Thanks to sfgfan for pointing it out, but for those who missed, Patrick Willis continues to bring home the hardware and Frank Gore joined him after a phenomenal performance against the Cardinals.
Patrick Willis was named the GMC NFC Defensive Player of the Week. There is no word on who won the Rookie of the Week award, but he is currently leading 42%-39% over Aaron Rouse, so it's looking good.
On the offensive side of the ball, Frank Gore was named the Fed Ex Ground Player of the Week, ahead of Justin Fargas and Jamal Lewis. It's good to see Gore get recognition in what has clearly been a tough year for him on the field. Hopefully we'll see more of this production the last four weeks of the season.
I'd like to go back to Patrick Willis for a moment. While we know how good he is, people around the country only had a basic idea, as there have not been nearly enough feature articles about Willis. However, that tackle Sunday afternoon seemed to bring him further into the minds of NFL fans across the country. If you combine the sheer physicality of it with the determination in what seemed like a hopeless situation, it's no wonder it's on all the highlight reels.
The question now is, what kind of recognition does Patrick Willis get going forward. It's pretty much a given that he'll win Defensive Rookie of the Year. Beyond that, what do people see happening? I'm not suggesting he's going to start the Pro Bowl and win NFL defensive player of the year. That would be getting ahead of myself. He has a lot to learn to become a great linebacker in this league. He has the overpursuit and positioning issues that ALL rookie defensive players seem to have. However, even when he does get out of position, his speed and athleticism makes it seem effortless for him to get back to the play and make something happen. I think he's certainly doing his best to get in the conversation for the Pro Bowl.
Jaxon asked me about Willis in our 5 questions (which I'll throw up Friday at some point) and I told him I thought it was too early to make declarations about being an all-time great. However, I did tell him I thought he had the skill and determination to potentially turn into at least one of the greats of his era.
We all think he's going to be a great linebacker. The question for you guys is, how soon do the Pro Bowl and player of the year type accolades potentially start rolling in?