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Green Zone League Articles

Awards Race after week 12
By Nic St. Marie
Special to gzl-football.com

With 5 games to go, there is time for a final push in several catagories. However, this year more than others there seem to be some catagories when a man cannot be cause. Now seems to be a good time to check in on the race for the most important awards in the GZL.

Offensive Rookie of the year
WR Josh Gordon - 61 receptions, 1138 yards, 9 TDs, 7 drops
WR Marlon Brown - 67 receptions, 938 yards, 7 TDs, 5 drops

That's your field, two players. The leading blockers are two FB's and a LT. Zach Stacy didn't start enough games to really make a run but started out looking like an elite back, and at QB no one is in the vicinity.

The most dangerous deep threat in almost every game he plays, Gordon has been electric. He's on pace to just about tie for the best WR of the entire year, and appears on pace to pretty easily beat a strong field of rookie WRs for the crown.

Brown has been close to a top 10 WR this year, and with a few big games could reach the top. But he's not been near the deep ball artist Gordon has been so appears to be out of reach. He's really not, as Gordon has exactly 200 yards and 2 TDs on Brown with 6 less receptions.

Defensive rookie of the year
LE Jadeveon Clowney - 42 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 1 FR
SS Deone Bucannon - 56 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 FF, 5 INTs, 14 PDs, 1 TD
MLB CJ Mosely - 88 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 3 INTs, 8 PDs

This field is closer, although Clowney has missed earning a sack in only 2 of his 10 games. Yes, he missed the first week and hasn't looked back since. He really doesn't bring a lot else to the table yet, and it really doesn't matter when you can bring QB's down more than once per game.

Bucannon was drafted in the second round as a hitter who needed work in the pass defensive skills, and simply not getting lost out there. He's far outperformed expectations with 5 INTs and a showing a strong knack for knocking down passes. This would be your defensive rookie of the year in a lot of seasons, and if Clowney finishes with only 12-13 sacks Bucannon could sneak past him.

Mosely is a MLB on an 0-11 team with plenty of opportunities for tackles late in games. He's done well on his own against the pass, supplementing those numbers and showing the smarts and athleticism he was drafted highly for.

Defensive Player of the Year
DT Stephen Paea - 36 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 PD
CB Claudio Ambellina - 53 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 FF, 6 INTs, 25 PDs, 2 TDs
OLB Brooks Reed - 61 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 1 FF, 2 INTs, 5 PDs
MLB Moe Jackson - 73 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 FF, 5 INTs, 10 PDs

This group is tough. Right behind Claudio is another Titan, Lardarius Webb with another 3 TDs this year with 6 INTs. Ambellina is starting to approach his peak and his impact on the field is as predicted. Most likely player to lead the league in INTs and PDs if anyone can pull off both.

Paea is having the most jaw-dropping year, as often happens with a NT dominates the sack statistic. 2nd overall in the league (to Clowney) in sacks for the surprisingly elite Cardinals, his impact is clear.

Reed and Jackson are the best all-around linebackers this year, with Reed playing the Joey Porter role for the truly dominant Titans defense. Jackson may not be the best MLB this year, but he does have the most splash plays for the 8-3 Buccaneers.
Offensive Player of the Year
QB Josh Freeman - 206/350, 58.8 comp %, 3020 yards, 8.6 YPA, 27 TDs, 11 INTs, 99.7 QB rating
HB Mark Ingram - 1219 yards, 5.64 YPC, 10 TDs, 2 FUM
WR Donnie Avery - 65 receptions, 1163 yards, 10 TDs, 7 drops

Freeman has been the most explosive QB in the league. A few others are within a great game or two of approaching him, but they lack his efficiency for the very successful Buccs this season.

Ingram barely beats out a couple of other running back studs with the most TDs, as well as being the only one to not allow a sack from the big three. Ingram may be caught by Doug Martin, who is back off of his injury and showing he still may get 30 carries in many games.

Avery is 4 receptions, 27 yards, and 1 TD better than Gordon. But he's having yet another elite season in what has become a clear HOF GZL career. He's on pace to beat all but his 2010 season.

Most Valuable Player
QB Boston Mallett - 216/343 63% completions, 2694 yards, 18 TDs, 4 INTs, 99.9 QB rating - Browns 7-4
QB Josh Freeman - (stats above) - Buccaneers 8-3
HB Mark Ingram - (stats above) - Raiders 6-5
WR Donnie Avery - (stats above) - Rams 7-4

The Titans are too good to lose one player and stumble I guess, while these players seem to be truly carrying their team.

Mallett has a very unlikely 38 TD season early in his career where he had low completion percentage with lots of bombs for TDs. This season he's proving he can do the opposite, take care of the ball, throw short passes with a high completion percentage. His WRs aren't quite as good deep as the Buccs are this season, and one is injured, but he's a huge part of why the Browns would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

Freeman is leading a talented team, but he's throwing deep more often and still taking care of the ball. Something he's failed to do many times before. His play, whether boosted by Blount or simply maturation has turned the Buccs into one of the favorites for the NFC representation in the SB.

Ingram should come off of injury just in time to try and run his team into the playoffs. Without him this week the Raiders lost, falling to 6-5. If they make the playoffs, you can rest assured it'll be on the back of Ingram.

Avery is a stud, who helps take the top off for a truly terrifying collection of 6'4" WRs for Bradford. The Rams have been the favorites to win the division a few times due to their sexy talent, and Avery is the deep threat that seems to outperform the other #1 WR prototypes they've got. This is the guy that makes the Rams a playoff team.
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