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CBSSports.com 2012 NFL Awards

CBSSports.com staff

How things change as the weather gets colder. It wasn't too long ago Matt Ryan was on an MVP track and Andrew Luck was our top rookie. They both had fine, if not great, seasons. But they weren't the best in their respective categories come the end of the season.

2012 NFL Awards
Related links
2013 Playoffs

Below we list off some of our best, and worst moments from the 2012 regular season. We spent way too many hours debating the merits of the term "MVP" and marveling at the impressive and inspiring coaching situation in Indianapolis.

Check out the awards and other items and share your thoughts with us in the comments section. Also check out the video above, where Pete Prisco and Will Brinson try to explain the logic behind their selections. Thanks for being a part of CBS' and CBSSports.com's (ahem, home of the Super Bowl) coverage this season. -- Eric Kay, assistant managing editor

CBSSports.com 2012 NFL AWARDS


Pete Prisco: Peyton Manning. Coming back from an injury that could have ended his career to do what he did is amazing.
Clark Judge: Adrian Peterson. Without him, the Vikings don't just make the playoffs; they don't make it to .500.
Mike Freeman: Adrian Peterson. Without Peterson, they are the Minnesota Ponders. Or worse: the Minnesota Webbs. If Peterson didn't have the season he did, the Vikings would have won negative two games.
Jason La Canfora: Adrian Peterson. One-man army. Doesn't need a QB. Doesn't need Percy Harvin, doesn't need a deep threat. Just gets it done. A truly superhuman season for the ages overcoming what he did.
Pat Kirwan: Peyton Manning.
Will Brinson: Adrian Peterson. Peyton Manning is a worthy choice, but Peterson put the Vikings on his back and took them into the playoffs while running for more than 2,000 yards. Just because the award is tilted toward quarterbacks doesn't mean one has to win.
Josh Katzowitz: Adrian Peterson. I thought Peyton Manning was great, but we didn't know what Peterson accomplished was even possible.
Ryan Wilson: Peyton Manning. After a year off and four neck surgeries, he's somehow better than he was when he last played in 2010.

Defensive MVP

Pete Prisco: J.J. Watt. Easy pick. He had the best season of any down lineman in a long, long time.
Clark Judge: J.J. Watt, Houston. He did everything. Sack the quarterback. Get to the ball. Bat down the ball. Crush the pocket. The guy is downright unblockable.
Mike Freeman: J.J. Watt. Houston's defense is vastly overrated, can be had, and will get torched by New England (again) but Watt is a bright spot. An athletic lanky beast who was a huge reason the Texans were a major factor in the league this year.
Jason La Canfora: J.J. Watt. Another one-man gang. We saw what happened to Aldon Smith when Justin Smith went down. Well, Watt is the Aldon Smith and the Justin Smith in Houston, if that makes sense. Got his hands on the ball and/or the QB more than anyone else.
Pat Kirwan: J.J. Watt.
Will Brinson: J.J. Watt. "Dikembe" chased down Michael Strahan's record and even though he came up just short, Watt ended up with a freakish season for a 3-4 defensive end. It's scary to think this is only his second year.
Josh Katzowitz: J.J. Watt. The guy was unbelievably dominant. I'll be interested to see if he can do this again next season.
Ryan Wilson: J.J. Watt. Aldon Smith might seem more dynamic but Watt has the ability to take over games.

Rookie of the year

Pete Prisco: Robert Griffin III. It was tough, but I gave him a slight edge over Andrew Luck.
Clark Judge: Robert Griffin III. He can run. He can pass. He can win. What he can't do is avoid the big hit, and that's an issue.
Mike Freeman: Andrew Luck. The Colts last year started 0-13 and won two games. Two of the quarterbacks were Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter. Scrub city. Luck comes in and one year later the team is in the playoffs.
Jason La Canfora: Russell Wilson. Does it all and does it well. A historic rookie season in touchdowns produced. Protects the football. He became a total stud after nearly losing his job in the first quarter of the season. Played a tough schedule and destroyed teams with his legs and arm.
Pat Kirwan: Russell Wilson.
Will Brinson: Russell Wilson. Wilson overcame more than Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, who were handed jobs after being top picks in the draft. Wilson grew as the season went along and turned Seattle into a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Plus I picked him before the season and Pete will accuse me of having a Russell Wilson fathead in my office.
Josh Katzowitz: Robert Griffin III. Andrew Luck slumped toward the end of the season, and Russell Wilson wasn't quite as good as RG3 for most of it. RG3 transformed the Redskins.
Ryan Wilson: Robert Griffin III. You could argue that he saved Mike Shanahan's job.

