While Cleveland Browns fans vote in SB Nation Reacts on local topics each week, there are also questions posed to the national audience. This week, there were a handful of questions asked about NFL Honors, which will be Thursday, February 8th at the Resorts World in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Browns are expected to have players or coaches as top contenders in four categories: Coach of the Year, Assistant Coach of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year. Let’s start with Coach of the Year (the assistant category was not asked to fans). 56% of fans voted for the Lions’ Dan Campbell, while 36% of fans voted for the Texans’ DeMeco Ryans. 6% of fans voted for Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski.
Because the playoffs saw the Browns eliminated in the first round and the Lions and Texans advance, it’s understandable why Stefanski got so few votes. However, in the actual awards, voting took place prior to the playoffs starting, so there will be less of a bias there. I think all three men have a good case for making it, but I do feel like Campbell or Ryans will get the ultimate award anyway.
In the Defensive Player of the Year category, 39% of fans voted for T.J. Watt, 38% voted for Myles Garrett, and 23% voted for Micah Parsons. I am expecting the vote to be very close like that in reality for Watt and Garrett. Unfortunately for Garrett, a shoulder injury caused him to be less effective in the stats department as the season concluded, something that has been a consistent theme to close out seasons for Garrett in recent years. The media seemed to be pushing Garrett as “the” top defensive player in the NFL throughout much of the year, though — more so than any other season. I think this is the year that they finally decide to reward him for his efforts.
The final category is Comeback Player of the Year. 50% of fans think that Baker Mayfield will get it, 27% voted for Damar Hamlin, and 23% voted for Joe Flacco. This is a really tricky one for me. While it’s true that Mayfield had a redeeming season, we knew he was going to be the starter for Tampa Bay and had a good finish to 2022, so I don’t really view him as a comeback player. Hamlin is going to be a popular pick because he nearly died on the field in 2022, but he was utilized so little in 2023 that I think it really doesn’t fit giving him the award. Flacco has the best case — he was essentially thought to be retired, and then he signed late with the Browns and lit up the NFL after being on his couch, guiding the Browns to the playoffs, and making it seem like he could be a starter somewhere in 2024.
How do you think the awards will pan out, Browns fans?