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  1. #1
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    Mid-Season Awards

    Team MVP – Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

    Roethlisberger isn’t only leading the Steelers offense he is getting better by the week. So far on the season Roethlisberger has thrown for over 2,200 yards and 16 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions. Ben currently holds a 101.1 quarterback rating. That would be the second best rating of his career. He is currently on pace to have the best year of his career surpassing the season he had in 2007, a season that ended in a Steelers championship

    Offensive MVP – Tight End Heath Miller

    This would be Ben Roethlisberger, but since he is the team MVP the offensive MVP will go to Heath Miller. Miller has become a force in the Todd Haley offense with 6 touchdowns at the half way point in the season. The most touchdown passes Miller has ever caught in a season is 7 in 2007 and he is bound to break that number far before the season ends. Miller is also on pace for the second most yards of any year of his career and the most receptions of his career in a single season.

    Defensive MVP – Safety Ryan Clark

    It seems that Ryan Clark just keeps getting better with age. If he was able to play at altitude both of the Steelers losses to the Broncos (including the playoffs last year) may have gone differently. Clark is a difference maker at the safety position and may even be more valuable that Troy Polamalu. Clark is second on the team in tackles with 52 and has a forced fumble and an interception. Also, for the second time in two years the Steelers rank first on defense against the pass and a lot of that is due to having Clark quarterbacking the secondary. Honorable Mention: Linebacker Larry Foote

    Rookie of the Year – Fullback Will Johnson

    Some people may be forgetting that Will Johnson is considered an undrafted free agent this year. Johnson went undrafted out of college in 2011 so this is technically his rookie year and he is helping the running game get better by the week. Will has only touched the ball 7 times on offense for 57 yards and a touchdown, but his main job is to open holes for the running game and he is doing just that. Johnson will continue to improve in his first full year as a fullback and may be in that position for a long time to come with the Steelers. Honorable Mention: Punter Drew Butler, Running back Chris Rainey, Tight End David Paulson

    Best Off-Season Move – Hiring of Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley

    Todd Haley came in with a lot of question marks; fans and analysts wondered if he would butt heads with starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but half way through the season everything is running smoothly. The first five weeks of the season were a work in progress, but over the past three weeks the Steelers offense has looked balanced and successfully. Haley has toned down the playbook and decreased the number of running plays from 50 to 25. That simplicity is working and is allowing Haley to call plays that play to his player’s strengths. This offense has already made huge strides through eight games and could continue to improve as everyone gets more comfortable with it and each other.

    Surprise Player – Running back Jonathan Dwyer

    Jonathan Dwyer was being touted coming out of college; Todd McShay of ESPN at one point had him as a top 30 prospect in the draft, but some disappointment at the NFL Scouting Combine dropped Dwyer’s value. He ended up going to the Steelers with the 188th pick in the draft and has seen the most playing time of his career this season. In back-to-back starts Dwyer ran for 122 and 107 yards and may have earned himself a shot at being the Steelers starting running back not only for the rest of the 2012 season, but also for the 2013 season.

    Most Improved Player – Corner back Keenan Lewis

    Keenan Lewis got a lot better last year and saw the field on defense more than he had in his first two years with the team. With the departure of William Gay in the off-season Lewis was given a chance to be the number two corner in the pre-season and he has earned that spot. Lewis has 31 tackles and a forced fumble this season that’s the most tackles for any corner on the team just ahead of Ike Taylor’s 27. Lewis has also 15 passes defended almost twice as many as Taylor. During last week’s 24-20 win over the Giants Lewis helped to shut down on of the top passing offenses in the league and had a pass deflection taken from him by a phantom pass interference penalty.

    Comeback Player – Linebacker Larry Foote

    Foote started every game for the Steelers from 2004 to 2008. He then left the Steelers to play for his hometown Detroit lions in 2009 and started 14 games. After the 2009 season Foote returned to the Steelers as a back-up to James Farrior and Lawrence Timmons. He only started 4 games over the last two seasons, but has taken over for the retired Farrior now in 2012. At 32 there was some question as to how good Foote would be this season, but he leads the team in tackles, has three sacks, and has forced two fumbles.

    Best Play – Wide Receiver Mike Wallace’s 51 yard touchdown in Week 9

    Mike Wallace caught a 4 yard slant from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger against the Giants with the Steelers down 20-10 and showed off his world class speed on the way to a 51 yard touchdown. Wallace is having another very good season even though he missed all of training camp and the pre-season in a contract holdout. Wallace is the leading receiver in two of the three top categories touchdowns (5) and yards (525) and is only 3 catches behind Antonio Brown’s team leading 52 with 49 receptions on the season.

    Best Game – Week 9 win over the Giants

    The Steelers overcame bad calls and the second ranked team in ESPN’s Power Rankings in week 9 for their first signature win of the2012 season. Pittsburgh’s defense held Eli Manning to the worst game of his 2012 campaign on the way to a 24-20 victory. The score of the game is not indicative of how the game went, however, the Steelers dominated from start to finish. If not for some very bad calls (Mike Ditka called it the worst officiating he has ever seen) the game would have been a blowout. The Steelers went from being considered potential contenders to being called the Texans biggest competition in the AFC; what a difference a week can make in the NFL.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Pretty much agree with it all. Aside from comeback player...

    Make it like uh ... the O-Lines improvement from last year? Or Suisham being good?
    Depends how you are defining comeback player. Foote hasn't really impressed me to be honest.

