Front Runner for NFL MVP?

Staff Writers: Harvey Atsma, Kevin Mitchell, Shane Zachos

We have reached over the halfway mark on an incredible and slightly NFL season. There has already been so many exciting moments and for some players…they are having their best year yet. Players on both sides of the ball have been pleading their case to be either Offensive or Defensive Player of the Year and it has been a very tight race. However, everyone in the league is wondering who the leader in terms of the Most Valuable Player award is.

In the past, the majority of the league’s MVP awards have gone to a player at the quarterback position. This year we see a whole new caliber of elite QB’s, Lamar Jackson and Russel Wilson for example. However, as the year has progressed viewers have noticed a non-quarterback position could possibly run away with the award, Christian McCaffery is most popular in this aspect. This year it really has become a tight race whereas last year Patrick Mahomes clearly made his statement throughout the season. One thing is for sure, whoever ends up pulling away with the award this year greatly deserves it.

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What looks like to be the three front runners for this year’s MVP in action. Picture Credit: yahoosports.com

Russell is a Game Wrecker

Staff Writer: Shane Zachos

Starting off is what can be assumed by many to be the leader now, Russell Wilson. Ever since coming into the league in 2012 and got his chance, he blossomed and has never looked back. One thing that you can always get out of Wilson is consistency. He seems to always make plays when his team needs him and there’s no doubt without him behind center the Seattle Seahawks do not have the 10-2 record they have now. Adam Stites, a writer for SBNation thinks Wilson is the clear MVP, “He’s the leader in passing rating by a good margin now.”

Wilson has been showing out against his best competition as well. Earlier this month, he led his offense to a game-winning drive to beat the previously undefeated San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are known for having one of the toughest defenses in the NFL as they are second in both points allowed and total yards allowed (though the first 10 weeks of the season).

That is one of the few MVP moments the athletic, sub 6-foot quarterback drafted out of Wisconsin has had. Another is when he was able to have 5 touchdowns in an incredible overtime win against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Whoever and wherever Wilson plays it just doesn’t seem to affect his amazing play making abilities.

“Russell Wilson does not to only be called elite he needs to be looked upon as the best quarterback in the NFL” Danny Kanell, former QB and current ESPN analyst. There is not another quarterback in the league that has not played a more efficient season so far. He not only leads the league rating, but he also has the most touchdown passes out of any other QB in the league. The crazy thing is even though the Seattle Seahawks throw the ball over 32 times a game, Wilson has managed to only throw four interceptions through 12 games. At this point there is no one that is outplaying Wilson.

The stats are clearly there to give Wilson this award if the season ended right now however, we all know there are still six more games to be played for Wilson and his team. When people think of the definition of the MVP, Wilson fits the name.

Ask yourself this question, if you were to put Russell Wilson on any other team in the NFL how much of an impact would he have. As of right now there is no one that can be compared to how efficient he plays and not to mention how much better he makes his offensive look. He makes a rookie, D.K. Metcalf, look like a veteran receiver. Not to mention, his other top receiver, Tyler Locket, is having his best year as well.

The it-factor thing that pops out when you watch Wilson is his playmaking ability…it is unmatched by any other player in the league. Whenever his team needs a play he delivers, whether it’s dropping a dime to one of his receivers or making something out of nothing with his running ability. Wilson’s athleticism is often overlooked by many defenders but this year he has shown great ability to throw on the run and just rushing overall. Russell has three touchdowns with his legs 12 games through, but his tremendous running ability causes havoc for opposing defenses.

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Wilson communicating with his head coach, Pete Carrol. Picture Credit: Theseattletimes.com

 

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Shaping the Future of the NFL

Staff Writer: Harvey Atsma

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Photo credit: Ravenswire.com Lamar Jackson pre-game vs Miami Dolphins

The 2019 NFL season has been filled with exciting and memorable moments. Lamar Jackson has caught everybody’s attention with his elusive speed at the quarterback position. Spectators were doubting Lamar’s ability to throw the ball and connect with his receivers. Lamar has taken the criticism personally and has proven to everyone that he is a superstar NFL quarterback.

Through the first 12 games, Jackson has thrown for 2,258 yards and 25 touchdowns. Jackson has also been efficient with his completions as he is currently at 66.5 percent completion rate and has thrown 5 interceptions. Jackson has separated himself from all the other NFL quarterbacks in the rushing category. Jackson has 977 rushing yards with seven more scores. He is looking like the perfect model of a dual-threat quarterback.

Lamar Jackson heavily deserves the consideration of being the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. In only his second season, he has proven himself to be an elite quarterback and will only continue to improve. He set to prove to the league his potential this year after only starting seven total games in his first season.  The stats of the first 16 games from a quarterback are in Lamar’s favor. Here are some stats comparing Lamar Jacksons start to some of the other big time NFL quarterbacks. Lamar had 13 wins in first 16 starts compared to Patrick Mahomes’ 12 wins. Lamar had 1,258 yards rushing in 16 games to LaDainian Thomlinson’s 1,236 rushing yards.  Thomlinson turned out to be one of the greatest running backs in the league and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Jackson also has a better passer rating than Tom Brady through his first 16 starts. Brady had a 90.1 rating while Jackson had a 94.4 rating. Jackson managed to have a better completion percentage than the insanely accurate quarterback, Drew Brees, on 63 percent to 61 percent. Lamar also started with more yards per attempt than the one of the NFL’s most respected quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. These stats prove that Lamar Jackson is a franchise quarterback you want on your team and his early success is promising for a Hall of Fame career.

