Extra Points wraps up its seven-part awards series today, by selecting the Patriots' Most Valuable Player for 2009.
WR WES WELKER
Adam covered a lot of ground yesterday. The fact that there are still areas of his game to traverse should help to explain why he's pulling down both Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player.
His toughness, quickness, instinctiveness ... It all plays into his value. But perhaps the greatest thing he brings to the Patriots offense is this: When trouble strikes, it's Welker who so often can bail the club out. He's the hot receiver against the blitz. He's one of the best in the league in scramble situations. He can squirt through the defense to get that extra yard or two. And when the running game's struggling, he can replace its production.
Are there better receivers in the league? Sure there are. But I don't know if any offense would be a up a creek the way the Patriots were after the loss of one receiver. He's got a tough rehab ahead, but it's probably not be wise to bet against this guy.
QB TOM BRADY: Because he's set the bar so ridiculously high, it's easy to forget this -- This is a player who tore his ACL in 2008, and was one of the five best quarterbacks in the league again in 2009. Not sure he gets enough credit for it. That he did it while going through painful rib and finger injuries makes it all the more impressive.
At the end, he moved well enough to post a career low in sacks taken, and if not for 2007, his yards, touchdowns and completion percentage would be career highs. Now, there were times when his timing seemed off, and he did battle some inconsistency, but anyone thinking that he slipped much is holding him to a pretty ridiculous standard. The better news for New England: He should be better in 2010.
NT VINCE WILFORK: Like Welker, Wilfork's impact could be measured when he was forced out of action by injury. He's essential to the Patriots' ability to play the kind of 3-4 front Bill Belichick favors.
Wilfork exhibited toughness, selflessness and versatility in the final year of his rookie contract, and finished with a bang -- Battling through an ankle problem, to post 13 tackles against the Ravens. What's next? Well, the franchise tag, for starters ...
January 18: Comeback Player (Tom Brady)
January 19: Most Improved (Mike Wright)
January 20: Rookie of the Year (Sebastian Vollmer)
January 21: Special Teams Player (Kyle Arrington)
January 22: Defensive Player (Vince Wilfork)
Yesterday: Offensive Player (Wes Welker)
Today: MVP (Wes Welker)
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