With the 2016 regular season over, the various sports outlets are putting out there awards or at least who they think should receive official NFL awards. The most recent was Sports Illustrated’s MMQB 31-member panel which made their picks for several NFL awards with a couple of Raiders taking home hardware.
The winner for NFL Executive of the Year, going away, was Reggie McKenzie who received 13 first place votes and an overall total of 148. Next most went to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones with 9 first place votes and 141 overall.
“McKenzie inherited a Raiders team that was, frankly, a mess, and went 11-37 his first three years,” said Emily Kaplan. “My nomination for McKenzie is as much a marvel of his achievements as it is a reminder that patience, however untrendy in today’s NFL, can be rewarding. McKenzie, a first-time GM, designed a framework that allows his franchise to prosper for the foreseeable future. He even paid homage to his mentor, Green Bay architect Ron Wolf, by drafting quarterbacks even when it didn’t appear that he needed one —yet another McKenzie move that proved prescient this year with the pick of Connor Cook in the fourth round.”
We also pointed out that McKenzie has a strong case for Executive of the Year which you can read here.
Nearly as decisive an award was Defensive Player of the Year with Khalil Mack taking the top spot with 13 first place votes. Next up was Von Miller with 8 first place votes.
Robert Klemko said of Mack’s selection; “Oakland’s playoff aspirations seemed to take a hit with the early-season loss of defensive lineman Mario Edwards, but Mack took a defense with major holes at every level and made it competitive by sheer will. His 11 sacks came with five forced fumbles and a rare knack for making big plays in big moments, none bigger than game-clinching strip-sacks in consecutive weeks against Carolina and Buffalo.”
Despite Mack’s season sack total being down from 2015 (15.0), he was every bit as disruptive and added a few game-ending strip sacks as well which earned him Defensive Player of the Month for November.
Mack had staked his claim for this award a month ago when in consecutive games, he had a pick six, a game ending strip sack and fumble recovery, and led the team with 6 solo tackles in a win over the Panthers. Then against the Bills he had a tip that resulted in an interception that led to a touchdown, ended the Bills hopes with another strip sack and recovery, and was second on the team with 7 tackles.
Just yesterday, Pro Football Focus named him an All Pro as their highest graded edge defender.
Other Raiders receiving votes was Derek Carr for MVP, but the man who once led all vote getters apparently was out of sight out of mind after his injury, receiving no first place votes and 61 total votes; below Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers.
If anything I would think the way the Raiders played in the finale without Carr should have proven his worth. As in value. Perhaps the most valuable. Certainly more than Brady whose team went 3-1 with the team’s third string quarterback.
Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders, who chose Ryan as his MVP, made his case against Brady, Rodgers, and Carr — in that order -- without mentioning their names.
“It’s not Most Valuable Player of All Time, and it’s not Most Valuable Player in December, and it’s not Most Valuable Player Who Doesn’t Share His Locker Room with a Very Bad Defense.”
His explanation sounds a bit oversimplified. The third sounds like he doesn’t understand what an MVP is, but hey, it’s his vote. And it’s not like Ryan isn’t worthy with the season they had. He was one of just two quarterbacks to outduel Carr in head-to-head match-ups this season.
Jack Del Rio received some votes for Coach of the Year as well. He got six first place votes and 118 overall, but it was Cowboys’ Jason Garrett who rode two rookies to the best record in the NFC, who was the top vote getter.
Assistant coaches Bill Musgrave (8) and Mike Tice (5) also received a handful of votes. Though I think Tice deserved far more votes with what he did with the Raiders’ offensive line.