After all the talk about Shawne Merrimen and whether or not a steroid suspension should keep him from winning post-season awards it turned out to be a moot point with the ANNOUNCEMENT that Jason Taylor was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year. My choice, our own Champ Bailey, finsihed second, 6 votes behind Taylor. Merrimen finsihed a distant third.
I would have loved for Bailey to get the award, and I think had the Broncos made the playoffs he probably would have, but can't really complain about the choice of Taylor. One reason could be the outstanding numbers he put up on a miserable team -- The end who sometimes lines up at linebacker or inside had 62 tackles, 131/2 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, two interceptions -- both returned for TDs -- 11 passes defensed, 10 fumbles forced and two fumbles recovered. Yes, 10 fumbles forced, making Taylor a takeaway machine.
The other reason might be the fact Taylor is a University of Akron alum, like me, and we once lived in the same dorm on the Akron campus. Even played a little basketball together in "The Pit", back when Taylor was a much better basketball player than football player.
As for Bailey, he had one of the greatest seasons ever for a CB -- 86 Tackles, 21 passes defensed, 10 INTs and a TD. Ironically, former Bronco Trevor Pryce recieved a vote and tied for 5th.
Below is a breakdown of the votes --
- Jason Taylor, MIA - 22 Votes
- Champ Bailey, DEN - 16 votes
- Shawne Merriman, S.D. - 6 votes
- Brian Urlacher, CHI - 4 votes
- Ray Lewis, BAL - 1 vote
- Trevor Pryce, BAL - 1 vote