Last Friday it was announced that Texans LB Brian Cushing will be suspended 4 games for violating the NFL's steroid policy. In light of that announcement, AP decided to re-vote for 2009 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and for All-Pro outside linebacker. The writers can still vote for Cushing, but they now can consider his positive test when deciding. I don't like the idea of looking back in hindsight. It was a vote taken right at the end of the 2009 season when it was fresh in their minds. So AP should not re-vote these awards, but since the reality is that the re-vote is happening, I'm looking ahead to the possible outcome on Wednesday.
Fukudometer posted a Fan Post on the subject with a poll to vote for the three rookie runner-ups: FS Jairus Byrd, LB Clay Matthews, and LB Brian Orakpo. Since we're a bunch of Packer fans, Matthews was way ahead the last time I looked. Here are their stats:
Why did I add pass defenses? 1) It was something to differentiate Matthews from Orakpo, and 2) it makes Matthews look better. Why didn't I add Cushing to the discussion? I can't believe he has any chance at winning though he is still eligible.
Despite my bias for Matthews, I still wouldn't put a safety ahead of pass rusher in general. All 11 defensive players have to play their role, but it's rare that a safety is considered the best player on defense and usually the best defender is also the best pass rusher. It's a more important position. Brian at Buffalo Rumblings says Byrd should win because some of his INTs were "momentum shifters" during big victories. Ironically Matthews biggest plays were in losses such as the fumble recovery at Minnesota and his big game in Pittsburgh. But in every game I noticed his presence and he stood out.
It might be a bitter sweet if Matthews is named the winner because he'll take it from his former USC teammate.