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BTB Bye Week Awards: Offensive, defensive, and overall MVPs plus rookie standouts so far

We are handing out awards to Cowboys players for their outstanding work so far in the 2022 season.

Chicago Bears v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

An NFL season is often like swimming. You take a deep breath before plunging underwater and moving for a bit, but eventually you need to come up for air to breathe again before you submerge yourself once more.

With the Dallas Cowboys on their annual bye this week, it is their first real chance to come up for some much-needed air. They will have another little reprieve after Thanksgiving Day since unlike normal years they are not playing on the Thursday after and they will have yet another when they play on Thursday Night Football at Tennessee in the penultimate week of the regular season.

Of course, neither of those post-Thursday opportunities offer the same opportunity for rest and rehabilitation that the bye week does. While the bye is important as far as getting a week off from a physically taxing game it often tends to fall around this time of year which is a midpoint of sorts on the season.

Since this happens to be the case with eight games played and nine remaining for Dallas, we took it upon ourselves to assess what the group has done so far this year and hand out some awards. BTB staffers were asked to fill out a sheet answering a handful of accolades: Special Teams Player of the Year (so far), the same on both offense and defense, rookies of the year on each side of the ball so far, the most improved player, and of course Team MVP.

All told 12 people from throughout the BTB universe offered their input, but six of us had an open discussion about it all on Tuesday’s BTB Roundtable. You can watch the episode up above.

2022 BTB Bye Week Awards

Down below (scroll if you must, but patience is a virtue!) we have included a table with everyone’s votes on this particular ballot, but votes are cast to decide a winner in most cases and in the spirit of that we wanted to list consensus winners before we move any further.

Remember that there are no wrong answers here. The fact that we can so painstakingly debate how one Cowboys player is ahead of another is representative of just how good this team has been so far this season. We have kept you waiting long enough.

Special Teams MVP: Brett Maher

Offensive Rookie: Tyler Smith

Defensive Rookie: Sam Williams

Most Improved Player: Dorance Armstrong

Defensive Player: Micah Parsons

Offensive Player: Tony Pollard

Team MVP: Micah Parsons

Remember that these are consensus results so if you would like to see how everyone voted please continue on.

Here is how everyone voted on the 2022 BTB Bye Week Awards

2022 BTB Bye Week Awards

BTB Bye Week Awards RJ Ochoa Tony Tom Dave Brian Aidan Sean Howman Danny Matt H Jess N. Brandon C
BTB Bye Week Awards RJ Ochoa Tony Tom Dave Brian Aidan Sean Howman Danny Matt H Jess N. Brandon C
Special teams MVP Brett Maher Brett Maher Brett Maher Brett Maher Brett Maher Brett Maher Brett Maher Matt Overton Money Maher Brett Maher KaVontae Turpin Brett Maher
Offensive Rookie Tyler Smith Tyler Smith Tyler Smith Tyler Smith Tyler Smith Tyler Smith Tyler Smith Jake Ferguson Tyler Smith Tyler Smith Tyler Smith Tyler Smith
Defensive Rookie Sam Williams Sam Williams Sam Williams Sam Williams DaRon Bland Sam Williams Daron Bland Sam Williams Sam Williams DaRon Bland DaRon Bland Sam Williams
Most Improved Player Dorance Armstrong Noah Brown Dorance Armstrong Dorance Armstrong Dorance Armstrong Terence Steele Dorance Armstrong Trevon Diggs Noah Brown Dorance Armstrong Brett Maher Dorance Armstrong
Defensive Player Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Trevon Diggs Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Micah Parsons
Offensive Player Tony Pollard Tony Pollard Dak Prescott Tony Pollard Tony Pollard Tony Pollard Tony Pollard Dak Prescott Tony Pollard Zack Martin Ezekiel Elliott Tony Pollard
Team MVP Micah Parsons Micah Parsons The O line Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Mike McCarthy Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Micah Parsons Dak Prescott Micah Parsons

BTB Staff Input

As mentioned at the very top we ran through these awards at length on Tuesday’s BTB Roundtable and if you are curious which staffers were on that episode they were Tony Catalina, Tom Ryle, Danny Phantom, David Howman, Brandon Clements, and myself. Obviously though we have 12 total ballots cast which means not everyone gave their input in that manner.