Defensive rookie of the year

Pete Prisco: Bobby Wagner, LB, Seahawks. He has been a force in the middle of the Seattle defense. He can run and he can cover.
Clark Judge: Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina. The guy makes a zillion tackles on a team that gets no exposure.
Mike Freeman: Casey Hayward, CB, Packers. Helped make the Green Bay defense better against the pass. Now that run defense...
Jason La Canfora: Casey Heyward. In a year in which the Packers' secondary was lagging and without Charles Woodson, he was a stalwart. Tremendous smarts and ball skills.
Pat Kirwan: Bobby Wagner.
Will Brinson: Luke Kuechly. The Panthers' defense made HUGE strides when Kuechly took over at middle linebacker and started piling up tackles. He went largely unnoticed because of Carolina being eliminated from the postseason early on, but he was a difference maker.
Josh Katzowitz: Casey Hayward. Immediately, he's become one of the better cornerbacks in the league.
Ryan Wilson: Casey Hayward. Gets less pub than bigger names like Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner, but his six interceptions are hard to overlook. Also considered the once "undraftable" Vontaze Burfict here.

Special teams player of the year

Pete Prisco: Blair Walsh, Vikings kicker. He was consistent from any distance.
Clark Judge: Blair Walsh. He doesn't miss... from any distance.
Mike Freeman: Blair Walsh. Developed into a major weapon. Could end up being the best kicker in football.
Jason La Canfora: Jacoby Jones. Despite the Ravens' head coach being a former special teams coach, they have long suffered in that department. Well, no longer. Jones flat-out won some games with his return prowess and kept his team in others. Changed the entire dynamic of the units.
Pat Kirwan: Blair Walsh (10-for-10 from +50).
Will Brinson: Blair Walsh. The Vikings rookie kicker was a machine from just about every distance this year.
Josh Katzowitz: Blair Walsh. The dude went 10-for-10 kicking from 50-plus yards. Nobody has ever done that before.
Ryan Wilson: Blair Walsh. The rookie set the record for most field goals over 50 yards and was arguably the second-most important player on the Vikings' roster.

Coach of the year

Pete Prisco: Bruce Arians, Colts. What he did to get that team to the playoffs was impressive.
Clark Judge: Bruce Arians. He was 9-3 under extreme circumstances and helped reconstruct a 2-14 wreck into an 11-5 playoff team.
Mike Freeman: Leslie Frazier. How many of you had the Vikings making the playoffs? Besides me, that is. Took the team to a place no one thought they'd go this year; the Captain Kirk of football.
Jason La Canfora: Bruce Arians. Incredibly tough spot trying to develop a rookie QB as a coordinator and then end up as head coach for three quarters of the season while head coach Chuck Pagano battles cancer. Arians could not have been any better.
Pat Kirwan: John Fox.
Will Brinson: Pete Carroll. Tons of candidates this year, but I look at what the Seahawks have built and it's amazing to me. It was funny to mock Carroll's notion of trusting the system when he was trading for Charlie Whitehurst, but he looks pretty smart right now.
Josh Katzowitz: Mike Shanahan. For a coach who is stubborn and set in his ways, the job he and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan did in acclimating their scheme with RG3's skills was really impressive. Even if he almost got RG3 killed in the wild card loss.
Ryan Wilson: Chuck Pagano. The man battled cancer, returned to the sidelines before the end of the season, and inspired a two-win team to an 11-5 record and the playoffs.

