Chargers Roundtable: Who are the first half season MVPs on offense and defense?

Pssst, vote for me! - Rob Carr

With eight games played, the San Diego Chargers have reached the official mid-point of the season. The BFTB staff gives their picks for both Chargers offensive and defensive MVP so far.

Hello BFTB. Patrick Green normally does these, but he got promoted or something and now I get to take over. Hopefully I'm competent enough to get this done. Shall we begin?

Greetings, gentlemen. Now that the season is at the halfway point, who are your picks for MVP so far this season on offense and defense/special teams?

JKvandal

Offense MVP has to be Rivers. I know, *yawn* I picked the QB, but it's true. After the last couple seasons, very few would have bet on the season he is having thus far. Personally, I would have been happy with just an average season out of him. However, he is on pace for a career high in completion percentage, yardage, QB rating, and QBR. He's also on pace to have the least amount of sacks since 2007. Oh yeah, and Mr. Baby Giraffe is having his best season on the ground, averaging 5.1 yards per waddle..er...scramble. I can see Keenan Allen might develop into the season MVP if he keeps this up, and avoids some of those mental errors in the future.

Yikes, I think this half-point defensive MVP is going to be tough. I can think of many players on defense that have had a great few games, and pretty much every one of them has also had a couple rough games. I'd actually probably have to go with Jarret Johnson here. He's been exactly as he was in Baltimore...a guy that quietly makes the defense better and is very stout against the run. He's one of those dependable guys that every defense needs. His teammates and coordinator know he will always be where he needs to be and make the plays he needs to make.

As always, sound reasoning from Mr. Kvandal. Easy to agree with, hard to disagree with, and *yawn*, lets you sleep soundly without a doubt in your mind. Thank you!

Jerome Watson

First Half Offensive MVP, in my opinion, goes to Nick Hardwick. 17 is obviously playing lights out but this offensive line has been stellar and it's largely due to the dominance inside out. Hardwick has been brilliant on getting to the second level on Inside Zone Runs, has been a technician on checking off stunts. Lastly, Philip does a lot of checking out of plays and I've seen very little miscommunication between the two. I'd argue that 61 has the firmest grip of the offense amongst any offensive player.

32 is obviously the most valuable to the defense but hasn't come close to playing well enough to give him Half-Point MVP honors. So my selection is Darrell Stuckey and his ST coverage. These are defensive plays in my mind.

Jerome always gives us a new angle. Much appreciated! I like the Hardwick pick. Special teams should count; after all, the offense comes off so it's only somewhat logical to agree with his reasoning there. On to Sir Posey!

Kyle Posey

I think on offense you can go a number of ways, there has been a few guys having career years, in Rivers & Hardwick, a rookie WR playing like a 10 year veteran, in Keenan Allen, and a free agent running back in Danny Woodhead that's meant everything in this offense. That said, I'm going with King Dunlap.

A guy that by all accounts was a terrible signing and one of the worst left tackles in the NFL has been everything we were told, but the opposite. The sad thing is, fans STILL want to draft a left tackle. All he's done is shut down Derrick Morgan, Robert Mathis, and Brian Orakpo. More importantly, he's been one of the main reasons for the improvements in the run game. By no means is he a mauler, but he just understands angles, knows how to seal his man off, and is exceptional at getting to the second level. Dunlap has been great this year.

On defense, I honestly have no idea. Eric Weddle is one of the smarter players I've ever seen, he's been great. I just think he's asked to do too much, and that's showed. Jarrett Johnson has been great, when he plays. The fact that he's the best pass rusher on the team is kind of embarrassing. Because the defense is terrible as a whole, I'm going with Mike Scrifes. The punter. That's how bad the defense is.

And there's the surprise pick! I like the selection of King Dunlap. Yeah, he's missed a few games, but Kyle's argument is totally valid. Without him, Rivers can't play 100%, so I like the selection. Like Jerome, we see another special teams selection. Scifres has had some dozen or so punts downed inside the 20 this year, adding weight to his selection.

