The Jacksonville Jaguars enter this weekend’s bye as one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They’re in the midst of a five-game win streak (longest active streak) and hold a commanding lead atop the AFC South.
It hasn’t always been pretty, but they’ve put themselves in a great position as we enter the second half of the 2023 season. Before we look ahead to what’s to come, let’s hand out some midseason awards to celebrate some terrific performances to this point.
Rookie of the Year
In a landslide victory, Anton Harrison gets the nod here for Rookie of the Year honors at the midway point. Harrison has far and away been the most impactful rookie this season for Jacksonville, as he’s logged nearly as many snaps (569) as the rest of the Jags’ 2023 NFL Draft class have combined (585).
While his play has been up and down, the young right tackle has shown more than enough flashes that should have fans feeling excited about his potential impact moving forward.
Anton Harrison rolling up the DB on the screen then knocking him down a second time for good measure pic.twitter.com/7q5FOFrMUD— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) October 19, 2023
Coach of the Year
While Doug Pederson is more than deserving of this one, the Coach of the Year award to this point goes to Mike Caldwell. In his second year as the team’s defensive coordinator, Caldwell has developed his unit into one of the most opportunistic in the NFL. They currently lead the league in takeaways with 18 and have allowed the fewest explosive plays to opposing offenses this season.
Explosive plays allowed through 8 weeks of the season pic.twitter.com/Fie2LsVvew— Arjun Menon (@arjunmenon100) October 31, 2023
On top of that, Caldwell’s development of his young players is really starting to shine. Andre Cisco, Devin Lloyd, and Travon Walker have all taken steps forward this season, while Chad Muma and Montaric Brown have also flashed when called upon.
There is a lot to be excited about moving forward with this defense and Mike Caldwell is a huge reason why.
Defensive Player of the Year
Not only are Josh Allen and Darious Williams both deserving of the Jags midseason Defensive Player of the Year award, but these two are legitimately playing at an NFL DPOY level right now. Allen is third in the league in sacks with 9, while Williams has been PFF’s highest-graded corner through eight weeks.
Darious Williams: highest-graded CB in the NFL this season - 85.5 pic.twitter.com/X9bdWIKTq6— PFF JAX Jaguars (@PFF_Jaguars) November 2, 2023
If these two continue this level of play the rest of the season, we could be looking at the Jags having two All-Pro players on defense for the first time since Calais Campbell and Jalen Ramsey back in 2017.
Offensive Player of the Year
The year-three Travis Etienne leap has been a thrill to watch this season. Through eight weeks, Etienne is fourth in the NFL in rushing yards, third in touchdowns, and second in receiving yards from a running back. He currently leads the NFL in touches with 178. His splash plays have also proven to have a significant impact on the outcome of games, as the team is 4-0 in contests in which Etienne had a 20-plus yard gain (has had six such plays).
While plenty can be said of the sustainability of his workload to this point, there is no denying the impact Travis Etienne has had on this offense this season.
Box score watchers be damned, Trevor Lawrence is the easy choice as the Jacksonville Jaguars MVP at the halfway point of the season. While some in the national media will point to Lawrence’s modest touchdown total as a means to say he’s been disappointing, nothing could be further from the truth.
Lawrence has taken his game to the next level in 2023, showing complete control of the offense while making significant strides as a processor and downfield thrower.
Trevor Lawrence: The best deep ball passer this season pic.twitter.com/AwROn1OupF— PFF (@PFF) November 1, 2023
His command of the game is just getting better and better as the weeks pass, which should lead to a huge second half of the 2023 season for Trevor Lawrence and a Jacksonville Jaguars offense that is just scratching the surface of their potential.
Who would you choose for these awards, Jags fans?