Let’s finish off our midseason NFC South package with some special awards.
Coach of the half season: Mike Smith, Falcons. I came very close to going with Tampa Bay’s Raheem Morris, who has done a great job of turning the Buccaneers around. But I’m going with Smith because he beat the Buccaneers and the Saints in the first half of the season. If he can do that again in the second half, his team should end up in very good shape.
General manager of the half season: Mark Dominik, Buccaneers. This guy took a beating last year and some of it was justified. But Dominik never lost sight of the fact he’s building everything around quarterback Josh Freeman. He went out and drafted two rookie receivers who are producing and I’ll go ahead and say the Bucs are ahead of the curve on whatever timetable they had for this rebuilding process.
Most Valuable Player of the half season: Roddy White, Falcons. He’s emerged as perhaps the best receiver in the league. It’s no coincidence that’s coming after White had his first full offseason with quarterback Matt Ryan, who was drafted in 2008 and missed some work with his top receiver when White held out for a new contract at the start of the 2009 training camp.
Rookie of the half season: Mike Williams, Buccaneers. He slipped to the fourth round because of some problems in college at Syracuse. But the Bucs did their homework and thought the risk factor wasn’t all that high. Williams has turned out better than anyone could have hoped for. He’s been the No. 1 receiver since the start of the season and seems to get better each week.
Assistant coach of the half season: Gregg Williams, Saints. The New Orleans offense isn’t scoring like it did last year. Williams’ defense hasn’t been nearly as opportunistic as it was a year ago and there have been some major injuries in the secondary. But Williams has this unit playing well overall and that’s a huge part of the reason the Saints are 6-3.