Blog Entry

My 2008 PFWA ballot

Posted on: December 30, 2008 4:09 pm
I'm in my first year as a member of the Pro Football Writers of America, and as a member, I've been given the opportunity to vote for special awards and all-pro teams, with Pro Football Weekly tallying the ballots and publishing the PFWA's cumulative results (it will be in their Jan. 11 edition, online at their site on Jan. 12).

Here's how I voted:

Special Awards

Overall NFL MVP: DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers

Offensive MVP: DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers

Defensive MVP: James Harrison, LB, Steelers

I value this award, and the opportunity to name a player as MOST VALUABLE is not taken lightly.

So why did I go with Williams over Peyton Manning?

For starters, the stats were more impressive with Williams. Manning was sixth in passing yards, fifth in touchdowns thrown and was the key to the Colts going 12-4, though he had his fair share of bad games. Williams had his bad games too, but his team also finished 12-4. Williams ended the year ranked third in rushing yards and first in total touchdowns with 20. 20!!!! When we see Peyton Manning throw for 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns, we kind of shrug and say "well, we expected that." What did we expect from Williams? Maybe five or six touchdowns and 1,000 total yards. Also, when we see the Colts in the playoffs, we know that the guy to stop is Manning. When we see the Panthers in the playoffs, we know for sure that the guy to stop there is Williams. And no one has been able to stop him for the last two-thirds of the year!

Both players carried their teams for much of the year. Both teams would be out of the playoffs if either guy went down. Manning pretty much met expectations, and that's pretty darn good considering the state of his team. But Williams was electric, unstoppable and dominating for much of the season. Those superlatives outweigh what Manning did this year in my mind.

Coach of the Year: Mike Smith, Falcons

Real tough call here with Tony Sparano, but the Falcons' tougher schedule and weaker defense was the deciding factor.

Comeback Player of the Year: John Abraham, DE, Falcons

Overall NFL Rookie of the Year: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jerod Mayo, LB, Patriots

Most Improved Player of the Year: DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers

Executive of the Year: Thomas Dimitroff, GM, Falcons

Assistant Coach of the Year: Mike Mularkey, offensive coordinator, Falcons

I swear I'm not from Atlanta. I simply found myself really liking what the Falcons did this year.

All-NFL Team


Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Colts
Running back: DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
Running back: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Wide receiver: Andre Johnson, Texans
Wide receiver: Calvin Johnson, Lions
Tight end: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs
Center: Kevin Mawae, Titans
Offensive guard: Justin Blalock, Falcons
Offensive guard: Travelle Wharton, Panthers
Offensive tackle: Jammal Brown, Saints
Offensive tackle: Ryan Clady, Broncos

I really appreciate the offensive linemen I chose. In the case of Brown, he was the anchor of an offensive line that allowed 11 sacks, the second fewest in the NFL. That's with the Saints passing more than any other team in the league. The Broncos allowed the third-least sacks, and Clady allowed half a sack all year. Not bad for a rookie left tackle on a passing team.


Defensive end: John Abraham, Falcons
Defensive end: Justin Tuck, Giants
Defensive tackle*: Kevin Williams, Vikings
Defensive tackle*: Albert Haynesworth, Titans
Outside linebacker: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
Outside linebacker: James Harrison, Steelers
Middle linebacker**: Jon Beason, Panthers
Cornerback: Charles Woodson, Packers
Cornerback: Chris Gamble, Panthers
Safety: Ed Reed, Ravens
Safety: Michael Griffin, Titans


Placekicker: John Carney, Giants
Punter: Sam Koch, Ravens
Kickoff returner: Leodis McKelvin, Bills
Punt returner: Johnnie Lee Higgins, Raiders
Special teams: Sean Morey, Cardinals

Why Sam Koch? Simply put, he was toward the top of all of the punting stats, and the field position game was key to the Ravens success this year.

All-Rookie Team


Quarterback: Matt Ryan, Falcons
Running back: Matt Forte, Bears
Running back: Chris Johnson, Titans
Wide receiver: Eddie Royal, Broncos
Wide receiver: DeSean Jackson, Eagles
Tight end: John Carlson, Seahawks
Center: Jamey Richard, Colts
Offensive guard: Mike Pollak, Colts
Offensive guard: Chilo Rachal, 49ers
Offensive tackle: Jeff Otah, Panthers
Offensive tackle: Ryan Clady, Broncos


Defensive lineman: Jason Jones, Titans
Defensive lineman: Chris Long, Rams
Defensive lineman: Sedrick Ellis, Saints
Defensive lineman: Cliff Avril, Lions
Linebacker: Jerod Mayo, Patriots
Linebacker: Curtis Lofton, Falcons
Linebacker: Bryan Kehl, Giants
Cornerback: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Cardinals
Cornerback: Brandon Flowers, Chiefs
Safety: Tyrell Johnson, Vikings
Safety: Chris Horton, Redskins


Placekicker: Garrett Hartley, Saints
Punter: N/A
Kickoff returner: Leodis McKelvin, Bills
Punt returner:  DeSean Jackson, Eagles
Special teams: N/A

I'd love it if you guys would give me YOUR ballot. You comment on it here in the blog for all to see, including me. Let's have some smart debate over these picks.
Category: NFL

Since: Jul 24, 2008
Posted on: December 30, 2008 6:13 pm

My 2008 PFWA ballot

For the All-NFL Team Offense I think that Drew Brees or Kurt Warner should be included. Also Kurt Warner should at least be tied for Comeback Player of the Year because he went from being a 2nd string QB to a starter that lead the Cardinals to the NFC West title. There should also be The All Busts Team of the year.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or