Assistant coach of the year

Pete Prisco: Gus Bradley, Seahawks defensive coordinator. I love what he has done with that defense.
Clark Judge: Darrell Bevell, offensive coordinator, Seattle. The Seahawks went from a one-dimensional offense that featured Marshawn Lynch, Marshawn Lynch and more Marshawn Lynch to a unit that developed a successful pass attack off play-action, unleashed rookie Russell Wilson and buried opponents.
Mike Freeman: If any words besides Bruce Arians comes out of anyone's mouth when answering this question, check for head trauma.
Jason La Canfora: Mike Nolan. This was the same suspect group of Falcons defenders from years before, yet they became the only D in the league to confound Peyton Manning and they were a great scoring defense and they did it with almost no pass rushing options and without their one elite cover corner (with Brent Grimes out all year).
Pat Kirwan: Bruce Arians.
Will Brinson: Bruce Arians. Is there even a discussion about this award?
Josh Katzowitz: Bruce Arians. What he accomplished as the Colts interim when Chuck Pagano was out for most of the season was an inspiration to Pagano, the man who inspired the entire NFL.
Ryan Wilson: Bruce Arians. He was flawless as the Colts' interim coach while Pagano underwent treatment for leukemia.

Executive of the year

Pete Prisco: Ryan Grigson, Colts. He turned a horrible team into a playoff team in his first season.
Clark Judge: Ryan Grigson. He loses Peyton Manning and most of his veterans, inherits a brutal salary-cap picture, yet somehow turns a last-place team into a playoff club ... overnight.
Mike Freeman: John Elway. Ryan Grigson drafted Luck, which was the easy part, but he also had a hell of a draft outside of Luck and is putting together a nice, deep team. But Elway won the Peyton Manning sweepstakes.
Jason La Canfora: Tie -- Ryan Grigson and John Schneider. Can't separate them. Both made all the right moves -- young, aggressive, ballsy GMs who make trades and constantly rework the roster.
Pat Kirwan: John Schneider.
Will Brinson: Ryan Grigson. Narrowly edging out John Schneider, Grigson turned around Indy in a heartbeat thanks to a monster draft and some shrewd trades. Picking Andrew Luck is easier, but he hit home runs all over the place last April.
Josh Katzowitz: Ryan Grigson. Maybe drafting Luck was the easy call, but getting Dwayne Allen and T.Y. Hilton in the third round of the draft, Vick Ballard in the fifth and trading for Vontae Davis was smart. Helping turn around a 2-14 squad into an 11-5 playoff team was even better.
Ryan Wilson: Ryan Grigson. Indy's first-year general manager re-stocked the roster with a mix of youth and solid role players to supplement first-overall pick Andrew Luck.

Best offseason signing

Pete Prisco: Peyton Manning. That's the easiest pick here.
Clark Judge: Peyton Manning. The Broncos are the best team in football, and No. 18 is the reason.
Mike Freeman: Tie between the lawyers who represented the Saints in Bountygate and Peyton Manning. Manning transformed that offense post-Tebow.
Jason La Canfora: Vincent Jackson transformed the Bucs offense, defeated double coverage and for about 10 weeks had Josh Freeman looking like an All-Pro. Without him, this might have been a three-win season.
Pat Kirwan: Peyton Manning.
Will Brinson: Peyton Manning. This award's a lock as well: Manning took a team that won its division in 2011 and took them to even bigger heights as they repeated as division champs and took the AFC's No. 1 seed.
Josh Katzowitz: Peyton Manning. Clearly, the Broncos wanted nothing to do with Tim Tebow, so they put all their money on Manning being healthy. He was, and he's still one of the best five quarterbacks in the league.
Ryan Wilson: Peyton Manning. Duh.

