Today is supposed to be film study day; I realize that. But I spent Sunday afternoon and all of Monday wallowing, and I don't like to wallow. So instead of starting off Tuesday morning with another bash session of the Buffalo Bills, I thought it'd be nice to take a look back at the first half of the 2008 season and hand out some awards. At least there's some optimism here. We'll get to the depressing stuff later.
Team MVP: Lee Evans
- I know, I know - this team is nothing without Trent Edwards, even if he has been playing poorly of late. That's the easy pick, though. I shudder to think about Buffalo's passing offense - no, wait, just the offense in general - without Lee Evans, however. Evans is on pace to have a career year yardage-wise, and he's still averaging just under 20 yards per reception on the season. Evans has emerged as a consistent threat, and I submit that no one - not even Edwards - is more important to this team's success this season.
Offensive Player of the Half: Marshawn Lynch
- This award almost went to Edwards as well, but nobody deserves more kudos than RB Marshawn Lynch. Despite some of the worst run blocking the NFL has seen this year, Lynch has still scored six times - good for a tie for fourth amongst running backs this season - and continues to be the engine that drives Buffalo's offense. He's also caught 27 passes this season, good for second on the team behind Evans' 35. Despite having no help whatsoever in the blocking department, Lynch is still making plays.
Defensive Player of the Half: Jabari Greer
- No player has been more consistent defensively than Greer. He's tied for the team lead with 2 interceptions; he's returned both of those picks for scores. He also ranks fourth on the team with 34 tackles. He's a small guy, but he's also Buffalo's most physical and aggressive defensive back. He has limitations, but he consistently overcomes them. What a pleasant surprise this guy has been for the past two seasons. Give him a contract extension, Buffalo.
Specialist of the Half: Roscoe Parrish
- Few players in the league generate the buzz that Parrish does when he hits the field for a punt return. His average is just 13.2 yards per return, a disappointment for him, but he's also been the lone playmaker for Buffalo's special teams unit. Buffalo's defense needs to start making some stops so Parrish gets a few more opportunities.
Rookie of the Half: Derek Fine
- Not a whole lot to pick from here, as Buffalo's rookie class has been disappointing in plenty of ways. Fine has only played in the past two games, and he's already equaled James Hardy's touchdown total on the season. In fact, his four receptions are just three less than Hardy's 7 on the season. This is more an indictment of Buffalo's high draft picks than anything else, I realize, but the Bills may have found something in Fine. He's been solid on kick coverage to boot, as expected.
Unsung Hero of the Half: Paul Posluszny
- Poz has 17 more tackles than any other Bills defender this season. He's been outstanding against the run, and though he has yet to register a sack, his blitzes have been among Buffalo's most effective in creating mayhem (he had pressures on each of Greer's interception-touchdowns, for instance). Yet few talk about him; it's always Stroud, Mitchell or Whitner. Poz has been outstanding, folks - he's one of the most technically sound players on the entire team.
Best Individual Performance: Marcus Stroud vs Seattle
- Where has Week 1 Marcus Stroud gone? Stroud absolutely shredded Seattle in Week 1 to the tune of 7 tackles and 2 sacks in what, sadly, remains Buffalo's most complete performance to date. Stroud was an absolute monster in that game, spearheading a defensive effort that included 5 total sacks and 2 forced turnovers. Since that point, Stroud has picked up just 15 more tackles, however. We need Week 1 Marcus back.
Play of the Half: Roscoe Parrish TD vs Seattle
- Lee Evans' one-handed helmet grab against San Diego was pretty sweet, as was Kawika Mitchell's interception off of Philip Rivers in Week 7. Parrish, however, gets the award for his phenomenal punt return for a score in the Week 1 win over Seattle. This is, quite simply, one of the best individual plays I've ever seen. Roscoe Parrish rules. Watch Roscoe's Return