Well it’s that time of the year where we are out of game balls and those that deserved them have gotten their fare share and those that didn’t (there were many) will have to settle with a nerf ball or something of the sort. Now it’s time to pass out instead of game balls our “year” balls.
It’s been well documented and well know that the Browns season could have been better and really couldn’t have been much worse. Their quarterback play was generally terrible, their running game was no existent and the rest of the team left little to write home about. That being said, they did have one of the stouter defenses in the league and a wide receiver who was all world.
So, without further ado…
Defensive Year Ball – D’Qwell Jackson. Dude was 7th in the NFL in tackles and that’s only behind names like NaVorro Bowman, Luke Kuechly and Lavonte David. Jackson was the model of consistency all through the year and had one of the better seasons in recent memory by a Cleveland linebacker. At least in my opinion. Play after play he was in on the tackle or at least making things difficult for the opposing offenses. Maybe he’s not the sexy name that some would want to win the award. Joe Haden may be better known or Barkevious Mingo may have a cooler name but D’Qwell made it happen where it really mattered, on the field in the trenches.
Offensive Year Ball – Josh Gordon. Duh! One of the easiest answers I will ever have for this type of question. Partly because the Brown’s offense was so bad, I wrote for the team for a year and I still struggle remembering all the offensive players. Mainly though, because Gordon had a straight up monster of a season! #12 had nearly 150 more receiving yards than the second place finisher (Antonio Brown) and finished with a huge 1,646. He also had 9 touchdowns, 117 yards per game, 30 catches of 20+ yards and a 95 yard touchdown reception, ALL of which were the tops in their respective categories in the NFL. This by itself should make you gasp in awe of the season he just put up but then you remember that he missed that he missed the first two games of the season due to suspension. I think most people don’t even remember that fact due to the incredible season he turned in but it makes it obviously that much more impressive. He was also not fortunate enough to have a good quarterback throwing to him or even a somewhat solid QB even. He took turns catching the ball from Brandon Weeden (puke), Brian Hoyer (hurt and seemed to prefer Jordan Cameron) and finally Jason Campbell who at times showed a good connection with the superstar wide out but was as far as you can get from a solid dependable pass thrower.
So if all that doesn’t give you a bit of perspective on just how good Gordon was this year then I don’t know what will. He had a season for the ages and that was without the benefit of a Matthew Stafford or Peyton Manning as his QB. He was one of the very few bright spots in a dark season for the Browns and one can only hope that Gordon can remain in Cleveland and become something for this team to build around for decades to come.
If you liked this, check out my dreary thoughts on the Browns’ future and read my article “The Browns are friendless, brainless, helpless…hopeless!”