Worst offseason signing

Pete Prisco: Jaguars WR Laurent Robinson. He barely played because of concussion issues and his future is in doubt.
Clark Judge: Robert Meachem, WR, San Diego. This was the guy who'd make people forget Vincent Jackson? Please. He did little but draw checks, drop a game-winning TD in Cleveland and sit.
Mike Freeman: Matt Flynn. Actually, will go down as one of the worst offseason signings in recent NFL history.
Jason La Canfora: Um, Tebow time anyone? Really, you spend $2.5 million in cash plus a fourth-round pick to trade for a No. 3 QB who never hits the field, who your coaches don't want and who is gone a few months later? Really?
Pat Kirwan: Mark Sanchez extension.
Will Brinson: Matt Flynn. Called it! Here's the thing about the Flynn signing: Seattle didn't know Wilson was going to start from Day 1 when they decided to grab Flynn; they didn't even know if they could draft Wilson. So it's not Flynn's fault, but Flynn is collecting tons of money to just keep riding the pine.
Josh Katzowitz: Matt Flynn. The Seahawks paid a ton of money for the guy who holds the clipboard for Russell Wilson.
Ryan Wilson: Mario Williams. He's not solely responsible for a Bills defense that couldn't stop anybody but he also signed a $100 million contract. It would've been nice if he showed something.

Biggest surprise

Pete Prisco: Washington Redskins. I never thought they would win the division.
Clark Judge: Indianapolis Colts. There's no way you'd expect the Colts in the playoffs. In fact, there's no way you'd say they'd win more than five or six games. Well, they did.
Mike Freeman: Colts, in one season, go from one of the worst teams to the postseason.
Jason La Canfora: Redskins. I didn't see them winning seven in a row and winning a division and really being more than a six-win team given their defensive personnel, especially after losing Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the season.
Pat Kirwan: The Colts.
Will Brinson: Colts. They had no business winning 11 games, but they did. Winning double-digit games and making the playoffs as a wild card with a negative point differential and a negative turnover differential isn't just surprising, it's borderline impossible.
Josh Katzowitz: That the rookie quarterbacks were so damn good. Obviously, Andrew Luck, RG3 and Russell Wilson were fantastic, but also, Ryan Tannehill had a decent year and Brandon Weeden had some good moments as well.
Ryan Wilson: The Colts. From two wins to 11 after cleaning house in the front office and on the coaching staff, and dumping Peyton Manning.

Biggest disappointment

Pete Prisco: Philadelphia Eagles. How did it go so bad?
Clark Judge: Philadelphia. I had the Eagles pegged for first in the NFC East. Instead, they finished last and lost virtually everything after a 3-1 start, including their head coach.
Mike Freeman: Notre Dame in the BCS title game. After that, the Eagles. It was so bad Andy Reid was run out of town at trans-warp speed.
Jason La Canfora: I truly expected the Steelers to be playing for a Super Bowl and for Ben Roethlisberger to be in the MVP conversation. That looked like a decent proposition around Week 9 or so but then, well, you know the rest.
Pat Kirwan: The Chiefs.
Will Brinson: The Eagles. Philadelphia was, seriously, a Super Bowl contender. They ended up barely missing the fight for the No. 1 overall pick.
Josh Katzowitz: The Eagles. We should have learned from 2011, but Philadelphia should have been better this year. The way the coaches, players and executives reacted to their tough times was disheartening.
Ryan Wilson: The Eagles. Owner Jeffrey Lurie called last season's 8-8 record "unacceptable." Winning just half as many games in 2012 got Andy Reid fired.

Most memorable moment

Pete Prisco: Chuck Pagano returning to coach in the final game.
Clark Judge: Seattle's last-second victory over Green Bay. It not only gave the Seahawks a victory they didn't deserve; it ended a lockout.
Mike Freeman: Dumbass replacement refs blown call in Packers-Seahawks game. A pivotal moment, actually, in NFL history as it effectively ended the lockout of the game officials.
Jason La Canfora: I have to go back to AD. Even for a freak of nature like him, this was kind of unfathomable.
Pat Kirwan: The return of Ray Lewis.
Will Brinson: Golden Tate Gate: It's the first thing I think of when I think back on the full season, even though the replacement refs nightmare didn't actually result in wholesale changes to the postseason standings. It said a lot about the quality of refereeing in the game, the NFL's greed, and what people actually pay attention to on a national scale.
Josh Katzowitz: The Hail/Fail Mary in Week 3 that allowed the Seahawks to beat the Packers and forced the NFL to end the officials lockout. Even after it was over, that game didn't stop entertaining.
Ryan Wilson: The way the Packers-Seahawks game ended on Monday Night Football back in Week 3 that hastened an end to the replacement refs experiment.

