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Kevin’s 2012 NFL All Pro Team

By Kevin York

Yesterday we revealed the winners of our awards for the 2012 NFL season. To continue with the theme of recognizing the game’s best players of this season, today I’d like to reveal my 2012 All-Pro team. Keep in mind, this team was selected solely by me; it wasn’t decided by all of us. If you asked some of the other Couchletes for their all-pros, I’m sure they’d have many more 49ers on their team. But me? I’m a little more unbiased than them (that’s right, zero Green Bay Packers on my all-pro team).

A lot of thought went into this team so I want to explain a little for context. You’ll see no fullback on this team. Only a handful of teams even use a fullback anymore, so instead of naming one for the sake of history like the AP does (I guess that’s why they do it), I decided to name a modern all-pro team, replacing the fullback with a third wide receiver. Apologies to Vonta Leach, Marcel Reece and Michael Robinson. Sorry, guys, I can’t rationalize putting one of you on the team over someone like Brandon Marshall.

Another thing the AP does with their team, and a lot of writers do the same thing, is name 12 people to their defense – four down lineman and four linebackers. Again, that’s not a modern lineup. Hell, that’s not even a legal lineup unless you want a 12 men on the field penalty. Either choose a 4-3 or a 3-4. I decided to go with a 4-3 for mine so you’ll see four down linemen and three linebackers.

Like I said, I put quite a bit of thought into this, but let me know what you think. If you think I’m out of my mind (or even if you actually agree with me), leave a comment.

Kevin’s 2012 NFL All-Pro Team

Offense
Quarterback – Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Running Back – Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Wide Receiver – Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Wide Receiver – Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Tackle – Duane Brown, Houston Texans
Guard – Mike Iupati, San Francisco 49ers
Center – John Sullivan, Minnesota Vikings
Guard – Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens
Tackle – Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos
Tight End – Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Wide Receiver – Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears

Defense
Defensive End – J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
Defensive Tackle – Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals
Defensive Tackle – Vince Wilfork, New England Patriots
Defensive End – Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins
Outside Linebacker – Von Miller, Denver Broncos
Inside/Middle Linebacker – Daryl Washington, Arizona Cardinals
Outside Linebacker – Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots
Cornerback – Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
Cornerback – Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears
Free Safety – Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills
Strong Safety – Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers

Special Teams
Kicker – Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings
Punter – Thomas Morstead, New Orleans Saints
Return Specialist – Jacoby Jones, Baltimore Ravens

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york
You can contact Kevin at kevin@thecouchletes.com

The Couchletes’ 2012 NFL Season Awards

By Kevin York

In December, I wrote a post previewing the NFL season awards, going division by division and highlighting the best players of the year and the potential candidates for our year end awards. Today we’re ready to reveal the best of the best, our choices for MVP, Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year, and Coach of the Year.

I’m not going to go through our winners and highlight a lot of stats. If you want that, check out all the other sports sites. We’re Couchletes. We don’t have the time or means to do all the research to show why a quarterback is more valuable than a running back, so I’m not going to approach this like that. I’m just going to talk, like Couchletes do.

MVP – Peyton Manning

Photo Credit: (Peter Aiken/AP)

Photo Credit: (Peter Aiken/AP)

Peyton Manning showed us what he’s worth this year. Six wins. This year’s Denver team wasn’t much different than last year’s – except at quarterback. Exchanging Tim Tebow for Peyton Manning gave them six additional wins and the top seed in the AFC. Ironically, in the playoffs the two quarterbacks reached the exact same point. We’re not going to focus on that though since this is a regular season award.

Why Manning over Adrian Peterson? Manning was playing the most crucial position on the football field and led an entirely new offense for Denver. He brought it all together. Yes, Peterson was the entire offense for Minnesota, but a quarterback has more responsibilities.
Others considered: Adrian Peterson, Tom Brady

Offensive Player of the Year – Adrian Peterson

Photo Credit: (Patric Schneider/AP)

Photo Credit: (Patric Schneider/AP)

Peterson very nearly had an all-time great season, as in better than anyone else – ever. He missed attaining that status by only nine yards. Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson actually did have an all-time great year, breaking Jerry Rice’s single season receiving yards record. So why Peterson over Johnson? It was a tough decision, but ultimately, Peterson carried more of his team’s offensive load. He needed people to block for him, but did the rest himself. Johnson needed someone to throw him the ball and people to give that person time to get him the ball. We found Peterson’s year slightly more spectacular than Johnson’s.
Others considered: Calvin Johnson, Tom Brady, Brandon Marshall

Defensive Player of the Year – J.J. Watt

Photo Credit: (Dave Einsel/AP)

Photo Credit: (Dave Einsel/AP)

J.J. Watt redefined the way not only defensive linemen play the game but also the way offensive linemen play it. It’s mind-blowing how quickly a man that big can move. Equally impressive is how great he is at defending both the run and the pass. Rarely do you find a lineman that excels so much at both. A lot of attention went to Aldon Smith and his quest to break the single-season sack record. Lost in all of that attention was the fact that Watt was just as close to breaking it.
Others considered: Von Miller, Aldon Smith, Geno Atkins

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Andrew Luck

Photo Credit: (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Photo Credit: (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

This was a strong category, but we ultimately decided that Andrew Luck stood out more than the other contenders. Luck put up great numbers for a rookie and did it without much help around him, not nearly as much as Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III had to work with. Those two had great running games and great offensive lines to take the pressure off of them a bit. Luck didn’t have either of those and had a receiving corps comprised of Reggie Wayne and a number of no-names. Additionally, Luck was handed the entire playbook from day one. Wilson and RG3 were allowed to gradually assume more of the offense each week. That’s why we saw the Redskins running Baylor’s offense near the beginning of the year. Luck didn’t get that luxury and proved he could handle it.
Others considered: Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Luke Kuechly

Photo Credit: (Bob Leverone/AP)

Photo Credit: (Bob Leverone/AP)

This is the award that goes largely unnoticed. The general public doesn’t know the defensive rookies nearly as well as the offensive rookies. Those people missed the play of Carolina’s Luke Kuechly, a middle linebacker who should soon be finding himself appearing in Pro Bowls alongside the likes of Patrick Willis. Kueckly anchored that defense, a unit that didn’t have a lot of talent, and played superbly.
Others considered: Casey Hayward, Janoris Jenkins, Bobby Wagner

Coach of the Year – Chuck Pagano/Bruce Arians

Photo Credit: (AJ Mast/AP)

Photo Credit: (AJ Mast/AP)

No one expected the Indianapolis Colts to be very good this year. After news surfaced that Head Coach Chuck Pagano would miss much of the season due to treatment for leukemia, the expectations fell even more. The job that Chuck Pagano and Bruce Arians did this year given the circumstances was extraordinary. Arians certainly proved he deserved a head coaching job, which he received in Arizona, and I’m excited to see what Pagano can do given a full season next year. This combination overachieved with a team that didn’t have a ton of talent. Getting the kind of results they did make it hard to argue with giving them this recognition over any other.
Others considered: Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh, Leslie Frazier

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york
You can contact Kevin at kevin@thecouchletes.com