John Brown Ravens Mid Season Awards

Baltimore Ravens 2018 Mid Season Awards

It’s that time of year again! The Baltimore Ravens are halfway through the 2018 season, and while the team is at a crossroads, the Ravens are still in the hunt for the playoffs. The Ravens have a great number of players that have proved themselves to be integral to Baltimore’s success in 2018. It is only fair to recognize these players for their great efforts. The mid season awards are given to the best players in each category. Here are the awards, followed by nominations and winners.

Best Play

Nominations:

Winner: Michael Crabtree Toe Tapping Touchdown vs Bills

The 2018 Ravens season has been filled with great plays. The best, however, was Michael Crabtree’s toe-tapping touchdown in the game opener.  The catch was spectacular, as Crabtree showed off his concentration to catch the ball and athleticism to get both feet in bounds. While all of the other plays on this list were outstanding, Crabtree’s first touchdown with the Ravens signified the start of a new regime in Baltimore. Baltimore finally reignited the long-dormant offense.

Most Disappointing Player

Nominations:

  • Alex Collins, Running Back
  • Hayden Hurst (R), Tight End – South Carolina
  • Jimmy Smith, Cornerback

Winner: Alex Collins

Alex Collins takes home this “award” that no one wants to be the recipient of. In 2017, Collins burst on to the scene, and single-handedly reinvigorated the Ravens offense. After joining the Ravens in week three, Collins rushed for 973 yards on an average of 4.6 yards per rush. His efforts earned him recognition in Baltimore and throughout the NFL. For his fantastic rushing abilities, I named him the Ravens Most Valuable Player in last season’s awards. This year, however, Collins’ production has drastically dropped. On average, Collins accumulates just 3.7 yards per rush, and 44.8 rushing yards per game, opposed to last year’s 64.9. Collins has only rushed for 358 yards this season, making him Baltimore’s most disappointing player of the half-season.

Assistant Coach of the Half-Year

Nominations:

  • Don “Wink” Martindale, Defensive Coordinator
  • Marty Mornhinweg, Offensive Coordinator
  • Jerry Rosburg, Special Teams Coordinator
  • James Urban, Quarterbacks Coach

Winner: Don “Wink” Martindale

Don Martindale took over control of the defense from Dean Pees, known for a passive defense that often choked away leads. While the year has not been perfect, Baltimore’s highly ranked defense has produced results. During Martindale’s young tenure, the Ravens progressed from being unable to prevent comebacks, to not allowing a second-half touchdown until week seven. The former linebackers coach understands that a defense must create pressure and play physically to dominate. This is the message he has given the team, and the results have been spectacular. Under Martindale, the Ravens defense has returned to form as the best in the league in both points (17.1) and yards (293.8)  allowed.

Rookie of the Half-Year

Nominations:

  • Mark Andrews, Tight End – Oklahoma
  • Orlando Brown Jr., Offensive Tackle – Oklahoma
  • Lamar Jackson, Quarterback – Louisville
  • Kenny Young, Inside Linebacker, UCLA

Winner: Mark Andrews

The rookie class is maturing, and many players will continue to develop throughout the season. There are a few rookies, however, who have already greatly impacted the Baltimore Ravens for the better. Among those is Mark Andrews, a tight end who has gained the trust of his field general, Joe Flacco. Flacco has targeted Andrews 26 times in eight games. Andrews has caught 18 of Flacco’s passes, accumulating 194 yards. The rookie is quickly becoming a favorite target for Flacco, who has relied on vertical threat tight ends throughout his entire career. For his role on the offense, Mark Andrews earns the rookie of the half-year award.

Best Free Agent Newcomer

Nominations:

  • John Brown, Wide Receiver
  • Michael Crabtree, Wide Receiver
  • Willie Snead, Wide Receiver

Winner: John Brown

When the Baltimore Ravens entered free agency this year, general manager Ozzie Newsome had a single goal. Find weapons for Joe Flacco. The Ravens offense suffered when the Flacco had few reliable targets on the offense. In order to rebound, Newsome targeted receivers that would fit well together. While John Brown, Michael Crabtree, and Willie Snead are not the most flashy receivers the Ravens could have added, they each bring unique skills to the table. Brown is the speedster and deep threat, Crabtree is the big-bodied target, and Snead is the slot specialist. While each of the three players could have won this award, John Brown’s standout season with 586 yards and four touchdowns gives him the award.

