- I like Clay Matthews and think he’s very good. He should be in the conversation for DPY no question. I don’t, however, believe he deserves it. His stats definitely support the claim that he was especially disruptive this year on defense (13.5 sacks, 5 passes defensed, 1 defensive TD, 2 forced fumbles). I would have voted for him mid-year. But as the year went on, I think he got passed up by one guy – I’ll get to him in a minute.
- I disagree with Peter King giving his DPY award to Julius Peppers. Peppers has definitely helped reinvigorate a defense that struggled to live up to its reputation in 2009. They were tougher this year in part because of him and his presence. (His 11 passes defensed in particular, were pretty amazing – Matthews had 5). But the return of Brian Urlacher and the quality play from Chris Harris at safety also helped resurrect the defense. He was good and while I agree with Peter King that he made the defense better – I also think he was helped by having quality around him (Tillman, Urlacher, Briggs, Harris, etc).
- The guy I would give the award to is NYG DE Osi Umenyiora. He had one stat in particular that really pushes him to the top for me. While he had an impressive 11.5 sacks, tying him for 7th in the NFL – the stat that is positively hard to believe is this: Umenyiora had 10 forced fumbles. 10 FORCED FUMBLES!!! That is one of the most ridiculous stats I’ve seen in a long time. In fact, after a quick check of the stats, it appears that no defensive player has forced that many fumbles at least in the last 10 years – and very likely going a lot further back than that. The only other guy who was close this year w/re to forced fumbles, was his teammate Justin Tuck who forced 6 (and quite incredibly, recovered 5…and also had 11.5 sacks). Umenyiora was a brutish force for the Giants and while I frankly can’t be sure how much he affected games in other areas (stopping the run, tackling etc) – I’d give him the nod here because of his sacks and forced fumbles – both game changing plays.