This offseason, the Revenge of the Birds community has nominated and awarded several Arizona Cardinals players for their achievements and play on the field in 2009. So far we've covered four awards(seen below). Last week Adrian Wilson led the pack, earning the Cardinals Defensive Player of the Year award.
Special Teams Player of the Year - LaRod Stephens-Howling
Most Improved Player - Calais Campbell
Rookie of the Year - Beanie Wells
Defensive Player of the Year - Adrian Wilson
The offensive player of the year should go to a player that exhibits leadership skills on and off the field. They need to emotionally challenge each player on offense to play their best on any given down. At the same time, the best offensive player must be clutch, and must make the big plays that the others on offense could not throughout the season.
In 2009, the Cardinals were led by the same supporting cast that went to the Super Bowl the year before, but the plays were called by head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Although they didn't feature the prolific offense they had the year before, Whisenhunt incorporated a run-friendly offense that was still able to score a lot, but did so in a balanced manner. Here are the nominees for offensive player of the year.
Kurt Warner - 3753 yards, 26 TD, 14 INT, 93.2 QB rating
Warner's final year in the league wound up being a successful year - even at the age of 38. Throughout most of the season, Warner was spot-on and continued to be the leader of the offense. For the duration of the season, Warner broke countless records while solidifying himself as a Hall of Fame quarterback if he hadn't already. He threw two - five touchdown games throughout the year - once against the Bears and an amazing performance in the wild card round of the playoffs against the Packers. He directed the Cardinals to a 10 win season and a playoff birth, only to fall short to the eventual champion New Orleans Saints. Although he couldn't get the Cardinals to another Super Bowl appearance, Cardinals fans will be forever in his debt.
Beanie Wells- 793 yards, 7 TD, 4.5 YPC
It may sound odd that both running backs are up for OPOY, but considering the Cardinals offense became more run-based in 2009, it's justified. Perhaps the biggest offseason adjustment last season was when the Cardinals drafted running back Beanie Wells with the 31st overall pick in the draft. Wells immediately became a fan-favorite - with his off field character, and the carnage he would leave on the field. Although Wells didn't eclipse 1,000 rushing yards this past season, he showed glimpses of what his true potential could be. Wells was always a threat to break away a big run, with his dynamic speed, strength, and awareness. It's completely subjective to think that the Cardinals offense wouldn't have been successful without Wells in 2009.
Tim Hightower- 598 yards, 8 TD, 4.2 YPC
The other running back that saw a significant amount of carries in 2009 was Tim Hightower. Tim was entering just his second season as a pro and displayed the mannerisms of a 8-year veteran. It's evident that Edgerrin James did more then sit on the sideline in 2008. He took Hightower under his wing and taught him every piece of his skill set. His new-found skills were showcased in 2009, when there was a noticeable pop in Hightower's step, while his blocking and receiving was elevated to a whole other level. With Hightower running along side Beanie, the Cardinals are set a running back for the near future.
Larry Fitzgerald - 97 rec, 1,092 yards, 13 TD
As long as Larry Fitzgerald is a member of the Arizona Cardinals, he may be mentioned as a candidate for offensive player of the year - every year. He's a leader on the field, and a role model off the field. The Cardinals can depend on him to suit up for every game, and he'll rarely become a distraction. In 2009, Fitzgerald didn't see the success he had the year before, but that's not to say he didn't have a great year. Fitzgerald caught a new career high of 13 touchdowns, made it to the pro bowl, and was the Cardinals leading receiver. His relentless effort game in and game out was something the Cardinals depended heavily on in 2009.
There are you candidates for the Arizona Cardinals offensive player of the year. Who did you vote for and why?
Who is the Arizona Cardinals offensive player of the year?
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