Most Improved

Nominations:

  • Brandon Carr, Cornerback
  • Joe Flacco, Quarterback
  • Za’Darius Smith, Outside Linebacker
  • Maxx Williams, Tight End

Winner: Za’Darius Smith

Za’Darius Smith is the most improved Ravens player. While others have done better in 2018 than in previous years, none have improved as much as Smith has. Throughout most of his time in Baltimore, Smith’s role was nothing more than a backup pass rusher. This year marks Smith’s final year in his contract with the Ravens. In an attempt to ensure he gets a lucrative deal next year, he has excelled in producing for the Ravens. Smith has recorded 5.5 sacks this year and consistently gets pressure on opposing quarterbacks. His newfound ability to rush the passer has contributed greatly to the Ravens defensive effort.

Comeback Player of the Half-Year

Nominations:

  • Robert Griffin III, Quarterback
  • Alex Lewis, Left Guard
  • Brent Urban, Defensive End
  • Marshal Yanda, Right Guard
  • Tavon Young, Cornerback

Winner: Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III was not on the Baltimore Ravens roster in 2017. In fact, he was on no team’s roster in 2017. Once a player sits out an entire year as a free agent, it is very difficult to make a return. Despite this, Robert Griffin III was able to make a remarkable comeback. Injuries have long plagued his career, causing his departures from Washington and Cleveland. In the face of adversity, Griffin never gave up. He joined the Ravens, hoping to be the backup to Joe Flacco. The Ravens then interrupted his plans by drafting Lamar Jackson. Griffin did not quit, however. He kept fighting throughout the offseason and into the preseason, and forced his way onto the roste. For his improbable story, he is awarded the Comeback Player of the Half-Year Award.

Offensive Player of the Half-Year

Nominations:

  • Joe Flacco, Quarterback
  • John Brown, Wide Receiver
  • Marshal Yanda, Right Guard
  • Michael Crabtree, Wide Receiver

Winner: John Brown

While Joe Flacco obviously is the most important, John Brown is simply the best player on Baltimore’s offense right now. Brown’s deep threat ability, coupled with his almost perfect catching abilities allow him to take the top off the defense. He has excelled in both catching deep balls and taking short passes for long gains. In his short time in Baltimore, Brown has become the favorite target of Joe Flacco, and the two consistently connect for big gains at crucial points in games. Brown’s 586 yards and four receiving touchdowns lead the team. In a year where little is consistent on the Ravens offense, John Brown is the most dependable player on offense.

Defensive Player of the Half-Year

Nominations:

  • C.J. Mosley, Inside Linebacker
  • Terrell Suggs, Outside Linebacker
  • Brandon Carr, Cornerback
  • Za’Darius Smith, Outside Linebacker

Winner: Terrell Suggs

Terrell Suggs simply does not age. The 36-year-old veteran has played with the Baltimore Ravens since 2003. Suggs holds the franchise sack record with 131 career quarterback takedowns. He is the face of the franchise and a symbol of defensive success in Baltimore. As Suggs gets older, he does not slow down. While he has seen a reduced snap count in 2018, Suggs continues to dominate at the line of scrimmage. He is again on pace to record a double-digit sack total. At the mid-point of the season, Suggs sits with 5.5 sacks and 20 combined tackles. His amazing productivity sets him apart and makes him the Ravens most valuable defensive player.

Most Valuable Player

Nominations:

  • Justin Tucker, Kicker
  • John Brown, Wide Receiver
  • Joe Flacco, Quarterback
  • Terrell Suggs, Outside Linebacker

Winner: John Brown

The Baltimore Ravens needed a wide receiver that could lead the group after a rough 2017 offensive campaign. It was clear from the first practice in the offseason that John Brown and Joe Flacco would have a special connection. John Brown has assumed the role of the lead wide receiver and is Flacco’s most talented and reliable target. Brown can do it all, make contested catches, outrun defenders downfield, juke out would be tacklers. You name it, he can do it. Brown’s importance to the team cannot be understated. He has greatly contributed to the reinvigoration of the Ravens offense, and the overall strength of the team.

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