Most important trend from 2012

Pete Prisco: More up-tempo offenses, whatever the style.
Clark Judge: Read-option offenses. If you have a young quarterback you want him to run an offense, with the emphasis on run. But be careful what you wish for. If he's not built like Tim Tebow, he can break like RG3.
Mike Freeman: Young, great throwers emerging like apples on trees. The league will have good QB play for years to come.
Jason La Canfora: The rise of the rookie kicker. Don't overpay for your Akers or other old guys. Have the guts to draft a kid and let him go. Justin Tucker, Blair Walsh and others are evidence enough.
Pat Kirwan: The Pistol.
Will Brinson: Young quarterbacks winning. It can't be overstated how good the young crop of quarterbacks are looking: and we ended up with three rookie QBs in the playoffs, with their teams making it primarily because of their play on the field. That's not supposed to happen, but it did and it's unprecedented.
Josh Katzowitz: That coaches are willing to bend their offenses to make it easier for their rookies to acclimate.
Ryan Wilson: Zone read option. As quarterbacks become more mobile it will be interesting to see how defenses will adjust in the coming months.

Who are the 'elite' quarterbacks?

Pete Prisco: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.
Clark Judge: Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Period.
Mike Freeman: The Big Five: Brady, Rodgers, Peyton, Brees, the other Manning.
Jason La Canfora: Aaron, Tom, Peyton, -- the three best on the planet and the best of the best, and the guys who stand out above all others week in and week out.
Pat Kirwan: Brady, Manning, Rodgers.
Will Brinson: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning. Peyton joins the club and Eli gets temporarily booted for not making the playoffs or hitting 4,000 yards.
Josh Katzowitz: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Eli Manning.
Ryan Wilson: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger.

Which player took a significant step forward this season?

Pete Prisco: Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas. It's amazing what a receiver can do when he has a real quarterback.
Clark Judge: Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay. Without Greg Jennings, Aaron Rodgers desperately needed a go-to receiver who could back off secondaries. You're looking at him.
Mike Freeman: Peyton Manning because he was able to play at an elite level after getting his neck Frankenstein'd.
Jason La Canfora: Trent Williams. He looked like he might eat, smoke and sleep his way out of the league during much of his career, but damn if he wasn't a stud this year. Played like an All-Pro and helped make RG3 go.
Pat Kirwan: Alfred Morris.
Will Brinson: Randall Cobb. Could pick any of the rookie quarterbacks, of course, but I think Cobb is developing into one of the premiere receiving (and all-around) weapons in the NFL and will eventually morph into Aaron Rodgers' top target, if he hasn't already.
Josh Katzowitz: Richard Sherman. The boisterous Seahawks cornerback was the best cornerback in the league this season. Unfortunate that some of that was tainted by the drug suspension that was overturned.
Ryan Wilson: Eric Decker. In 2011, he ranked 71st in Football Outsiders' total value metric. With Manning as his quarterback, Decker ranked fourth, behind Cavlin Johnson, Andre Johnson and teammate Demaryius Thomas.

Which player took a significant step backward this season?

Pete Prisco: Justin Tuck. Where was he?
Clark Judge: Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG. Where was he? I thought he was supposed to be the second coming of LT. He disappeared, and so did that vaunted Giants' pass rush.
Mike Freeman: Michael Vick. I believe we have seen the last of Vick as a top player in this league. A close second is Mark Sanchez.
Jason La Canfora: James Harrison. All the injuries and the way the game is officiated, and with how much Pittsburgh's other linebackers are being paid, well, this looks like the end of the line there.
Pat Kirwan: Cam Newton.
Will Brinson: Michael Vick. And he keeps taking more steps back. It's crazy to think that he was once about to lead the Eagles and Andy Reid to the Super Bowl. I'd also accept Matthew Stafford.
Josh Katzowitz: Ray Lewis. It's a good thing he's retiring. He might not be good enough next season to start for the Ravens.
Ryan Wilson: Mike Wallace. Never was comfortable in Todd Haley's offense, seemed to lose focus at times, and it will probably cost him when (if?) he hits free agency this spring.

Which team that didn't make the playoffs in 2012, probably will in 2013?

