At the quarter mark, the San Francisco 49ers are 3-1, relatively healthy, and still considered championship contenders.
Minor road bumps; such as the loss to the Minnesota Vikings, have slightly slowed down the 49ers but pretenders they are not.
After a swift butt kicking by the Vikings in Week 3, the 49ers showed championship mettle by doing the same to the Jets in Week 4.
However, can the 49ers still win on the strength of their running game and defense? Absolutely.
Don’t be fooled folks. Alex Smith has shown he is more than capable of putting this team on his back when such an action must occur.
Smith did it in his playoff match against the New Orleans Saints and he could do it again if he must.
However, even I can’t explain how average he has looked at the quarter mark of the season.
Average in this case doesn’t mean bad, however it sure doesn’t mean good. Just the same ol’, same ole’.
Nevertheless, this article isn’t about Alex Smith and his play. Rather, its about celebrating who has achieved the most at the quarter mark of the season.
Without further ado, here are the quarter mark awards.
1) Defensive MVP: Ray McDonald
Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, and NaVorro Bowman all deserve credit but Ray McDonald is playing at an even higher level.
In all honesty, it truly is hard to pick one player from this defense. They all play so well as a unit.
Selecting one guy from eleven superb starters proved difficult, but McDonald stood out most on tape.
He can rush the passer, stop the run, and is versatile enough to play inside as a defensive tackle.
His true position is at defensive end, but the 49ers have such versatile defensive lineman.
Both Justin Smith and Ray McDonald can play in a 4-3 alignment as defensive tackles, allowing the 49ers to use Aldon Smith at defensive end.
McDonald doesn’t have the same statistics as 3-4 defensive end J.J. Watt but his play has been just as key.
2) Offensive MVP: Vernon Davis
Vernon Davis has turned into the best tight end in football. Statistically speaking, Vernon isn’t leading all tight ends in receptions or yards, but one stat stands out more than the rest.
What is this stat? It’s touchdowns, of course. Davis has scored four touchdowns in the quarter mark of the season, which is good for a three-way tie among the most for tight ends.
Davis is not only a receiving threat, but can also block. Ironically, this was the weakest part of Davis’s game coming out of the University of Maryland.
He has turned a weak point into strength, which is helpful considering this is a run oriented 49ers offense.
3) Rookie MVP: NA
Yes, you read that write. The rookies for the 49ers have contributed little to nothing thus far in the season.
Even more surprising is the lack of playing time for running back LaMichael James.
It was a long shot for James to get playing time with Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter in line, but at least some expected James to make an impact on special teams.
Whatever the case may be, the rookies have not been a disappointment of any magnitude. Simply, they just haven’t received the playing time.