The 11-5 Cleveland Browns sit at home this weekend awaiting the results of the Baltimore Ravens versus the Miami Dolphins in Week 17. If the Dolphins win, and the NFL sets up Week 18’s schedule as expected, the Browns will have a shot at one of the top two seeds in the AFC for this year’s playoffs.
It will also be another shot for Cleveland to make a statement before award season.
As is, the Browns are in line to win or be in the running for five or six awards:
Coach of the Year
Not only is Kevin Stefanski here to stay but he’s clearly a prime candidate for Coach of the Year in the NFL. Earlier in the season a national analyst lauded Stefanski’s ability as a coach and play caller before major injuries continued to decimate the team.
Now, with the season coming to an end, getting this Cleveland team to 11-5 is beyond impressive and, likely, locked up the award for Stefanski.
Defensive Player of the Year
A “fun” argument on social media is just how good DE Myles Garrett is compared to others at his position. Garrett gets double and triple-teamed more than anyone in the league, has offenses game planning around him to get the ball out in less than two seconds and still gets a huge amount of pressures on quarterbacks while also playing the run.
LB/DE Micah Parsons has had a similar season as Garrett and could be in contention for the award as well.
Comeback Player of the Year
This award is likely to go to DB Damar Hamlin for a ton of good reasons. If it doesn’t, Flacco’s story has taken the NFL by storm and that story could steal the award away for the Browns starting QB.
Special Teams Player of the Year
This is one where Cleveland will have a top-three finisher but kicker Dustin Hopkins missing the last three weeks of the season (getting hurt in Week 16) likely takes the award away from him. Hopkins got hurt chasing down a kick return that went for a touchdown. Felt wrong to not at least include him here and penalize him for that effort even if it will keep him from winning the award.
It is at least a part of the conversation that Garrett also should be in the running for MVP. He’s currently listed as +50000 on DraftKings, along with Parsons, while being the odds-on favorite for DPOY. Before Flacco’s resurgence, Garrett (along with Stefanski) was the main reason the Browns were in playoff contention.
Assistant Coach of the Year
Putting Garrett in a position to succeed, DC Jim Schwartz has put himself in position for this award. A rarely discussed award, DeMeco Ryans, Dan Quinn and Brian Daboll have won the last three. Ryans and Daboll went on to become head coaches after it while Quinn pulled his name from consideration despite being a top candidate for multiple head coaching jobs.
Executive of the Year
GM Andrew Berry has done amazing work putting together the roster and then adjusting when injuries befell the team. No easy task especially with the amount of salary cap space on IR (around 25% of theirs) at this point. Big moves and small moves have paid off for Berry this season.
The odds of the Browns pulling in all of these awards are low. MVP will likely go to a QB. Special teams is unlikely due to Hopkins' injury and Hamlin’s return from passing on the field likely keeps him at the top of the comeback list.
It is still amazing that Cleveland is rightfully in discussion for seven awards and could take home five or six with four feeling close to certain.
Which awards do you think the Browns should win?