neal.

Kendall Jackson

MVP: Matt Ryan

OPOY: Julio Jones

DPOY: Desmond Trufant

ROY: Deion Jones

Kyle McClendon

MVP: Matt Ryan

OPOY: Matt Ryan

DPOY: Desmond Trufant

ROY: Deion Jones

Matt Ryan not only deserves to be MVP of the Atlanta Falcons, he is in the discussion to be MVP of the entire NFL. The Atlanta QB has had very few missteps this season and has looked like an NBA point guard on the field as he distributes the ball--it’s routine for eight guys to catch passes from Ryan. Julio was a close second on offensive player of the year but he has had a couple of games where he didn’t really show up, while Ryan has been fantastic all season. Julio wins the Alien of the Year award, though, because he definitely isn’t human.

Desmond Trufant has been exactly what a great corner should be: quietly consistent. Trufant has had a couple of fantastic plays in crunch time, but for the most part he hasn’t had a chance to do that because quarterback’s don’t want to take the chance on it. He is always in great position and never really gambles so much that it hurts the team. Vic is a close second but Trufant is a consistently worry-free spot on an incredibly worrisome defense.

I almost gave ROY to Keanu Neal but since Deion Jones is the one rookie who has been healthy and has been pretty good (with some huge plays sprinkled in), it has to go to him. I think Neal will end up being better throughout the whole season, but Jones has played more games and played well so far.

Allen Strk

MVP: Matt Ryan

OPOY: Julio Jones

DPOY: Desmond Trufant

ROY: Keanu Neal

Although he put up slightly better numbers in 2012, this is Matt Ryan’s finest season so far. The pressure couldn’t have been higher on Ryan going into the season. A sketchy relationship with Kyle Shanahan, rebuilding defense, and the league’s toughest schedule didn’t inspire much confidence from a frustrated fan base. He silenced all doubters with much-improved decision-making, efficiency downfield, and spreading the ball around.

Julio Jones is right up there with Ryan. Not being productive (on the stat sheet) against New Orleans and Denver keeps him slightly below. Jones’ presence will always affect games. That was evident against Green Bay. Both players are interchangeable for these particular awards. There isn’t a more lethal quarterback-wide receiver duo at the moment.

Desmond Trufant earns the nod for top defensive player. He isn’t having quite the same impact that he had last season. It still can’t be discounted how well Trufant covered Kelvin Benjamin, Brandin Cooks, and Doug Baldwin. Those wide receivers were largely contained in two out of three victories. In another tightly contested battle, Keanu Neal beats out Deion Jones for now. Both rookies have been massive upgrades at their respective positions. Jones was responsible for allowing several big plays against San Diego. That leaves him below Neal, who is proving to be more than a big hitter. Neal’s cover ability and awareness have been a pleasant surprise.

Caleb Rutherford

MVP: Matt Ryan

OPOY: Matt Ryan

DPOY: Desmond Trufant

ROY: Deion Jones

It’s no secret that both Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are having phenomenal seasons, but when Julio has an off game or is injured, Matt Ryan is still producing at an absurd level. He’s on pace for over 5000 yards and, at the halfway mark, he’s at 19 TDs and 4 INTs, numbers no Falcon quarterback has come remotely close to getting (For reference, Chris Chandler’s 1997 Pro Bowl season, he had 20 TDs and 7 INTs all year). At the rate Matt’s going, we could be talking about one of the greatest seasons EVER by the time we’re done. Yes, there’s plenty of football left, but that’s why Matty is both my MVP and OPOY. He’s not just OUR MVP, he’s the league MVP.

DPOY is such a difficult award to hand out for this team because, on one hand, Vic Beasley seems to have finally had the light bulb come on with regards to his play, but Trufant is challenged so infrequently by QBs, you have to imagine he’s basically taking whomever he covers out of the game, which is extremely valuable. I give the nod to Trufant, but if Beasley hits 12 or 13 sacks by season’s end, you may see the award change hands. Deion Jones is far and away the best rookie on this team. Keanu Neal has been wonderful as well, but Deion Jones may win DRoY by the time we’re done. He consistently earns high grades from PFF (he earned an 89 this week!) and is everywhere on the field. You could argue Neal has been better, but what a great feeling to be able to debate between the two and have legitimate arguments all around.

Jeanna Thomas

MVP: Matt Ryan

OPOY: Matt Ryan

DPOY: Vic Beasley

ROY: Deion Jones

Matthew Chambers

MVP: Matt Ryan

OPOY: Alex Mack

DPOY: Vic Beasley

ROY: Keanu Neal

Wow, a lot has happened in four games. I’m sticking with Ryan and Alex Mack but I switched their awards. Ryan has to be in the discussion for best quarterback in football. We’ve slowly grown concerned that Vic Beasley has rarely been flashing his potential, but he’s exploded in the last month with 6.5 sacks! Holy cow. I did not see that coming. Beasley has quickly turned into Atlanta’s best defensive player. Speaking of a great four weeks, Neal has been lights out. He still has some things to improve on, but he’s been outstanding this last month.

Kevin Knight

MVP: QB Matt Ryan

OPOY: WR Julio Jones

DPOY: DE/LB Vic Beasley

ROY: SS Keanu Neal

Matt Ryan is playing out of his mind and is firmly in the running for league MVP, not just Falcons’ MVP. He’s had a stellar season, leads the league in passing, and looks like an elite QB in pretty much every facet of his game. That TD throw to Taylor Gabriel was one of the best throws I’ve seen--ever.

Julio Jones is having another outstanding season, which could turn out to be even better than his 2015 campaign. He’s proving each and every week that he’s a superhuman on the football field, and defenses are forced to respect him on every single play. That kind of impact is invaluable, even if he isn’t catching 10 passes a game.

Vic Beasley is second in the league in sacks with 7.5--a year removed from leading the league-worst Falcons with 4.5. I think many of us expected improvement, but not quite this level of improvement. He’s not an elite pass rusher yet, and he needs to make a more consistent impact, but he’s done more than we hoped thus far. Not to mention, he’s excellent as a QB spy and is a plus player in coverage.

Keanu Neal is a complete surprise. Not necessarily surprising in that he’s played well, surprising in that he’s played well in aspects of his game that many of us questioned. Neal has been one of the best safeties in the NFL in coverage (although he did struggle some against GB), and regularly lays bone-crushing hits in run support. He truly is our Kam Chancellor and the sky's the limit for him on this defense.