It’s time to look at some of the performances of the first half of the 2013 Atlanta Falcons season now that we’ve reached the midpoint. Here are my picks for which players stood out to earn some of these superlative awards.
For this first part, we’ll just focus on the most valuable players in the three phases of the game: offense, defense, and special teams.
Offensive MVP: Matt Ryan
Given the dropoff in production from the Falcons offense since the bye week, one could make an argument that Julio Jones is the most valuable player. But I figured picking him would be far too cynical a choice.
While Ryan’s performance has dropped off the past two weeks, overall he’s played at a high level. The hope is that his performance will bounce back in the second half once he gets a healthy Roddy White back to throw to.
Outside Ryan, Jones, and tight end Tony Gonzalez, there haven’t been many standout performances on the offensive side of the ball. The reality is that without Ryan, this Falcon team would be where Tampa Bay sits: winless and in utter disarray. Relative to most years, the Falcons wouldn’t be called stable this year, but what stability they do have is propped on Ryan’s shoulders.
Defensive MVP: William Moore
In past years, it always seemed like this was John Abraham or Sean Weatherspoon’s award. Well, neither player is still in contention since Abraham was released in the off-season and Weatherspoon has been injured for the majority of the first half of the year.
That means the mantle has passed to Moore for this top defensive honor. Moore hasn’t always been great, but he’s been the player on defense that has been the most consistently good.
The reality is that given how poorly the defense has played this year, there isn’t one player that has really played well. There have just been a mix of solid and mediocre performances. Moore has created a few turnovers, been a force against the run, and been effective in coverage through this season. Overall, the balance tips in his favor more than others.
Special Teams MVP: Matt Bosher
Perhaps it is because the standards have changed in regards to punter Matt Bosher that I’m tentative to give him this award. The “new normal” for Bosher is being a good punter, and thus his play has not really stood out to me this year as compared to a year ago.
I thought about going with gunners Antone Smith or Robert Alford due to their solid play in coverage. But in the end, I still have to give the honors to Bosher, while Smith and Alford deserve honorable mentions.
Bosher’s big leg has helped the Falcons special teams be effective nearly every game in the first half of the season by helping flip field position. While the team has struggled in the other phases of the game, the special teams has become a strength, thanks in large part to Bosher’s consistent play.
And the swagger also helps.