2011 NFL Season: First Quarter Awards by Lloyd Vance

2011 NFL Draft first overall pick, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton, has lived-up to expectations and more that is why he is Taking It to the House’s Top Rookie of the First Quarter

NFL’s Best Team

Green Bay Packers –  Don’t give me all that talk about heavy is the head that wears the crown.  I think this year’s Green Bay team is better than last year.  QB Aaron Rodgers is playing at a Tom Brady/Peyton Manning level and he has weapons to spare — so much so that deep-threat receiver James Jones has been an afterthought.  The 4-0 Packers also have one of the NFL best defensive units too as Clay Matthews, BJ Raji, Charles Woodson and company are flying to the ball. Packers numbers through four games are 148 points scored (1st in NFL), 97 points allowed (24.2 per game average), and +6 in turnovers (5th in NFL)

Honorable Mention: Detroit Lions (We knew they would be better after closing 2010 with 4 straight wins, but this team has shown they mean business.  Can’t wait for the their Thanksgiving Showdown with the Packers); Buffalo Bills (3-1 for the upstarts from Western NY), NY Giants (have overcome so many injuries to be tied at top of NFC East), and the Baltimore Ravens (Absolutely dominant on defense and now have a more mature Joe Flacco at quarterback).

NFL’s Worst Team

Minnesota Vikings – This was a toss up, but in the end the Vikings are the NFL’s worst team after four games.  They have lost all four games, because they cannot protect a lead (two over 20-point leads).  To drive home the point of “how” bad this team is, here are their numbers through four games: 77 points scored (24th in NFL), 96 points allowed (24 pts per game), and  zero in turnover ratio

Dishonorable mention: Philadelphia Eagles (Their Dream Season has been a nightmare so far), Miami Dolphins (Sparano better have his resume handy), Jacksonville Jaguars (Why did they bring back Del Rio in the first place.  Now 1-3 and teams are having their way with their defense), and St. Louis Rams (are 0-4 again and their young quarterback, Sam Bradford, is being battered weekly).

Best Head Coach

 Detroit Lions Jim Schwartz – His young team is very tough sporting 3 come-from-behind wins and they are 4-0 for the first time since 1980.  Have gone from an 0-4 start in 2010 to a 4-0 start in 2011.  Schwartz has been masterful in blending young talents RB Jahvid Best, WR Calvin Johnson, QB Matthew Stafford, and DT Ndamukuong Suh. 

Honorable Mention: Buccaneers’ Raheem Morris, Ravens’ John Harbaugh and the Niners’ Jim Harbaugh

Most Disappointing Head Coach

Kansas City Chiefs Todd Haley– After the winning the AFC West in 201o with a surprising 10-6  record, everyone (including yours truly) thought the Chiefs would battle the Chargers for the division title .  Unfortunately the Chiefs have reverted back to form from years past as they have stumbled to a 1-3 record.  Sure many will point to key injuries to RB Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry, but the blame can be equally spread out between the offense and defense. 

Dishonorable mention: Eagles head coach Andy Reid (high expectations and low results… have been outscored 36-0 in the fourth quarter and their turnover ratio is -6 to rank 30th in the NFL)…BTW: Miami’s Tony Sparano and the Colts’ Jim Caldwell were too easy to pick

Offensive MVP

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers – America’s favorite gunslinger has shined as the Packers have gone undefeated (4-0) so far.  I know everyone wants to see if Rodgers can handle the pressure of being a defending Super Bowl Champion, but he has looked sharp throwing for 300 yards or more in 4 out of 4 games .  The Packers have been impressive beating the Saints, Panthers, Bears, and Broncos.  Through 4 games, Rodgers’ numbers are impressive  quarterback rating. Rodgers numbers through four games are 103-141, 73% (NFL Leading), 1325 yards, 12 TDs, 2 INTs, and a QBR of 124.6

Honorable Mention: Patriots WR Wes Welker, Lions WR Calvin Johnson, Lions QB Matthew Stafford, Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Raiders RB Darren McFadden and New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham

Offensive Lackey

New England Patriots WR Chad Ochocinco – I have one question, “Where are all of your touchdown dances now?”  He should be called “Ocho Stinko”.  As the Patriots loqcauois receiver seems more concerned with Twitter rather than playing football.   Johnson’s numbers through four games are pedestrian at best  receptions for  7 receptions for 113 yards and 0 touchdowns.  With Brady throwing to his young tight ends and Welker first, Ochocinco is a total afterthought.

Dishonorable Mention: Titans RB Chris Johnson (69 rushes for 199 yards and 0 TDs), Seahawks QB Tavaris Jackson (record of 1-3 as starter with 5 TDs and 4 INTs) and Chicago Bears Offensive Line (have only produced 846 passing yards to rank 25th in NFL and allowed 15 sacks)

Defensive MVP

Detroit Lions DT Ndamukuong Suh – The lynch pin of the (4-0) Lions defense has been dominant in Detroit’s first four games to say the least.  Suh has  12 tackles and 2 sacks.  But more importantly Suh has provided a disruptive inside push that helps all of his defensive teammates.

Honorable Mention: Packers CB Charles Woodson ( INTs),  Ravens NT Haloti Ngata, Eagles DE Jason Babin (7 sacks) and Browns LB D’Qwell Jackson

Defensive Lackey

Philadelphia Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha – The supposed all-world corner (1 INT through 4 games) has not shown much as his team has allowed a ton of yards per game.  Eagles have not produced turnovers (-6), have lost leads in their 3 consecutive losses and have allowed 101 points (25.2 per game) to rank 23rd in NFL.  Unfortunately Asomugha is baring the brunt of being miss-used by first year DC Juan Castillo.  Playing a zone has not been well for the former Pro Bowl corner as he was abused by the likes of the NY Giants Victor Cruz.

Dishonorable Mention: St. Louis Rams Defense (allowed 147 points and 983 passing yards in 4 games),


Offensive Rookie of the Quarter

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton – This is kid has been unbelievable as he has lived up to all the hype surrounding being the NFL’s first overall pick.  Threw for any NFL record 854 yards in his first two starts.  Newton has proven his naysayers wrong as he has compiled the following numbers in 4 games (1 win) — 97-163, 59.5%, 1386 yards, 5 TDs, 5 INTs, and 84.5 QBR plus an additional 133 rushing yards with 4 TDs.

Honorable Mention: Bengals QB Andy Dalton, Falcons WR Julio Jones, Dolphins RB Daniel Thomas, Rams TE Lance Kendricks, and Cowboys K Danny Bailey

Defensive Rookie of the Quarter

Cardinal CB Patrick Peterson – Young corner has done a nice job replacing former Pro Bowl players Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.  Already is covering Cardinals toughest match-up

 Honorable Mention: Broncos LB Von Miller and Bucs DE Adrian Clayborn


Head Coaches on the “Hot Seat” — Dolphins Tony Sparano, Eagles Andy Reid, Bengals Marvin Lewis, Chiefs Todd Haley and Vikings Leslie Frazier



Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award -winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


Author: lloydvance

Lloyd Vance is a NFL Writer, Analyst, Draft Expert, Researcher, and Historian. He serves as a Editor for "Taking It to the House and he covers the NFL on a daily basis. He is an Accredited Member of NFL Media and Philadelphia Eagles Media. Member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA), Pro Football Researchers Association (PFRA), and The Maxwell Football Club

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