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Here we sit halfway through the season chilling and recovering on our bye week. What better time to evaluate the team across the board and hand out some awards to those that have worked hard through the season.

MVP - LB/DE Rob Ninkovich
Obvious choice here is Tom Brady. But I'm thinking outside the box here. This award is going to go to LB/DE Rob Ninkovich. Heading in to week 9 Ninkovich has recorded 27 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 pass deflection, and 4 forced fumbles. He has been dubbed the "Jet Killer" by coach Bill Belichick and has been as clutch as anyone could ask. His added presence on the defensive line has bolstered their pass rush and is starting to cause some havoc in the back field.

Offensive Player of the Half-Year - TE Robert Gronkowski
Coming off an offseason ankle surgery, the status of Gronk coming into this season was a little under question. After a bit of a slow start, we are back to seeing the Gronk of old. Being one of Brady's favorite targets, Gronk has amassed 43 catches, 580 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns through the 8 games he has started. With the hopeful return of opposite TE Aaron Hernandez following the week 9 bye, look for these numbers to continue growing.

Defensive Player of the Half-Year - LB Brandon Spikes
Ever since their last Super Bowl victory, this defense has been a bit lackluster to say the least. After the retirement of such key role players not only on the field, but also the locker room, this defense has been in dire need of a leader. In steps Brandon Spikes. He has become the voice of this Patriots defense on the field as well as the vocal point in the media for the team. With both praised and scrutinized comments through the season, he is being noticed. He has racked up 50 tackles, 1 sack, and 3 forced fumbles through the 8 games and wishes he could be playing football everyday.

Offensive Rookie of the Half-Year - HB Brandon Bolden
Now I know he's injured, but during his short stint in the lineup he had quite an impact for the Patriots offense. We all remember the breakout game he had against Buffalo in week 4 where he ended with 137 yards on 16 carries as well as a touchdown. Through the 5 games in which he has gotten touches, he has managed a decent 234 yards and 2 touchdowns. Since week 6, he has been sidelined with a lingering leg injury, handing his role to Shane Vereen, who has been filling in quite nicely.

Defensive Player of the Half-Year - DE Chandler Jones
Nothing surprising here. Dude is just pure BEAST MODE on the front line. Already has 6 sacks and 3 forced fumbles through his first 8 games. A much needed addition to the Patriots defensive line that has been lacking a pass rusher for quite some time now.

GOAT - CB Kyle Arrington
Is there any bright point for Arrington so far this season? He's let up 4 touchdowns, a QB rating of 155.8 when the ball is thrown his way, and balls thrown his way this season are caught over 80% of the time. On top of that, he has yet to intercept a ball. Just nothing good going on here for him.

When It Counts Award - RB Danny Woodhead
This preseason it was sort of thought that Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels wanted to utilize Danny Woodhead more as a change of pace back and third down receiver out of the backfield. So far through the season he has handled that extra load at a much higher level than expected. He's becoming the Wes Welker of the backfield! Busting for 17 on a bubble screen, picking up a 3rd and forever on a short little dumpoff, he's scrappy, and I like it.

iedlund 11/02/2012 04:23:00 PM Edit
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