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Patriots Awards: Most Improved Player

Posted by Albert Breer  January 19, 2010 11:19 AM

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Banta-Cain was able to emerge as the team's best pass-rushing threat (OK, maybe that's not saying much), registering 10 sacks. He struggled in the running game, and had bouts with over-aggression, but like Wright did on the line, Banta-Cain brought something that the team really needed. It should be interesting to see what happens if he does make it to the free-agent market in March.

RB BENJARVUS GREEN-ELLIS: You have to look a little closer to figure this one out ... After all, Green-Ellis is a guy who 26 carries this year after carrying it 74 times as a rookie. Here's why I think this BJGE has made serious progress: He's gotten more and more meaningful snaps as time has gone on, and he's remade himself as a blocker, which isn't easy for someone who really was a pure tailback in college.

When the Patriots brought in a second back to help protect in shotgun sets, it was usually Green-Ellis. When Sammy Morris wasn't the lead fullback in the I, it was Green-Ellis in there. Now, I know that I'll get the numbers tossed back at me here. But the fact that this guy was able to remake himself into that type of player -- and earn enough trust in that regard to be a blitz pick-up guy and protect Tom Brady -- at 215 pounds speaks volumes about the work he's put in.

Yesterday: Comeback Player (Tom Brady)
Today: Most Improved
Tomorrow: Rookie of the Year
January 21: Special Teams Player
January 22: Defensive Player
January 23: Offensive Player
January 24: MVP
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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