Now that the remarkable 2006 season is over, it's time to recognize some individual Titans.
As luck would have it, I wrote this up last night to be posted this morning, only to find a similar article in this morning's Tennessean
. The categories and names of the players in both articles are the same in many instances, so all I can do is acknowledge the other article and say I was scooped.
Most Valuable Player - Offense:
Vince Young. Tennessee started the season with five straight losses, but Young was the spark that jump-started the offense after taking over in Week Four. Young led the Titans to four come-from-behind fourth quarter victories and had some spectacular, breathtaking, game-winning plays in a six-game winning streak, as the Titans finished 8-8. Young also won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
: Travis Henry (see below).
Most Valuable Player - Defense:
Chris Hope. The first-year Titan led the team with five interceptions, one for a touchdown, and stabilized the leagues' worst pass defense from a year ago. Hope also contributed with 121 tackles, ten passes defensed, and one fumble recovery.
: Keith Bulluck, who led the team with 143 tackles. Bulluck also had six passes defensed, 2½ sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Most Valuable Player - Special Teams:
Pacman Jones. Jones had four punt returns for touchdowns, one of which was called back for an unnecessary penalty, and led the league in punt return average with 12.9 yards per return. His ability to score and/or flip field position was instrumental in many wins. Pacman also filled in as an occasional kickoff returner, averaging 26.1 yards per return.
: Rob Bironas, who had several game-winning field goals, including one of 60 yards to beat Indianapolis.
Comeback Player of the Year:
Travis Henry. A year after gaining only 335 yards rushing and after a slow start in 2006, Henry made the most of his opportunity once given the chance to start. Henry gained 1,211 yards and had seven touchdowns in 14 games.
: Brandon Jones, who had 27 catches for 384 yards and four TDs, just one year after reconstructive ACL surgery.
Unsung Player of the Year - Offense:
Kevin Mawae, who stabilized the offensive line and was the veteran leader of the offense.
Unsung Player of the Year - Defense:
Kyle Vanden Bosch. KVB's sack numbers were down because of double teams, but he played just as hard, and perhaps better than he did a year ago, when he garnered Pro Bowl honors.
Unsung Player of the Year - Special Teams:
Craig Hentrich. His saves on high snaps were instrumental in the Buffalo win. Hentrich's punting was a key factor in field position and excellent all-around special teams play.
Rookie of the Year - Offense:
Awarded to Ahmard Hall, since Young already won Offensive MVP. A devastating lead blocker, Hall opened many of the holes for Henry and Young to rush through.
Rookie of the Year - Defense:
Cortland Finnegan. A starter at nickelback since the first game, Finnegan impressed with his physical play, registering 70 tackles with seven passes defensed, two sacks, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries, one for a touchdown.