John Gennaro

First half offensive MVP goes to Rivers. I like Jerome's pick of Hardwick, but this team lives and dies with Rivers. When he plays well, they win. When he doesn't, they lose. There have been games when Hardwick played well, Rivers didn't, and the team lost. Considering I'm a big stickler for the MVP being the most valuable player, and not just the best, I have to go with El Capitan.

My defensive MVP is....nobody. Can it be nobody? I want to pick Dwight Freeney even though he missed the defense's streak of 12 quarters without giving up a TD. I guess I'll go with Jarret Johnson, even though he's missed two games. I love that Pagano has been putting JJ over Corey Liuget's shoulder lately, because those two take away any and all runs to the left side by themselves. There's not a stand out MVP, mostly because Weddle has been so misused by John Pagano that I could argue that he's hurt the team more than helped it this season, but Johnson will have to do.

So our fearless leader goes with the obvious pick. But he's right! There's a reason it's the obvious pick. Rivers=everything. Can't argue that. As far as Dwight Freeney goes, he makes a point. RGIII had very little pressure on him, and having zero pass rushers on the team has clearly hurt them a lot.

Jeffrey Siniard

I think the Offensive MVP is Nick Hardwick. As good as Rivers has been this season, it's largely because of the improved play up front. Coming into the season, Hardwick was the only player from 2012 returning to the same position. He's also the only offensive lineman who has played in his position all season long, and has had to not only make sure he's position to handle his responsibilities, but also learn how to play next to Jeromey Clary, Chad Rinehart, Johnnie Troutman, and Rich Ohrnberger during the season. He's been consistently solid getting to the second level in the running game this season, and he's been nothing short of terrific in the passing game this season - which is incredible based on learning a new system and working with multiple combinations of players in such a short amount of time.

As to the Defensive MVP, doesn't it have to be Eric Weddle by default? The only other possible choice would be Jarret Johnson, who's missed time with injuries. I know Weddle's not been as good as were accustomed to seeing, but it's mostly a result of having to cover deficiencies at almost every other position on the defense. He's stretched way too thin. Corey Liuget is playing a bit better, but still not consistently well, and everything else is the trainwreck from The Fugitive.

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Add another one for Hardwick... it's starting to make more and more sense. I mean, Rivers has always been great, but when you take away the one thing every QB needs (a competent O-line) you have a 2012 season in the making. Hardwick has assured us that won't happen again. On defense, Weddle is a safe choice. It's totally true what Jeff mentioned. Everyone around him has been horrid. What else can he do? NOT try and do it all? As bad as things are, they could be much worse were Weddle not making the rest of the secondary his duty. Now a word from our ageless wonder:

Robert Falkenberg

After the obvious choice of PR and Jerome stealing my thunder with Hardwick (both of which I strongly agree with BTW), the name I'll toss out there is Eddie Royal for the offense. All he has done is produce 7 TD's this season and provide defensive coordinators around the league another headache. With so many mouths to feed on this offense, keeping all of his skill players involved and happy must be as challenging for PR as providing enough daddy time to all of his kids at home. Royal has made the most of his chances. Despite being fifth on the team in receptions, he leads the team in receiving TD's and is 3rd in receiving yardage. The "who saw this coming?" factor is another part of my decision to go this direction. A lot of guys in the spread offense are matched up against the 4th and 5th best pass defenders and that happens for a reason. Not many receivers that are 4th and 5th on their team's depth chart can take advantage of those match-ups, but Royal has. His 7 receiving TD's puts him ahead of DeSean Jackson, Brandon Marshall, Demaryious Thomas, and A.J. Green halfway through this season. If you are surprised to find that out, so was I.

For Defensive MVP, I'm not naming a player. I'm not even going to name a defensive coach. Thinking about what we've seen so far, the defense's most effective weapon has been the offense's ability to keep the opponents offense off the field, so my defensive MVP is Ken Whisenhunt. Say what you want to about the red zone issues (I've said it myself), but the offense is 4th in league in scoring and in games won by the Chargers, that has come about mostly from the offense playing keep away with the other team's offense. Can you imagine how statistically bad this defense would be if it were not for the 3 games this year in which the Bolts had the ball for 40 minutes?

