Notice that I didn’t do a First Take/Mike Greenberg style tease with this headline. I didn’t say “Should Xavien Howard be included in DPOY award discussions? The reason is two fold. First, I’m not a hack. Secondly, and I suppose more importantly, there is no question if Xavien Howard should be included when everyone is talking about who should win defensive player of the year. He, unequivocally, belongs in that discussion and there’s a case that he’s the front runner for the award.
The NFL defensive player of the year award gets handed out before the Super Bowl. I have no idea if it’s still slated for that time this year due to that pesky pandemic. Regardless of when it happens, Howard could find himself hoisting that prestigious piece of hardware above his head. There’s five games left to be played giving X-Man(no idea if that’s a real name for him or not) plenty of opportunities to extend his lead for most INTs in the league.
An aspect that doesn’t help Howard’s case for DPOY is that he, currently, isn’t being voted into the Pro-Bowl. I understand that pro-bowl is voted on by the fans and that’s all well and good. But with fan voting you get Alex Caruso from the Lakers getting the more votes than the majority of the guys that made the all star team. With fan voting you get people voting for the funniest look guys not always the most deserving player. As long as you understand that, you shouldn’t get mad.
The Case For Howard
Like I just said, Howard, currently, leads the league in INTs. He has seven INTs, which puts him ahead of eight full teams. If you want to go a little deeper on the amount of INTs he has had over the last few years, take a gander at this fun stat. Quick note; Howard had another INT on Sunday making his career total at 19.
His 19 INTs in four seasons has him hanging around some of the all time greats in terms of interception rates. Not sure about you, but when you start talking about someone’s interception rate, you know you’re talking about a stud.
Xavien Howard has 19 interceptions in 51 games (.37) which is one of the best interceptions per game rates in NFL history. Some greats: Charles Woodson (.26), Ronnie Lott (.33), Rod Woodson (.30), Darrell Green (.18), Deion Sanders (.28), Champ Bailey (.24). Darrell Revis (.20).— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) November 30, 2020
He’s currently tied for second in the league with 15 passes defended while also being third in the league in lowest passer rating allowed by a cornerback with 58.7%.
If you look at last year’s winner, Stephon Gilmore, he had six INTs with 20 passed defended. Even if you’re using the math that kids get taught today, you can see that Howard’s numbers are already better or if you want to be a jerk about it, slightly behind Gilmore’s.
Howard even got the Baldinger treatment this week when he opened up Sam Darnold’s brain and just played around with it.
Of course we all know that Aaron Donald, TJ Watt or Myles Garrett are going to win the award. We’re not dumb. We know how this works. When Donald plays, he physically dominates multiple men and it really is a sight to see. Like Howard, Donald, leads the league in the category that matters most for his position, defensive linemen, with 10.5 sacks.
I’m not going to lie, Aaron Donald is a force that can’t be handled. We saw what he did to Tua and the Dolphins on the second play of the game a month ago, and we see it each and every week as grown men who have dedicated their lives to blocking get completely man-handled like they’re Nate Robinson by Donald.
TJ Watt has nine sacks this year with six passes defended. He’s part of the Watt family and he does make those hilarious, knee slapping Subway commercials meaning everyone knows who he is.
I mentioned Myles Garrett because he is also having a wonderful season. He’s currently a half sack behind Donald and has made his attempted murder on Mason Rudolph a distant memory.
Donald, Garrett and TJ Watt also have Vegas on their side.
Yep, that’s right. As of today, this is the current odds for defensive player of year. No sight of Xavien Howard, the guy who leads the league in INTs. Such a shame.
The main reason why Howard has yet to be included in any DPOY discussions is that he plays on the Miami Dolphins who only have had one prime time game. The public, simply, hasn’t seen him do his thing this year, or any year for that matter so that he can make a statement in front of millions. You’d think with the extra buzz the Dolphins have gotten this year with the arrival of Tua, Tua being thrusted into the starting role unexpectedly, being benched unexpectedly, and you know playing for a potential playoff team, that some hard working NFL writers would look at the rest of the team. But nope. Why do that when we can talk about Taysum Hill running quarterback power or how Russ has to cook?
Hopefully, Howard can get more INTs in the final five games because he’s going to, probably, need four more just get mentioned as a decent NFL defensive player. Best case scenario is that the really good at their jobs folks at Madden find some time from making a garbage game and can up his rating from the, disgraceful, 83 that it’s been. That be a decent win for Howard and the rest of us.
By the Way- Y’all probably won’t believe me but I started writing this at around 4PM on Tuesday and finished it around 5PM. Like I predicted, I got sniped by another Dolphin’s writer, OK, who wrote about this topic. I mention this because, thought I doubt many will believe me, I had this baby finished before that other Dolphin’s writer had his up. Does it matter? Not particularly. I just wanted to try and get ahead of the idea that I lift topics from others. Not my style due to once again, me not being a hack.
Enjoy your Wednesday and Wednesday afternoon football.
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