A handful of BTBers offered an overall assessment of how they voted.

Tom Ryle

Some of these are obvious, like Micah Parsons as defensive MVP and both the rookie awards. But others are not so easy. Brett Maher got my nod for ST, because he has done so much more. KaVontae Turpin is a constant threat, but hasn’t been able to do as much as we had hoped. Dorance Armstrong has been so much better than I hoped he would. I put the O line down as the team MVP because they have done so well in the past few weeks and were just fantastic against the Bears. The most controversial is Dak as the offensive MVP, but the way the offense came alive against Chicago proved to me how crucial he is to this team and how they will go as far as he can lead them.

Aidan Davis

Most of these selections were easy to make. Clearly, Parsons is the best player on the defense, Dallas’ first two draft picks from 2022 have showed promise, and Pollard brought the explosive plays when the team needed it most. However, there are two selections that must be discussed. If you feel as though the offensive line has played better than you expected, that is in large part due to Terence Steele. He has anchored the right tackle position when many anticipated him struggling in the starting role. And on the topic of outperforming expectations, McCarthy deserves his flowers. Faced with a roster that many believe is worse than 2021, losing his franchise QB in week one, and then going up against both Super Bowl teams from last season, he has the Cowboys at 6-2. Parsons has been near perfect, and he is a large reason they have been winning. But what McCarthy has done this season deserves proper recognition.

David Howman

Micah Parsons has been unreal all year so naturally he gets MVP and DPOY of the team so far. Dak Prescott has elevated this offense so much in just two games since his return. Matt Overton is my special teams MVP because long snapper issues could have derailed the season for both Brett Maher and Bryan Anger but Overton has been a paragon of consistency so far.As for the rookies, Tyler Smith has looked solid but he’s struggled too much in pass pro to top Jake Ferguson, who has done pretty much everything asked of him. Sam Williams has been nails in his limited opportunities thus far. And Trevon Diggs has seriously cleaned up his coverage techniques this year, along with his tackling, to become a complete corner after giving up too many yards last year.

Brian Martin

As far as bye week/midseason awards go, I believe my selections are pretty self-explanatory for the most part. “Money” Maher, Tyler Smith, Tony Pollard, and Micah Parsons (def./Team MVP) are no-brainers for their chosen awards in my opinion. As far as the others, I went with Dorance Armstrong as the Most Improved Player because he’s made Randy Gregory a complete afterthought and DeRon Bland over Sam Williams for Defensive Rookie because I believe the position he plays is tougher and in his two starts as Jourdan Lewis’ replacement there hasn’t been any drop-off in play.

Jess Nevarez

Special teams MVP- KaVontae Turpin because he is a difference maker in field position as well as being a league leader within his first season is huge. Turpin Time is all the time!

Offensive Rookie- Tyler Smith because he stepped up when needed before the start of the season. He has become a coachable player who takes critiques and accountability to get better. This guy is something special.

Defensive Rookie- DaRon Bland because he is anything BUT Bland! Bland continues to be a threat to offenses with coverage, and steps up to the occasion when needed. A star in the making!

Most Improved Player- Brett Maher because what a difference from his 2018-2019 season to the Cowboys to now. Brett is a large part why the Cowboys have won some of their early games this season. He is consistent and has quickly become a staple for the Cowboys.

Defensive Player- Micah Parsons... enough said because it’s Micah Parsons. Hard to believe that this guy is barely in year 2 of his career with how much of an impact player he is.

Offensive Player- Ezekiel Elliott has been a constant driving force for the Cowboys week in and week out. He has grit that wears out defenses. He also looks like a rookie version of himself this season, which is so exciting to watch!

Team MVP- Dak Prescott because despite not playing he still remained a leader for the team. From being on the sideline of every game, to handing out water bottles at practice, and everything in between. He has been present and was a key part of why the team continued to be successful even when he wasn’t playing. He is just getting started, the best has yet to come for him this season.

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