    Dallas Mavericks GM
    2000-2001 - 50-32 (Conf. Semis)
    2001-2002 - 54-28 *Division Champs (Conf. Finals)
    2002-2003 - 63-19 *Division Champs (NBA Finals)
    2003-2004 - 63-19 *Division Champs (Conf. Finals)
    2004-2005 - 70-12 *Division Champs (Conf. Semis)
    2005-2006 - 23-59
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    2009-2010 - 61-22 *Division Champs (NBA Finals)
    2010-2011 - 61-22 *Division Champs (NBA Champs!)

  3. #3
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    I agree with all but Keenan Lewis. I still think he has been awful minus a few spectacular plays.
    TAKE PRIDE

  4. #4
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    Team MVP – Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

    I would say he's having a league MVP season, but there's obviously only one MVP and I don't think Roethlisberger is #1 in the entire league. But he's definitely up there and if he continues his play and Peyton, Ryan or Rodgers dwindle a bit, Ben definitely has a chance.

    Offensive MVP – Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

    I agree with everything SteelBlitz said about Miller, but let alone carrying the team, Roethlisberger was carrying the offense. He was the reason the team had two wins and not zero in the first five, and the reason they lost to the two crap teams by last second field goals instead of thirty points total. No running lanes for the RBs, dropped passes by his receivers, and Roethlisberger was still putting together a career year.

    Defensive MVP – Safety Ryan Clark

    Ryan Clark may be the most technical and disciplined defensive player in the league. Except when he hits, which is far from a bad thing. He provides stability and consistency to the defense, allowing his teammates to be more recognized playmakers except for the past two years, when Clark himself has finally been recognized. Even when cornerbacks Taylor and Lewis were playing poorly, the pass defense as a whole was still near the top in the league because of Clark.

    Rookie of the Year – Offensive Tackle Mike Adams

    No coincidence that we've had three consecutive hundred yard rushers, and two of those are different players, since Adams became the starter. He showed his run game dominance in the preseason, though it was his poor pass protection that got more attention and gave the impression of him being a LONG work in progress. And even beyond complimenting his run blocking, his pass protection has greatly improved. Still not great, but he's only been beat by Justin Tuck since becoming a starter.

    Best Off-Season Move – Hiring of Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley

    Do Ben and Haley like each other yet? Or was that just ESPN and NFL Network trying to invent a story to make it seem like the Steelers were done? There's a reason why the Post Gazette, Tribune Review, local news outlets that only cover the Steelers weren't reporting on the "tension" between Roethlisberger and Haley. With Haley's quick throws and check-down options, he has extended Roethlisberger's career at least 3-5 years longer than it would have been under Arians. Roethlisberger is on pace for 34 sacks, the 2nd best rate of his career behind his Super Bowl winning sophomore year in 2005. Perhaps more important than the low sack counts, Roethlisberger isn't even getting hit as much in ways that don't show up on the stat sheet. And of course, we have a legit run game for the first time since 2007.

    Last and far from least, he brought Heath Miller some much needed recognition by utilizing him in the red zone the way he should have been his entire career.

    Surprise Player – Offensive guard Ramon Foster

    Looking at his career, I would probably describe Foster as the best backup guard in the league, and one of the worse starters. However, in a complete half a season, he has definitely been solid and as mistake-free as a young player can get. Even with an up and down Marcus Gilbert next to him, he was quietly solid. Given how important chemistry is along the offensive line, even if DeCastro is cleared I'd say let him sit for the rest of the year. Even beyond the chemistry, re-injury has been an issue with this team like with Polamalu and Woodley. Foster has played very well and is a big part of the reason why Roethlisberger has stayed clean and Dwyer and Redman have had the games they've had.

    Honorable Mention - Safety Will Allen hasn't been the huge disappointment Mundy was. Not the playmakers that Taylor, Lewis and Clark have become during the three game win streak, but far from a liability or even a negative.

    Most Improved Player – Corner back Keenan Lewis

    If we're comparing this year only, since he was pretty good last year. The first five games, he was Bryant McFadden all over again. Giving his receiver an incredibly huge cushion, all they had to do was run hook or out routes and it was a simple 7 yard completion. The last three games, he has shut down the opposing receiver and been absolutely dominant, and in my opinion deserved AFC Defensive Player of the Week more than Taylor after the Giants game.

    Comeback Player – Tackle Max Starks

    All the positives about the offense I've been raving about, especially Roethlisberger being clean thanks to the improved play calling and performance by the offensive line? An absolute team effort, and I have to give credit to the guy coming off a torn ACL seven months earlier.

    Best Play – Entire Fourth Quarter in Cincinnati

    The defense had struggled maintaining a lead against every team on the road. The team was nursing a one touchdown lead after being down 14-3 at one point in the first half. The defense allowed 22 total yards and one first down against the Bengals, maintaining the lead, turning the season around and setting the tone for their current win streak.

    Best Game – Week 9 win over the Giants

    On paper it was a four point win with a big comeback. For those who watched, the Giants didn't score a single touchdown. The first TD came on a bogus "late hit on a defenseless receiver" when Ike dropped a second INT in the end zone on 3rd down, giving the Giants a first and goal on the one. The second TD came on an incompletion return. It was a dominant performance against the reigning champs on their turf who had been on a hot streak, keeping the best 4th quarter offense to -9 yards. Take away the two unearned touchdowns, give them a field goal, a 24-9, decisive win. When considering how we played and who the opponent was and where we played, this was our best performance so far.

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