Pete Prisco: Giants.
Clark Judge: New Orleans. Sean Payton is back. The Saints are ticked. The NFL is their prey.
Mike Freeman: Dolphins. They are quietly doing a nice job in Miami.
Jason La Canfora: Steelers. Big Ben will finish stronger, they will stay healthier and this front office is too smart and too good to be denied again. Will finally get their revamped, young offensive line playing together in 2013.
Pat Kirwan: The Giants.
Will Brinson: Giants. A very well-run organization, New York will figure out how to address their issues, get better in the offseason and get back to the playoffs. 9-7 in 2011 and 2012 looks totally different, doesn't it?
Josh Katzowitz: Saints. When Sean Payton returns as the head coach, New Orleans automatically becomes an NFC South favorite.
Ryan Wilson: Steelers. Injuries doomed them in 2012.

Which team that did make the playoffs in 2012, probably won't in 2013?

Pete Prisco: Redskins.
Clark Judge: Minnesota. There's too much competition within the Vikings' division. Plus, there's no way Adrian Peterson pulls an encore.
Mike Freeman: Bengals. I'm worried about that quarterback. His progress should be better and in some ways he regressed this year. And I don't blame the coaches the way some do.
Jason La Canfora: Bengals. They aren't built to sustain success, historically, and they certainly went out meekly again in the postseason. Andy Dalton will have much to prove. How many people believe Cincy can make it happen three years in a row?
Pat Kirwan: The Bengals.
Will Brinson: Colts. Turnover differential and point differential are begging for regression in Indy. They're a 7.2-win team based on their point differential and while Andrew Luck is special, you can't get all the breaks for two-straight years.
Josh Katzowitz: Bengals. If they made another postseason, it'd be an unprecedented run for this franchise. I don't have that much faith in Mike Brown.
Ryan Wilson: Bengals. The defense was fantastic down the stretch but Andy Dalton has to play a lot better net season.

What's the best-run franchise?

Pete Prisco: I'll go with the Giants. From top to bottom, it is run with class.
Clark Judge: Tie between Baltimore and Green Bay, with Pittsburgh a step behind. All these clubs know how to draft, know how to replace aging players and know how to win.
Mike Freeman: Giants. Not making the playoffs this season aside, the franchise loses guys, and refills. It's amazing. A very close second is Green Bay.
Jason La Canfora: Patriots. In Belichick I trust. If you are smarter than everyone else, then you are probably going to be better than everyone else.
Pat Kirwan: Steelers.
Will Brinson: Packers. I continually marvel at the guys they uncover in the draft (Randall Cobb, Casey Hayward are the latest examples) and how wisely they allocate their spending.
Josh Katzowitz: Patriots. No matter what pitfalls they face on a year-to-year basis, they're always a threat to make a deep run in the postseason. Every single season.
Ryan Wilson: Packers. This is a toss-up among the Patriots, Ravens, Giants and Steelers, but Green Bay is 36-12 the last three seasons with a Lombardi Trophy.

What's the worst-run franchise?

Pete Prisco: Oakland Raiders. But that will change soon.
Clark Judge: J-E-T-S .. Jets! Jets! Jets! They don't even know how to hold a year-end news conference. Sad.
Mike Freeman: Kansas City. That will change with Andy Reid, but there's no excuse for how poorly it's been run over the past few years.
Jason La Canfora: The Raiders still appear pretty rudderless and it's hard to love their long-term prospects given their stadium situation and business model.
Pat Kirwan: The Jets.
Will Brinson: The Jets. They're a clown car on ice skates, they have horrible contracts, they attract all the attention and they don't do very well on the football field. That's pretty much the full gamut of a horribly-run franchise.
Josh Katzowitz: The Chiefs. I like the Andy Reid hire, but I don't like giving him all the power. That didn't work well toward the end of his Eagles run, and it won't work well for a franchise that's whiffed on its last three coaching hires.
Ryan Wilson: The Jets. They should arrive to games next year in clown cars. It would be more appropriate.

Which college player are you excited to see in the NFL next season?

