Fooch's Note: Consider this sort of the start of some midseason review type material - Fits in with the 49ers bye coming close to the midway point.
It's far too early in the season to start talking awards for the season yet I'm going to do it anyway because it's fun. I'll be focusing on awards that San Francisco 49er players and coaches might be in the running for. First up is Coach of the Year.
Obviously any discussion of the award has to include Jim Harbaugh. What he's done is absolutely remarkable. Here's a rookie head coach coming into an off-season that was only two weeks along. With him he brought along a new offensive coordinator and a new defensive coordinator. The results? A 5-1 record for the 49ers, a defense that's second in the league in points allowed per game (only the Ravens are better). Alex Smith is playing the best football of his career (though arguably this transformation started last year with the Eagles game when he would not let Singletary pull him out of the game), and a resurgent Frank Gore on offense (on pace now for 1442 yards which would be the second most of his career).
Harbaugh isn't the only candidate on the list for Coach of the Year. Join me below the jump as I look at some other possible contenders.
Last year the Buffalo Bills finished the 2010 season at 6-10. If you had told me over the summer that the Buffalo Bills would be at 4-2 this season with the second ranked scoring offense I would have laughed at you, yet there they are. The team is 4th in the league in rushing yards
Schwartz's personality has definitely rubbed off on the Detroit Lions. The Lions are just 4 seasons removed from a record setting 0-16 season. The defense is tough, and the offense is ranked 4th in the league in points scored per game. Last season they finished with a 6-10 record. I predicted that this season they would end up at 8-8, yet their play has proven me wrong so far and at 5-1 they're sitting pretty.
Some people would probably disagree with me about including his name on this list since his Packers won the Superbowl last year. However his team's performance has actually gotten better since last year, hard as it is to imagine. They finished the regular season at 10-6 last year and entered the playoffs as the sixth seed. Their record right now is 6-0, they have the top ranked scoring offense and it's hard to imagine a team that can beat them. They have a very real possibility of going 16-0 on the season.