Since the 2017 season concluded, we have been running through a number of awards here at Cincy Jungle. We asked for your help and opinions for the winners in a bunch of categories and the results are in!
Here are the winners of each award, based on your votes!
Rookie of the Year: Carl Lawson (75% of votes)
We had a feeling that this one would be a runaway. Lawson and his 8.5 quarterback sacks as a rookie wowed everyone and the hope is that his performance isn’t a flash-in-the-pan.
Most Improved Player: William Jackson (40% of votes)
This was a tight one between Jackson and Darqueze Dennard, as the margin between them was just three percent. It was Jackson’s penchant for big plays and his team-leading 14 passes defended that seemed to have stuck with the voters.
Unsung Hero of the Year: Giovani Bernard (52% of votes)
This was a two horse race between Bernard and offensive lineman Clint Boling, but the versatile running back gets the award. He beat out Boling by 22 percent of the total votes.
Special Teams Player of the Year: Alex Erickson (54% of votes)
This one was a surprise, at least to me, personally. Erickson wasn’t the same type of factor in the return game that he was as a rookie, while the trifecta of Kevin Huber, Randy Bullock and Clark Harris all had solid seasons. The latter was a Pro Bowler, but only received 11 percent of the votes.
Coach of the Year: Jonathan Hayes (54% of votes)
Defensive line coach Jacob Burney made a nice run at the award, as the team’s defensive front got to the passer frequently, but their struggles against the run all year cost him. Meanwhile, it was in Hayes’ ability to get a lot out of Tyler Kroft after Tyler Eifert went down with an injury.
Most Disappointing Player of the Year: Cedric Ogbuehi (41% of votes)
Rookie John Ross grabbed 25 percent of the vote, but some of the prevailing thoughts around his wasted 2017 campaign was that it was also on the coaches. The Bengals pushed their chips in the center of the table for Ogbuehi, and after flopping at right tackle in 2016, he wasn’t any better on the left side.
Trench Player of the Year: Geno Atkins (48% of votes)
We thought Boling would get more run here as well, but Atkins’ team-leading nine sacks and sixth Pro Bowl berth grabbed the lion’s share of the votes. Boling came in second with 27 percent of the votes.
Comeback Player of the Year: William Jackson (67% of votes)
In somewhat-surprising fashion, Jackson won this award in a landslide. There were also some rightful calls for Bernard to be a nominee, as he tore a knee ligament late in 2016 and came back to contribute in 2017 from the get-go.
Victory of the Year: Season finale versus Ravens (86% of votes)
No surprise here. Aside from knocking out their division rivals from the playoffs in general, the Bengals did so in last-minute fashion. The Week 11 win against the Broncos was the next highest vote-grabber at a paltry 7 percent.
Offensive Most Valuable Player: A.J. Green (29% of votes)
This was a close one. At first blush, one would assume that Green would have been the clear winner, but Andy Dalton (20 percent of votes), Boling (18 percent of votes) and Tyler Kroft (16 percent of votes) all had good runs.
Offensive Play of the Year: Tyler Boyd’s Week 17 game-winning touchdown versus the Ravens:
Were there some Bills fans voting on this one? This comes as expected, as the second-year receiver’s grab in the season finale was a runaway winner.
Defensive Most Valuable Player: Geno Atkins (52% of votes)
Atkins was the runaway victor here, but the surprise came in who finished second. William Jackson grabbed 17 percent of the votes, bettering Vontaze Burfict.
Defensive Play of the Year: Carlos Dunlap’s pick-six versus the Colts (41% of votes)
Dunlap’s tipped pick-six to himself was deemed the biggest defensive play of the year. Rightfully so, as the play sealed a must-win victory against Indianapolis. Jackson’s pick-six in Week 3 off of Aaron Rodgers came in second with 32 percent of the votes.
Team Most Valuable Player: Geno Atkins (48% of votes)
While offensive players usually grab the most attention, it was Atkins who was deemed as the best player on the 2017 Bengals squad. The surprise here was Dalton coming in second above A.J. Green, though both were far behind Atkins in the voting, while Bernard received a lot of write-in nominations.
Thanks so much for participating in these awards and the ones we do weekly for Bengals games!