Most Valuable Player, Offense
Washington has basically won games with its passing attack the last two seasons. Cousins became a deep ball passer this season, so even though his completion percentage dipped slightly (still good for 3rd best), he passed for more yards. Washington’s 8.2 yards per attempt was second-best in the NFL and Cousins threw twice as many touchdowns (25) as interceptions (12). Washington was tied for 4th with 13 completions of at least 40 yards and 2nd in the NFL with 70 completions of at least 20 yards. Cousins struggled some in the red zone and did not play his best in a few key games, which stand as the only real knocks against him in 2016.
Mark – QB Kirk Cousins
Say what you want, but without the NFL second best passing offense, it would have been a dismal season. Third in passing yards and third in completion percentage is pretty damn good.
Most Valuable Player, Defense
Tom T – CB Josh Norman
Despite being matched up against the other team’s best wideout most of the time, Norman was easily the team’s best defensive back. He tied for the team lead with 3 interceptions, but dropped half a dozen more. He also had too many penalties, but there were many weeks when it seemed as if Norman was the only thing working right on the entire defense.
Mark – Ryan Kerrigan
Kerrigan became only the fifth player in franchise history to record multiple ten sack season, racking up 11 sacks. He also had 2 forced fumbles and 4 tackles for loss. On an awful defense, he was the one bright star.
Most Valuable Player, Special Teams
Tom T – PR Jamison Crowder
Averaged 12.1 yards on 27 punt returns and his 85-yarder against the Baltimore Ravens basically won the game.
Mark – Jamison Crowder
Had a great season as punt returner, averaging 12.0 yards per return. He also added an 85 yard TD return.
Rookie of the Year
An undrafted free agent, Kelley took over the starting job during the Detroit game and never gave it back. Kelley seemed to wear down the last few weeks of the season and his yards per carry of 4.2 is hardly spectacular. He often made tacklers miss, though and generally got as many yards as he could. He need to improve his performance in the passing game, but he’s the leading candidate to be the starting running back in 2017. He has room to improve, though.
Mark – RB Rob Kelley
Kelley was an undrafted rookie and thanks to ongoing fumbling problems with Matt Jones, had an opportunity to show what he can do. he did more than that. He seized the feature running back role and gained 704 yards and average 4.2 yards per carry while rushing for 6 TDs. Barring a draft pick, Kelley should have the job in 2017.
Free Agent of the Year
This was an easy call. I thought Davis had more in the tank despite terrible production the last two seasons. I figured Davis was a victim of lousy quarterbacking in San Francisco (Colin Kaepernick) and Denver (Peyton Manning’s final season) rather than over the hill. Davis responded with 44 catches for 583 yards (13.3) and 2 TD. He was also the team’s best blocking tight end by a substantial margin. Keeping Davis in DC next year should be a top priority.
Mark – TE Vernon Davis
Career over? Far from it. In fact, with injury prone Jordan Reed, the signing was actually brilliant. 44 catches for 583 yards is a healthy season. He should return and have a slightly expanded role.
Most Disappointing Rookie
Tom T – WR Josh Doctson
Dude hardly played.
Mark – WR Josh Doctson
It is a first round pick and anytime a first round pick plays just one game, you earn this spot. Well deserved.
Most Disappointing Free Agent
Tom T – DE Kendall Reyes
Brought in to solidify a weak defensive line, Reyes was just awful even though the team tried to hand him a starting job on a platter. Unable to hold his position against the running game, Reyes also provided no pass rush and frequently appeared to be going through the motions. Even though the line was still a mess and cutting Reyes would create $2.425 million in dead cap space, the Skins released him a month into the regular season.
Mark – S David Bruton
Brought in to help solidify a weak safety position, Bruton was awful, got injured midway through the season, and should be shipped out of Ashburn.
Most Disappointing Player
Tom T – RB Matt Jones
Averaged 4.6 yards per carry, but maddening inconsistency, a tendency to dance instead of run and continued fumbling problem doomed Jones’ season. He was benched after his fumbles arguably cost Washington a win against Detroit. His talent is still there, but he seems unable to harness it and spent the second half of the season inactive.
Mark – CB Bashaud Breeland
Just had an awful season. Angry about the Josh Norman signing and the fact that he was being dissed as the lead corner, Breeland look at times like he did not belong on an NFL field. Toward the end of the season, Breeland gained more consistency and seem to get his swagger back. Let’s hope that trend continues next season.
Most Overpaid Player
Tom T – LG Shawn Lauvao ($4 million)
Mark – LG Shawn Lauvao
Most Underpaid Player
Tom T – RB Chris Thompson ($675,000)
He scored 5 touchdowns, averaged 5.2 yards per carry, caught 49 passes and was fantastic picking up the blitz.
Mark – RB Robert Kelley
Only a $540,000 cap hit next year. Read above. Enough said.
Coach of the Year
Tom T – Bill Callahan, offensive line
Callahan’s line kept Kirk Cousins’ jersey clean in 2016, giving up the third-fewest sacks in the NFL despite a pass-happy offense. Washington’s offense also averaged 4.5 yards per carry, tied for 7th-best in the league, another testament to Callahan’s good work. The line produced two Pro Bowl players — LT Trent Williams and RG Brandon Scherff — and when Williams was suspended for four games, backup Ty Nsekhe came in and played admirably. Spencer Long also replaced Kory Lichtensteiger at center and the line actually improved. Callahan’s reputation as the best offensive line coach in the NFL is secure.
Mark – Matt Cavanaugh, quarterbacks
Has done a nice job developing the passing offense, Kirk Cousins, and Cousins’ confidence.