BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots have reached the the bye week with a record of 8-1. It’s sort of bittersweet, because they are coming off a loss, but the Pats still have the best record in the AFC.
It’s now time for the Pats to take a break and for us to hand out some awards.
Midseason rookie award: Jake Bailey
The Pats have had three rookies that have stood out. On defense, Chase Winovich is the easy call. He’s played in all nine games and produced 4.5 sacks, giving the team some energy. On offense, Jakobi Myers has done his part when needed, with 14 catches for 172 yards in the eight games that he’s played. Both those players have been good but rookie punter Jake Bailey has been better. He’s now one of the best punters in the league. His 48 punts have an average of 44.6 yards. His longest was 63 yards and he’s put 21 of those 48 punts inside the 20. Not to mention, the height that Bailey gets on his punts his ridiculous.
Midseason defensive player award: Devin McCourty
I think we could easily give this award to Stephon Gilmore or Kyle Van Noy. Stephon is simply the best corner in the game. He locks down half of the field and breaks up any passes his way. Gilmore has 10 pass defenses and three interceptions, and he took one of those to the house for his first career touchdown. Van Noy has been a monster. He’s strong in the pass game and he just hunts down opposing quarterbacks. I feel like his game jumped in last year’s playoff run and has kept moving in that direction. Stephon and Kyle have been great but Devin McCourty has been a superstar, with five interceptions and six pass defenses. Plus — and this is a big one — he has been the stabilizing force for the defense. He’s never high or low, just even-keeled, and that has shown when he’s had to talk about the game afterwards. He is a true captain, and Devin could be having his finest season.
Midseason offensive player award: Julian Edelman
The Pats offense has struggled but the one constant has been Julian Edelman. This is not even up for debate. Jules has kept this whole thing together. He’s been injured but he’s played in all nine games and he’s been productive — 63 catches for 663 yards and 4 touchdowns. He’s on pace for his third thousand-yard season and there is a good possibility he could get a Pro Bowl nod. If there’s a blink in his game, it’s that Julian has fumbled twice this season. But Edelman is the Patriots’ go-to guy to move the chains.
Midseason biggest surprise player award: Jamie Collins
Brandon Bolden has been a pleasant surprise after departing Foxboro for Miami for one year before returning to New England. All of a sudden he does much more than just special teams. He’s been running the rock to the tune of 13 carries for 47 yards and two touchdowns. He’s also catching the ball out of the backfield, with nine receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown. Add to that, he continues to get the job done on special teams.
Bolden has been solid but Jamie Collins is a rock star. I guess a couple of years in Cleveland will change your whole perspective on things. Jamie has come back to the Patriots and dominated. He leads the team with six sacks and 48 tackles. By the way, 38 of those tackles are solo and he also has three interceptions, returning one of them for a touchdown. Jamie could easily be the midseason defensive player star, but I am not sure anybody thought he was going to come back and be this good. Surprise! He has, and that’s why he gets this award.
Midseason disappointment player award: Sony Michel
Maybe I just thought 2019 for Sony Michel would be different. He was coming off a strong end of the year last season and was able to go to training camp and really get involved in this offense. So far though, he’s been blah. The Patriots’ offensive line hasn’t been great, so Michel isn’t fully to blame. But just hitting the hole with some sort of force has been his problem. Also, I have zero confidence that this is going to get better. The offensive line might improve but the way Sony has approached games without a fullback may not change. So far, Sony’s sophomore season has been a disappointment.