Eddie Royal, huh? Well stats don't lie, but they don't tell the whole story either. When he's good he's great, but does that make up for the games in which he's been invisible? Guess so. 7 scores is more than the entire Jacksonville team can speak for. Speaking of Jacksonville, they're one of the three games in which the defense played spectacularly, the other two being Indy and Dallas. So, I can't agree 100% with the defensive selection of an offensive coordinator. However, it's an understandable one.

Richard Wade

The obvious answer for offensive MVP is Philip Rivers. He's been simply incredible. He's played behind a patchwork offensive line and has been without his top two receivers from last season. He's been the most accurate passer in the NFL despite this and without him the disappointing 4-4 record would be 0-8 (editor's note: 1-7). Here's to El Capitan.

As for the defensive MVP, the right answer is probably Eric Weddle for the work he's done covering up the dumpster fire that is the majority of the defense. I have to go with Jarret Johnson, though. His work against the run game has been stout, and it's even more impressive when you look at it in the context of playing next to Kendall Reyes (who's just been amazingly useless against the run). He's also been the best pass rusher on the team this year among those not currently on IR.

That's another one for both Rivers and Johnson. No one mentioned the lack of both top receivers... that must add a new dimension to the voting process. Could having Floyd and DX really mean one or two more wins? Probably. It would sure make the fade/jump ball passes more effective. The defense has indeed been a dumpster fire. Weddle and Johnson are the wheels, Pagano is the dumpster, and the flaming garbage is the rest of the squad! Makes sense.

Nick Shepherd

I can't believe you guys have forgotten about the CLEAR MVP of the team. Danny Woodhead is 100% integral to how this team is attacking defenses. I haven't looked at the stats, but his usage rate is insane. When he's on the field, the other team should basically key all 11 dudes on him because God knows Whiz is going to get him the ball. Without him, I have no idea where the team is. He's been absolutely the center of the team's offensive attack, and I shudder to think at what River's numbers would look like throwing more balls to Royal, Gates and Brown (PLEASE MOAR KA AND GREEN). Even if Woodhead isn't actually good enough to be used the way he has been, he's been clearly the most important player on offense.

On defense, I don't care who the MVP is. I don't think the team does either. Based on their gameplans, I'm pretty sure they don't give a rats ass about defense. They take away nothing that a team likes to do, they let their opponents best players beat them using their chosen tactic, and they seem to be averse to using their own players in ways that could allow them to actually succeed. Oh, we have an All Pro penetrating 3-4 DE? Let's make him a 2 gapper. The best overall safety in the world? I think he'd make a great Middle Linebacker, don't you?

Danny Woodhead seems like a stiff competitor to the other players for MVP. It's certainly hard to overlook his contributions. He's been a big part of the offensive success and we've all seen it. So, Lennay Kekua for defensive MVP? Another great argument. To finish off this discussion, Andrew.

Andrew Tschiltsch

Looking literally at the concept of value, I'll go with Keenan Allen as the Offensive MVP so far. Allen is making about $400k this year, but is currently the 15th best wide receiver in the whole league according to PFF. That's great value and if Allen continues to perform at this level (and gets another contract with the Chargers...), I would probably give Telesco a buffer of 3 Buster Davis's before I could get upset with him.

Echoing the sentiment of my colleagues here, I don't think anyone on this defense deserves an award. I suppose I'll be a downer instead and award Defensive Least Valuable Players to the cornerbacks. Of the 107 CB's eligible for PFF rankings, the Chargers have four on the list: Richard Marshall, Johnny Patrick, Derek Cox, and Shareece Wright. The highest ranked Charger CB is Richard Marshall, coming in at #92. Yes, all four Charger cornerbacks rank in the bottom 15% of the league according to PFF. Contribute it to player talent or coaching, either way it's not good.

I am also enamored (football wise) with Allen. That kid is Special. With a capital S. Speaking of letters, I'd love to add a vowel to your last name. I have no idea how to pronounce it. Wade has a silent vowel at the end of his name. Maybe he'd let you have it to make yours less of a challenge. I'm sure it would translate into an Asgardian word synonymous with 'awesome'.

That's all for this Roundtable, thank you all for your contributions. Now let's hear from our readers! Vote for your favorite and leave your comments, BFTB. Also, click on all the twitter buttons and follow the staff. Especially this guy:

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