Most of the glory and criticism goes to the quarterback position, and the Most Valuable Player award is no different in terms of glory. Here are the quarterback candidates for the 2014-2015 MVP:
Tom Brady usually responds to his counterparts at the helm. This guy is the football version of Kobe Bryant, he’s hungry and out for blood. To start the season, assuming Rob Gronkowski suits up in the first few weeks, Brady has 10 targets at his disposal. Not just guys on the roster, but players that have earned snaps in the rotation without any real threats in the ground game. He’s sacrificed the passing game in years past so the team had a better chance to win, mainly running the football to protect mediocre defenses. This guy got hot late last season even without Gronk, and the plan is to keep everyone in the Brady Bunch fresh as possible. I would go as far to say that Brady is my favorite to win his third MVP this season.
Peyton Manning has basically adopted this award. Coming off a career year that he isn’t likely to top, the legend is the odds-on favorite to win league MVP yet again. If he drops another 40 points per game, nobody else is going to pry the hardware away. Denver will be an elite team again, and it’s because of Manning’s head and arm. If anyone can overcome a tough slate of games, consisting of the 2nd hardest schedule in the league, it’s certainly Manning. I just don’t think they can overcome the loss of Knowshon Moreno, who is one only several backs to top 1,000 yards rushing and 400 receiving, and is an elite pass blocker. Factor in the possible loss of Wes Welker at some point, defenses should find more success playing keep-away against the other side of the ball.
Matt Ryan completed and attempted the most passes of his career a year ago, also completing his 2nd-best percentage yardage total. This came with Julio Jones only suiting p for a handful of games, which meant Tony Gonzalez was double-teamed in every game heading into retirement. Roddy White was there, but he was playing through the nicks and pain. So Ryan eventually zeroed in on Harry Douglas, leading him to his first 1,000-yard receiving season. Atlanta struggled along the line up front and in the backfield, yet Ryan tied his career-high with 7-300-yard efforts. Things couldn’t have gone much worse, which thrusts him into the MVP conversation with a healthy supporting cast, especially if they return to the playoff picture.
Aaron Rodgers has receivers that he’s developed a nice rapport with, you can tell by the amount of back-shoulder completions they execute. What’s even more dangerous is the impact that his running back will have, Eddie Lacy will force defenses to pick their poison this season. Meaning, if you want the ball back, you’re probably going to have to stuff the box and man the wide outs. Rodgers missed half of last season and no the O-line is special, but that freak injury shouldn’t detour his running ability that breaks a defense back when they least expect it. He can totally win his 2nd MVP this year, as he leads the NFC North favorite and probably, a top-4 team in the NFC.
Drew Brees is probably the most dominant quarterback on his home-field. The guy has become one with coach Sean Payton, and they’ve had years of success, including one Lombardi Trophy. The issue is when they travel to other places, that’s when the offense sputters and turns the ball over. If they can get over the psychological part of playing in the cold, despite winning last postseason in Philly, then Brees will re-enter this conversation and the Saints will be contenders again. I think the loss of offensive linemen over the years and going young in the receiving corps could catch up to his performance, their strength just might be the ground game with that 3-headed monster.
Andrew Luck has all the tools and a legitimate arsenal of weapons. It still may be too early for the boy wonder to snag the award, but he should look more comfortable and less sporadic with his college coach calling the plays in Indy now. The AFC South is the Colts division to lose, but even with a favorable schedule the ground game doesn’t pose much of a threat. He rushed for the 3rd most yards on the team, which ranked 6th of all starting quarterbacks heading into the year. That was a memorable comeback victory in KC in the playoffs, we may just see him take the next step and state his case to enter the elite realm of signal callers this season.
Forget the other Quarterbacks
Get out of here with that Russell Wilson and Jay Cutler MVP talk. Hype is one thing, instead I refer to what they’ve shown me on gameday. Things are different when projecting statistics and glancing at the schedule. Wilson did a stellar job managing the champs, but hold your horses because he’s a game manager that runs a lot. He will spread the ball and move the chains, occasionally conencting with Percy Harvin or Jermaine Kearse for a big play. The thing is, the keys to Seattle’s offense despite his contract and retirement situation, belong to Marshawn Lynch. That’s their team MVP. Cutler got all the confidence in the world from the Bears front office and coaching staff, as that contract extension threw everybody’s eggs into one basket. I don’t really want to hear anything about Matthew Stafford until he starts backing up all the good things said about him. Right now he’s like Cutler, has a lot of potential but throwing for yards is all for nothing if you’re turning the ball over. Wilson is a leader, something these two are still trying to prove they are since being handed the assumed role.
Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles
Man oh man, are these backs have it all and are as exciting as any player on the field today. You’re damn right, A.P. is always an MVP candidate if the Minnesota Vikings are in the playoff hunt. We will probably see a career-high for All Day Peterson in catches with Norv Turner calling the shots. Widespread belief favors LeSean McCoy and the Philadelphia Eagles to repeat as NFC East champs, and are possibly a top-4 team in the NFC. Shady is the engine in Chip Kelly’s offense, everyone feeds off of him and that imposing O-line. Jamaal Charles faces the biggest challenge because he literally has to do everything in a life-less offense. That does open Sir Charles up for being used too much and prone to getting banged up, like he did at the end of last season.
Unfortunately, in a passing league that includes amazing receivers, the quarterbacks are going to get the nod in terms of MVP votes. Calvin Johnson got close the past couple seasons, and that’s as close as a receiver will come this season if he balled and topped 2K. We went over 9 players that I consider the true contenders to win Most Valuable Player, likely to be a quarterback. I definitely like Brady to win it. It’s the perfect storm that’s been forming for a few years, the offense has come around. They aired it out in the Randy Moss era, tried to feature the run for a few years, and now they’re as deep as ever. Relying on Brady’s decision-making and arm with the talent they have, is their best way to win games and they have a middle-of-the-road schedule.
Manning is always going to get votes. Ryan is approaching his time frame for glory. Rodgers and Brees appear to be in more of a team-oriented offense, meaning they should lean on the run more than before. That ultimately raises their Super Bowl chances.
The backs are without question, tremendous. I would say that Peterson has the inside track for Offensive Player of the Year. The other two elite backs are going to do much of the same which has been great, but there’s an unknown upside with A.P. being used more in the passing game. He will probably excel in space and on screen plays, giving linebackers an safeties a mismatch they haven’t really seen on tape.