The New England Patriots’ season is nine games old and the reigning world champions, who are currently 8-1, were able to finally enjoy a weekend off before returning to work on Monday. This gives us here at Pats Pulpit time to take a look back and analyze the half-season that was — and hand out same awards along the way. Today, the trophy for Biggest Surprise of the (Half-)Year will be awarded to...
Bernd Buchmasser: The Belichick/Mayo combo
While Bill Belichick is heavily involved with the defense —something you can do when having Josh McDaniels run the offense — the role of Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo cannot be underestimated: the two helped a unit that lost three of four position coaches during the offseason (Belichick being the lone exception) stay on course, and play like the best defense in the NFL through nine weeks.
Oliver Thomas: Jamie Collins Sr.
Midway through May, Collins signed a one-year deal with the organization that drafted and also traded him. The outside linebacker has since started every game for New England while amassing a career-best six sacks and three interceptions, along with a pair of forced fumbles and a touchdown.
Alec Shane: Jamie Collins Sr.
He went from a potential camp cut to better than his first stint with the team and shows no signs of stopping.
Slot Machine Player: The defensive dominance
The dominance of the defense for the first eight games. If they can get the run defense nailed down, they should be able to finish strong.
Matthew Rewinski: Jamie Collins Sr.
Once New England purged the Cleveland Browns from Jamie, turns out he absolutely wasn’t washed and he’s right back to being able to line up anywhere and wreak havoc, which in turn allows Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy to line up anywhere and wreak havoc which... we like a lot around here.
Pat Lane: Joe Thuney
Thuney has been a solid player for the Patriots for a while, but he’s elevated his play this season. The rest of the line has struggled, but Thuney has been consistently dominant all season.
Who gets your vote for Biggest Surprise of the (Half-)Year? Let us know in the comments!
What is the Patriots’ Biggest Surprise of the (Half-)Year?
This poll is closed
The play of the defense
The Belichick/Mayo combo
Other (name in comments)