Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt Believes He Was Snubbed
T.J. Watt isn't happy that his best season so far wasn't enough to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the award given to the league's top defensive player for the third time in four seasons, receiving 27 votes from a 50-member national media panel. Watt was second with 20 votes, while Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (three votes) finished third.
Watt led the league in sacks (15) ahead of Donald (13.5), and he also had more quarterback hits and tackles for loss than Donald, despite playing one fewer game. After the results were announced Saturday night, Watt made it clear he felt disrespected.
J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans and Derek Watt of the Steelers also had their brother's back. J.J. Watt has been named Defensive Player the Year three times, so he knows what it takes. While J.J. Watt gave Donald his due for being a great player, he argued that his brother had the better season.
"Aaron Donald is an absolutely incredible player," J.J. Watt wrote on Twitter. "I love watching him play & he's headed to the Hall of Fame without question. This has nothing to do with AD personally. This is me saying what my brother won't. TJ played one less game and STILL led the NFL in every major category."
More Steelers also weighed in to support T.J. Watt's case.
However, Donald also had his supporters on Twitter, including outspoken Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The Steelers aren't scheduled to play the Rams during the 2021 regular season, but Ramsey suggested that Donald would remember that many Steelers questioned his status as the league's top defensive player.
Cleveland Browns: Better Without Odell Beckham Jr*.*? Berry Doesn't Agree
Losing star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in Week 7 did not prevent the Browns from making the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was actually more consistent after Beckham suffered his season-ending knee injury, throwing for 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions after Beckham went on injured reserve.
That has led to speculation that the Browns will consider trading Beckham, who has missed at least nine games in two of his last four seasons. Beckham has two years left on a contract that pays him a reported $13.75 million per season, so dealing him would create more cap flexibility. However, when asked about Beckham during his post-season press conference, General Manager Andrew Berry dismissed the notion that the Browns' offense is better without Beckham.
"I've said multiple times, Odell's a good football player," Berry said. "He acclimated nicely with our program, with (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski), with his teammates. Quite honestly, I just want as many good football players on the roster as possible."
Berry is optimistic that Beckham's offseason rehabilitation will go well, and that having him back in the lineup will add to what the Browns are building.
"You always want to have someone that talented on the field," Berry said. "He is a great player. He is a dynamic weapon. You like having dynamic weapons on the field."
Beckham is also a fan of Stefanski, who was named the NFL's Coach of the Year after his first season on the job. With an 11-5 record, he led the Browns back to the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and beat the Steelers in the postseason.
Cincinnati Bengals: Oddsmakers Don't Like Bengals*'* Super Bowl Chances
Cincinnati is expecting Joe Burrow to make a full recovery from knee surgery, and Head Coach Zac Taylor is getting a third season to continue his rebuild. However, oddsmakers in Las Vegas are not convinced the Bengals will make a major move in 2021 after finishing last in the AFC North the past three seasons.
The Bengals are tied for the NFL's lowest odds to reach the Super Bowl next season at 75-1, according to BetOnline. Despite their loss in Super Bowl LV, the Kansas City Chiefs have the best odds 5-1 and the Ravens are at 20-1.
The Bengals haven't had a winning season since capturing the AFC North in 2015, and they haven't won a playoff game since 1990. The last time Cincinnati reached the Super Bowl following the 1988 season, Taylor was 5 years old. When the Bengals announced that Taylor would return for a third season, he acknowledged in a statement that 2021 would be a key year to prove that Cincinnati is headed in the right direction.
"We are not discouraged, but instead feel motivated and confident that next year will reap the benefits of the work that has been done to date," Taylor said. "We must capitalize on the opportunities in front of us. Next year we will earn our stripes."