Golden: This NFL season, Rams horn in on annual Ceddys


The NFL regular season is complete, and we witnessed one crazy season of tackle football.

Now, enjoy the latest edition of the Ceddys, which recognize the best and worst of the 2017 season.

Best offensive player: Todd Gurley. He put that sophomore jinx in the rear view mirror with 1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns. He should edge out Tom Brady, Le’Veon Bell, and Carson Wentz for the MVP.

Best defensive player: Aaron Donald, Rams. How about 11 sacks from an interior lineman? Donald’s what Ndamukong Suh should be. The best disruptor in football also forced five forced fumbles and totaled 91 QB pressures. He should win defensive POY over Jacksonville corner Jalen Ramsey and Jags end Calais Campbell.

Biggest reach: Jon Gruden as a slam dunk with the Raiders. After he won Super Bowl XXXVII with Tampa Bay, Chucky was 45-51 over his final five NFL seasons with zero playoff wins. Over the same span, the Bucs’ offense never ranked higher than 18th in the league. Gruden could flop faster than a short stack of Aunt Jemima’s.

Worst vendetta: Jerry Jones vs. NFL commish Roger Goodell. It’s a modern Dallas version of J.R. Ewing vs. Cliff Barnes. Maybe Jerry will start wearing cowboy hats and drinking bourbon and branch at the Oil Barons Club. Ol’ J.R. would be proud.

Worst PR problem: Take your pick. Whether it’s the outcry about protesting during the national anthem, declining attendance and falling television ratings, CTE, Jerry’s hatred of Goodell, sexual harassment allegations or being blamed for Papa John’s dropoff in sales, the league has some real off-the-field issues to combat.

Team on the rise: San Francisco. Coach Kyle Shanahan knows offense and the Texas ex is already making sweet music with his new QB. The Niners traded New England a second-round draft pick for 26-year-old Jimmy Garoppolo, who promptly led San Francisco to five straight wins to end the season, including victories over three teams participating in the upcoming playoffs.

Team in decline: Seattle. The Legion of Boom is dying a quick death. Richard Sherman is approaching 30 years of age after tearing an Achilles’ tendon, and Kam Chancellor may retire because of that neck injury. Plus safety Earl Thomas all but begged Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to bring him to Dallas.

Best job security beyond Bill Belichick: Marvin Lewis. He has an 0-7 postseason record in 15 seasons in Cincinnati yet the Bengals saw fit to give him a two-year contract extension. Meanwhile, Jim Caldwell averaged nine wins over four seasons in Detroit, swept Green Bay this season and got fired.

Best ‘Did you know?’: New Orleans running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram both are listed at 215 pounds. Is it me or does Ingram look 30 pounds heavier than AK?

Biggest surprise: Case Keenum, Vikings. After Keenum’s stops in Houston and St. Louis, who would have thought he would be at the helm of a Super Bowl contender? Sam Bradford is back from that knee injury, but I doubt Vikings coach Mike Zimmer would mess with the momentum this offense has built under Keenum.

Comeback player of the year: Keenan Allen. The Los Angeles Chargers wideout was limited to nine games over the past two seasons because of injuries, but he turned in a career year in 2017 with 102 catches for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns.

Breakout star: Adam Thielen. In his third year with the Vikings, Thielen caught 91 passes. That’s two more than he caught in his first three seasons combined.

Best young coach: Sean McVay. Rams fans feel as though they went to heaven after McVeigh led the franchise to a 12-4 finish and its first division title since 2004. His predecessor, Jeff Fisher, never won more than seven games in any of his five seasons.

Best upside: Myles Garrett. The Browns’ defensive end missed six games because of injury but registered seven sacks in the other 10 games. If the former A&M star puts together a healthy campaign, he will be a monster.

Best gesture: The Buffalo Bills sent a cool note with promises of wings to the Cincinnati Bengals after Cincy’s victory over Baltimore knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs and pushed Buffalo into the postseason. More important was the scores of donations from Buffalo that were made to Bengals QB Andy Dalton’s charity in appreciation.

Least appreciated franchise player: Kirk Cousins. There’s nothing wrong with that $20 annual salary, but what does a brother have to do to get some guaranteed Franklins from the Redskins?

Two Texas exes to watch: Adrian Colbert and Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco. Colbert couldn’t crack the full-time rotation with the Longhorns so he transferred to Miami and became an All-ACC performer. Now he’s starting in the NFL. Goodwin, an Olympic long jumper, led the Niners in receiving yards this season with 962.

Worst choke: Big Ben’s fake spike against the Patriots led to an interception and cost the Steelers home field throughout the playoffs. Fake spike originator Dan Marino turned over his grave and he’s not even dead yet.



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