Even with all the stats and accomplishments for Lamar, the most important thing is that he is leading his team to wins. That is what really matters throughout the NFL season. The Ravens are currently 10-2 on the season, which firmly places them first in the AFC North.

We have to give credit to the Ravens defense as they have played phenomenal this year. The Ravens currently possess a Top 10 defense in both points per game (5th) and yards per game (9th). Not to mention they have beaten some of the league’s best teams. For example, they beat the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks in back-to-back weeks. Then throughout the next two weeks proceeded to destroy both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans. They followed those two wins with a win against the San Francisco 49ers with a 17-14 victory in the rain on December 1.

Lamar Jackson is very comparable to the way Michael Vick used to play in his prime. Vick himself has been impressed by Jacksons skill and said, “He’s throwing touchdowns. You’re getting them through the air; you’re getting them on the ground. He’s making guys miss. He’s elusive. That’s everything I was when I was at Virginia Tech. And I was able to put together games where I was productive, and we won.” If Lamar can keep up his efforts and continue to stay healthy and produce wins for his team, he will have a much greater career than the great Michael Vick.

Many critics were believing Lamar shouldn’t be an NFL quarterback and should switch to another skill position. Lamar Jackson has proven them all wrong and will continue to stay as one of the league’s best quarterbacks. Lamar grabbed people’s attention in his first game of the season against the Miami Dolphins. Jackson unexpectedly stayed in the pocket most of the game, which led him to throw for 324 yards and 5 touchdowns with 17 completed passes out of 20 thrown.

Fans were most likely expecting Jackson to use his best part of the game, which is his rushing ability, but he only had 6 yards on 3 carries. Lamar Jackson stated, “I hate running. Only if I have to, but my job is to get the ball to the receivers, the tight ends, running backs. If I have to run, I’ll do it, but I’d rather just sit back and pass it. I like throwing touchdowns instead of running them.”  Lamar wanted to prove he had more to offer at quarterback than just running the ball. He has currently refined his skills into an explosive and elusive NFL quarterback.

Voters are going to have some tough choices in picking this year’s MVP. Even with Lamar Jackson playing at a historic pace, he still might not win the award. However, there are still more games for these special athletes to show off their skills and prove to the league that they are the best. In my opinion, Lamar is about to change the way younger quarterbacks will play the game. They will look at their role model, Lamar Jackson, and be determined to play with his confidence and elusiveness.

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Photo credit: Forbes.com Lamar Jackson throwing a stiff arm to Chargers safety, Derwin James.

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The Perfect NFL Running Back

Staff Writer: Kevin Mitchell

Christian McCaffrey is the most elusive running back in the NFL and debatably the best running back in the league. With the loss of his quarterback, Cam Newton, McCaffrey has shown in the past weeks that he can show out without the main quarterback being present. At the end of last season, he ended up with 1,965 total yards and 13 touchdowns.

This year, Christian is well on his way to setting his best yardage season with 1,811 total yards and 16 scores through 12 games. Leading the league in yards as a running back, it is only expected that he will end up winning the MVP award this year.

Many want to compare McCaffrey to Dalvin Cook who is second in the league in yards, but there is no comparison. When people think about the Carolina Panthers, he is the face of the brand now that Newton is out. Many are focused on the quarterbacks of the league like Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson, and yes, these quarterbacks do deserve props for how they have played in the past few weeks of the NFL season, but you cannot sleep on Christian McCaffrey. It will be interesting to see how these next few weeks of the NFL playout as the race for MVP heats up.

“For McCaffery, whatever this season may result in for the Panthers, there is no denying the type of year he has put together. He’s breaking every record in sight, and Thursday, it was announced that he now has a 99 overall rating in the Madden video game, which broke another record — he’s the youngest player to ever reach a 99 (Alania Getzenberg for The News and Observer).”

A 99 in a video game may not mean much to most but for players in the NFL it means a lot. Not only does it help with his case for winning the MVP, but it also proves that he is one of the best running backs in the league right now. Breaking records almost every game and setting new records of his own and then when you think about the fact that we are only a bit over the halfway mark of the season there is no denying that he will be a huge impact for the MVP vote.

There is not one running back in the league that can do what McCaffrey does. People doubted his skill from the beginning and many more considered him one of the worst running backs in the league. He proved them wrong within the first few games. He put his head down and put in the work and it payed off for him because he was able to prove every doubter wrong by setting records, scoring touchdowns, and leading in yards.

Personally, McCaffrey is the easy choice for MVP. Just from the first weeks you can tell that he will show out the rest because all he can do is go up from here and that’s what is going to happen in the closing weeks of the NFL. Christian is also one of the only All-Pro players on the Panthers beside Kuechly. The rest of this season is going to be amazing for Christian McCaffrey setting new records and of course winning MVP this year.

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Christian McCaffrey on the run for a touchdown at the Panthers Stadium. Photo credit: Sports Illustrated.com

 

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