Fooch's Note: After the fact, but site decorum is off
The NFL passed out their various pieces of hardware Saturday evening at the NFL Honors program, and naturally it is going to leave plenty of us displeased. Luke Kuechly was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year, while our own NaVorro Bowman did not get a single vote. Here is the rundown of DPOY voting:
Even if Bowman isn't going to win the DPOY award, how does he not get a single vote? He had 145 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 2 interceptions, four forced fumbles and of course his signature play of the year when he ran back the score against the Atlanta Falcons.
I think there are arguments to be made for several defensive players, but Luke Kuechly is not at the top of my list. I think Bowman was worthy, but even beyond him, there are good candidates. Robert Mathis had a monster year with 19.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles. Robert Quinn was right behind him with 19.0 sacks and seven forced fumbles, as well as two fumble recoveries and a touchdown. Earl Thomas really captained that Seahawks "Legion of Boom" secondary, and is in the argument for best safety in the game. And I would even consider Richard Sherman over Kuechly. Sherman led the NFL with eight interceptions, in spite of being among the least targeted cornerbacks in the NFL.
But, such is life. The voting process is imperfect. Kuechly is a fantastic player, but look at how Bowman carried this defense? He stepped up in a big way when Patrick Willis was inactive Weeks 4 and 5. Vic Fangio's decision to use him more as a pass rusher resulted in a career high in sacks. He's shown an all around game and leadership ability that is worthy of DPOY honors.
As Bowman works to get back from his knee injury, I actually think we see a bit of a resurgence from his teammate, Patrick Willis. As Bowman has climbed into the spotlight, Willis has receded a bit even as he remains a key part of this defense. Willis does so much dirty work that it's easy to overlook how important he is to this defense. And with Bowman potentially starting the season on injured reserve, look for Willis to get back on the national radar a bit more frequently. I don't think he deserve to slip off the radar, but he has to some extent. I think we see that change during Bowman's potential early absence.
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