Pete Prisco: Jadaveon Clowney. Wait, I can't. I'll go with Jarvis Jones, Georgia's outside linebacker-defensive end.
Clark Judge: Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o. Every time I watch this guy he makes a thousand plays, yet there's a division of opinion on how high he goes in the draft. I don't get it, because I don't know what there's not to like.
Mike Freeman: Alabama runner Eddie Lacy. Scouts are telling me he's the real deal.
Jason La Canfora: I really don't pay much attention to college football in-season, but it's always all about the QBs and I'm dying to see which team grossly over-drafts a passer first. Geno maybe?
Pat Kirwan: Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M.
Will Brinson: Mike Glennon. I honestly think the lanky quarterback could establish himself as the best quarterback in the 2012 draft class -- he has all the physical tools to be a good pro quarterback, but needs to land in a spot with a good offensive-minded coach and a quality offensive line.
Josh Katzowitz: Manti Te'o. There's a big difference in opinion about where the Notre Dame star linebacker should be drafted, but wherever it is, he should be inspirational.
Ryan Wilson: Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones. The NFL is a passing league (with a little read-option mixed in) and speedy, three-down linebackers are a necessity for defenses.

What changes to the game should we expect in 2013?

Pete Prisco: The read option being figured out. It takes an offseason.
Clark Judge: An overhaul of that stupid rule that flags coaches for challenging plays that will be challenged anyway ... but refuses to review them once a Jim Schwartz waves the red flag.
Mike Freeman: More removal of big hits. It will happen gradually season by season as the NFL legislates extreme violence out of football.
Jason La Canfora: Thank god that bogus coach flag-throwing rule will be changed, and hopefully all hits below the waist will be as well. Competition committee needs to do the right thing.
Pat Kirwan: Get rid of the tuck rule.
Will Brinson: Hopefully some injury report changes. The Redskins' recent debacle -- as well as their other methods of handling various injuries -- makes me hope the NFL will crack down on teams that are trying to sneak by on questionable injury classifications.
Josh Katzowitz: HGH testing? Will that ever happen?
Ryan Wilson: The tuck rule is finally revised.

Where will Tim Tebow be playing in 2013?

Pete Prisco: Can he sing, "Oh, Canada?"
Clark Judge: Jacksonville. He's from there. The owner wants him. The club stinks. And fan club president Pete Prisco has the welcome wagon hitched and ready to go.
Mike Freeman: Montreal Alouettes.
Jason La Canfora: Jacksonville... or Saskatchewan. Dude has no options. Should be happy his hometown team is looking for a marketing ploy. Might want to bone up on his personal protector responsibilities.
Pat Kirwan: Jacksonville.
Will Brinson: Jacksonville. Just get a room already, you two.
Josh Katzowitz: The Jaguars? I honestly have no idea. I figure he'll land somewhere, but who knows.
Ryan Wilson: In Jacksonville. For the Sharks.

One thing you think we should know about the 2012 season ...

Pete Prisco: That you can never count out Peyton Manning. The man is too much of a competitor.
Clark Judge: Don't shy from starting rookie quarterbacks. They won a record 46 regular-season games this year, with three of them (RG3, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson) reaching the playoffs. Seasoning is for the Food Network; not the NFL.
Mike Freeman: That in the history of the NFL, we've never seen so many young throwers do so well. Nothing like this has ever happened before.
Jason La Canfora: The NFC West is no joke, and is only getting better. Figure it is the best division in football come 2013. Fear the West.
Pat Kirwan: Defense isn't dead because of all the rules favoring offense. There were only seven touchdown passes in four wild-card games.
Will Brinson: Youth is served. I already mentioned the young quarterback thing, but it's stunning how young the group of quarterbacks in the NFL are. We won't -- we can't, I don't think -- see the performances we saw from a rookie class of quarterbacks in 2013. It's too impossible to follow up, which is what makes enjoying what these guys did so fantastic.
Josh Katzowitz: What happened to 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, having his job taken away from him after he had to sit out because of a concussion, will hurt the league's efforts to keep players safe.
Ryan Wilson: Doesn't matter what a coach's pedigree or accolades, he ain't winning without a franchise quarterback. Sounds obvious, yes, but seven guys lost their jobs because of it. And other one (Rex Ryan) should have.


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