Before continuing on with the player of the year awards, let's take a quick look at who has won so far. Patrick Peterson was voted by the community as the rookie of the year. Larry Fitzgerald was named offensive player of the year, garnering over 90% of the vote for obvious reasons. And lastly, Calais Campbell was voted as the favorite for defensive player of the year, with Daryl Washington coming in second place.
Now, let's look at some of the nominees for the Comeback Player of the Year. After the jump, I'll give you not only the names of some of the players, but also why they are in position to win this award.
After struggling during the 2010 season, Wells looked like a completely renewed player in 2011. With Tim Hightower being shipped off to Washington, Wells was now set to be the starting premiere back for the Cardinals offense. He took the opportunity by storm, rushing for over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. Also, he started a total of 14 games, the most in his career.
Beanie only started twice in 2010 and rushed for a mere 397 yards. Despite getting injured yet again in 2011, he played through the pain and helped his team toward an 8-8 record. He looked like an integral piece to this team and without him, this season could have been far more disastrous than it turned out to be.
Doucet has been a player that has had to deal with injuries constantly in his young career. In 2010, he played in 10 games and had 26 receptions for 291 yards. As far as this past season goes, Early was able to play in every single game for Arizona and was an effective receiver every time he stepped on the field.
Doucet showed flashes of being the big, bruising receiver that the Cardinals can use in the slot or on the outside, much like they did when Anquan Boldin was in town. His production was unlike that of any year he has had as a pro so far. Doucet had 54 receptions and 689 yards receiving in 2011, as well as five touchdown catches. Before this year, he only had two touchdown catches total. A rejuvenated Early Doucet proved to be a huge addition to a team that was looking for young talent to take pressure off of Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald.
When simply looking at Wilson's numbers, one may tend to think that he had a better season in 2010 than he did in 2011. But as Cardinals fans know, A-Dub was dealing with an abdominal strain throughout much of 2010 and it seemed to have severely limited his play on the field. He was not as effective near the line of scrimmage (where he has always made his living) and his play in coverage was rather poor.
In 2011, Wilson came out with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove to the doubters that thought he had lost a step. Not only did he play through a torn biceps muscle, but he looked like the A-Dub of old while doing so. For his efforts, Wilson will be heading to Hawaii as an NFC Pro Bowl starting safety for the sixth time in his career.
Choosing from these three players, I would give the Comeback Player of the Year award to Beanie Wells. Not only did he play through injury, but his numbers improved drastically from his subpar 2010 season. He was forced to be the sole every down back in the arsenal for the Cardinals and he still had a stellar season.
Who do you think should win the Comeback Player of the Year award? Leave your comment below and don't forget to vote in the poll.