New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees didn’t throw for a new NFL single season passing yardage record, eclipsing Dan Marino’s 1984 mark, with 5,476 yards this season without good blocking from his offensive line.
Because of this stellar performance New Orleans offensive line — consisting of Jermon Bushrod, Carl Nicks, Brian De La Puente, Jahri Evans, and Zach Strief — have been named the 2011 Madden Most Valuable Protectors.
The award highlights the NFL’s best offensive line, judging them by many variables that include sacks allowed, hits allowed, total rushing yards, and rush power success.
In most all these measurables New Orleans offensive line excelled, allowing only 24 total sacks in 2011 (2nd in the NFL) while helping the offense achieve a sixth ranked rush attack (132.9 ypg) and a combined 4.9 yards per carry average.
Other finalists included the Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, and the New England Patriots, who were last seasons winner, but the Saints selection marks their second in the last three years — winning in 2009 after their Super Bowl victory.
Currently three members of the offensive line are in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.
Evans and Nicks will be starting for the NFC squad at guard, while Bushrod is an alternate at left tackle behind the Eagles Jason Peters and the 49ers Joe Staley.
Drew Brees is also there, as is tight end Jimmy Graham, to round out the five players the Saints sent to the Pro Bowl this season.
For the first time ever the league will have an awards show,”NFL Honors”, which will be hosted by Alec Baldwin who will lead the festivities and hand out the awards — including the MVP award — in front of current and former NFL stars.