We at Patriots Life are giving out our post-season awards. Previously, we revealed the New England Patriots:
Offensive Player of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
and Rookie of the Year.
Now, we choose our Breakout Player of the Year. And the award goes to...
I'm not sure it's possible for anyone on the Patriots offense to break out as a star, so we turn to defense. Linebacker Brandon Spikes developed really nicely this season, and Jerod Mayo stepped up and became a leader of the defense.
However, we've given the award to the "Jet Killer". This was a guy who many Patriots fans wanted out of the team, but the switch from OLB to DE has done him wonders, and he's become the Patriots chief playmaker on the D.
Ninkovich ended the year with 58 tackles, 8 sacks and 5 forced fumbles, which tied the franchise record for a season. And its not like these were meaningless plays. He won the game against the New York Jets in overtime with a strip sack and recovery in OT, and he created 2 key turnovers against the Denver Broncos. He also recorded 2 sacks in the AFC Championship loss vs the Baltimore Ravens.
Along with a healthy Chandler Jones, Ninkovich created a partnership that constantly kept tackles busy, and was often in the backfield. In big spots in a game, Ninkovich became the man Pats fans looked to for a play off the edge. He's developed into one of the key pieces in the Pats defense, and that makes him our Breakout Player of the Year.
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