Handing out some midseason hardware
As we head into the second half of the AFL season, it's time to hand out the midseason awards, writes Gary Horton.
We are at the halfway point in the 2007 AFL season and here are our midseason awards…
Best Quarterback: Chris Greisen, Georgia
He leads the league with 73 TD passes and only seven interceptions for a QB rating of 133.2. He runs the best passing offense in the AFL and is completing over 74 percent of his passes.
He is second in the AFL in receiving yards (1,188) but he leads the league is scoring with an amazing 35 TDs in eight games. He is big and physical and a nightmare matchup for DBs.
Best Fullback: Dan Alexander, Nashville
He is the ultimate short-yardage back for a team that loves to run the ball. In nine games he has 95 rushing attempts and 27 of those carries have gone for TDs.
Best Pass Rushers: Ken Jones, Columbus; Henry Taylor, New Orleans; Greg White, Orlando
All three of these guys are excellent edge rushers and they are at the top of the league in sacks. Even when they don't register the sack, they get a lot of hits on opposing QBs.
Best Linebacker: DeJuan Alfonzo, Chicago
He is a two-way player for the Rush, but he is a tackling machine on defense. He has 55.5 tackles through eight games and four interceptions, two of which he returned for TDs.
Best Defensive Back: Rashad Floyd, Colorado
He is the leading tackler in AFL with an amazing 91 total tackles and he also has two TDs on four interceptions to show his versatility. He is still the ultimate playmaker and a good matchup DB.
Best Place Kicker: A.J. Haglund, San Jose
He leads the AFL with 90 points, converting 63 of 68 extra points, while making 7 of 11 field goals, which is pretty good consistency in this league.
Best Kick Returner: Timon Marshall, Grand Rapids
He is a one-man scoring machine on a bad team. He has 53 kick returns for 1,266 yards and four TDs. He is a threat to go all the way every time he touches the ball.
Best Ironman: Will Pettis, Dallas
He is the ultimate two-way player with great toughness and competitiveness. On defense he has recorded 39 tackles in nine games and as a receiver he has 72 catches and 23 TDs. He is Mr. Dependable for Dallas.
Best Coaching Job: Mike Hohensee, Chicago
He has a veteran team who played with no consistency a year ago in the regular season before winning it all. But in 2007, he did not make a lot of roster changes, got the attention of his players and the Rush is off to a 7-1 start. He is the best in the league at making adjustments and utilizing his players strengths.
Best Offensive Duo: QB Joe Germaine to WR Siaha Burley, Utah.
Burley has 91 catches and a big 14.1 average for 29 TDs, while Germaine has thrown 67 TD passes and only four interceptions. They have great chemistry and deep threat capabilities.
Best Offensive Trio: QB Clint Dolezel to WRs Marcus Nash and Will Pettis, Dallas
Dolezel has thrown 59 TD passes and he has two excellent veteran targets in Nash (824 yards and 14 TDs) and Pettis (744 yards and 23 TDs).
How about a receiving corps that has produced 215 catches and 71 TDs? Chris Jackson (82 catches, 28 TDs) Troy Bergeron (71 catches, 25 TDs) and Derek Lee (62 catches, 18 TDs) are the best in the league, and they have a pretty good QB in Chris Greisen (73 TDs, 6 INTs) throwing to them.
Best Running Game: Nashville
They are not at the top of the league in yards but they are in a class by themselves in rushing attempts (111) and rushing TDs (29). This team loves to run the football in close with FB Dan Alexander.
Best Pass Defense: Chicago
The Rush have the best trio of DBs in the league (Jeremy Unertl, Dennison Robinson, Jonathan Ordway) and have only given up 32 TDs while recording 15 interceptions. They they lead the league in holding opposing QBs to an 87.5 passer rating.
Most Complete Team: Chicago
They have the best offensive weapon in the game, Bobby Sippio, a good power running game, an excellent pass rush, the best secondary in the AFL and they are a veteran group that is well coached. They play smart and with excellent consistency.
Most Disappointing Team: Arizona
A veteran team that is always competitive, but the lack of a defense forces them to try to post huge offensive numbers every week just to stay in the game.
Best One Dimensional Team: Utah Offense
The Blaze are awesome on offense and don't play a lick of defense.
Most Surprising Team: Georgia
They have a defensive-oriented coach, yet they have the most potent offense in the AFL. They are creative, make adjustments, unstoppable on offense and good enough on defense to make key defensive stops.
Teams to Watch in the Second Half
Philadelphia. The Soul have six of their last eight games at home and when they get healthy and get QB Tony Graziani back, they will be a much better and more confident team. Remember that Chicago was 7-9 during the regular season a year ago before running the table in the playoffs.
New York. With QB Aaron Garcia back they are a different team and offensively they can play with anybody. They will be a team that nobody wants to play over the next two months.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.
MORE AFL HEADLINES
- Former AFL player files lawsuit over head injury
- New Arena league to have 15 teams, 4 divisions
- New arena football league to include 16 teams
- AFL releases statement to announce shutdown