Raider Nation has spoken and the results are in. It’s the official unveiling of the winners of JBB’s first ever Raider Nation’s Choice Awards.
More than 2,500 votes were cast over the last week so a big thanks to all of you who make JBB a part of your day. We appreciate the support.
So, without any further delay here are the results.
Rookie of the Year: Miles Burris
This was a two horse race as only undrafted free agent Rod Streater rivaled our top vote getter in this category. However it was Burris who was the overwhelming winner earning 67% of the vote as Raider Nation’s choice for rookie of the year.
As a fourth round pick out of San Diego State Burris was looked at as a special teams contributor on draft day. Come opening night he was starting and would never give back his job even once Aaron Curry was healthy. Burris plays with a high motor that helped him rack up 96 stops, 1.5 sacks and an interception in an impressive first year in Silver and Black.
Most Improved Player: Brandon Myers
This was another vote that was none-too-close. Myers took this one walking away with 63% of the vote. Philip Wheeler was second closest with 21%.
For Myers it was an absolute breakout season. Coming into his fourth year in the league the former 6th round pick from Iowa had only 32 career receptions. That number more than doubled as Myers led the Raiders with 79 receptions and a Zach Miller-esque 806 receiving yards. He also found the end zone four times in 2012 after never hitting pay dirt in his previous three seasons. The height of the year came during Oakland’s loss to the Cleveland Browns when Myers tied a franchise record with 14 receptions. How and why he got all those balls thrown his way is another story. But putting your name in Oakland’s storied record book is nothing to overlook.
Defensive Player of the Year: Philip Wheeler
Wheeler was runner up for Most Improved but the run away winner for Defensive Player of the Year. Wheeler took this one with 59% of the vote as only Tyvon Branch and his 24% rivaled Oakland’s best free agent signing of 2012.
Playing in Jason Tarver’s defense was a breath of fresh air for Wheeler. After spending his first four years as a marginal player in Indianapolis, Tarver let Wheeler off the chain and the result was a havoc-wreaking, dreaded warrior that demolished the competition on Sundays. Wheeler had career numbers across the board racking up 109 stops, 3 sacks while forcing 2 fumbles. So impressed with Wheeler were the coaches that they gave him the defensive play calling responsibilities ripping that duty from the underachieving Rolando McClain. As a free agent securing the services of Wheeler for the future has got to be high on Reggie McKenzie’s list. In order for Oakland to take the next step they’ll need men like Wheeler who give maximum effort on every snap.
Offensive Player of the Year: Carson Palmer
This was among the closer votes but in the end it was Palmer’s record setting season that earned him 41% of the vote and a win as Offensive Player of the Year.
Palmer arrived in Oakland with massive expectations as Hue Jackson gave up premium draft picks for the semi-retired QB. After being rushed into action and playing only half a season last year, Palmer again had to digest a new offense. The result was one of the better seasons he’s had as a pro. Palmer became the first Oakland quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards since Rich Gannon’s MVP season in 2002. Palmer’s QB Rating of 85.2 was his best since 2006 and his completion percentage eclipsed 60% for the fourth year running. Aside from some struggles in key moments, Palmer played well enough to merit another year of an eight figure salary in the East Bay.
Coach of the Year: None
By far and away the most controversial category in JBB’s first every Awards vote. Raider Nation has expressed its displeasure with many of the decisions made by the coaching staff this year not the least of which was the horrible notion of scrapping a top 10 offensive scheme for one that rendered the Raiders powerless in the running game. For whatever its worth Jason Tarver got 14% of the vote thanks in large part to how well his defense played at the end of the season. Dennis Allen got 12% as he kept his cool in his very frustrating a tragic first year at the helm. However with an astounding 69% of the vote Raider Nation thought no coach deserved the honor. Pretty much sums up the season.
MVP: Carson Palmer
By far the closest vote there was. Palmer takes the honor by only two votes over Sebastian Janikowski. Hard to argue one way or the other. Sebass was the rock of consistency for the Raiders almost guaranteeing the team points anytime they crossed the 50-yard-line. However it was Palmer’s professional approach, willingness to do whatever was asked of him and his tireless work ethic that began with workouts he organized during the summer that ultimately resulted in him earning Raider Nation’s respect as the team’s Most Valuable Player.