The 2016 NFL season provided us with a variety of individual performances worthy of the MVP award. A few have been the usual suspects like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. Others, like the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan or Oakland Raiders’ Derek Carr burst into the conversation unexpectedly with breakout seasons.
However, there wasn’t any one player that established themselves at the clear-cut, number one option for the honor. So, with the playoffs set to begin on Saturday and voters pondering the year-end awards races, the question remains. Who should be the NFL MVP?
“I think I would go with Derek Carr,” said CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence show. “You can make the case for a lot of guys and it’s not like I feel like I would have to stand on the mountaintops and shout it. You could convince me Tom Brady, you could convince me Matt Ryan, you could convince me Aaron Rodgers and you could make a compelling case and I would say I agree. They’re very viable and if you went that way I’d understand.”
“Personally, I just look at sort of the whole infrastructure (in Oakland) and where they were. I know this is a single-season award but, where they were even two years ago and where they were coming into this year,” said La Canfora. “I think Jack Del Rio deserves to be the coach of the year this year, but it’s not like people run around saying that Jack Del Rio is the most innovative coach in the world. His coordinator is Bill Musgrave, a guy who’s been recycled and reshuffled and fired and re-hired all over the place. He’s not a guy that every team in the league wants to talk to right now like a Kyle Shanahan or like a Josh McDaniels. The run game was hit or miss for a big part of the year and Latavius Murray, who I think is a really good back, was hurt quite a bit especially in the first half. All everybody said every week is how can this team win with this defense. It was really coming down to Derek Carr having to win games. He was literally the best player on the field most games he played. And, he did it in the toughest division in football, with no expectations, without a winning culture or infrastructure. He did it in many ways single-handedly and he did it in the fourth quarter repeatedly when it mattered most. That’s why I would lean towards him.”
The Raiders now enter the playoffs without Carr following his injury in Week 16, but they seem to be in pretty good shape for the coming years with Carr settled in as the franchise quarterback. Their AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos, enter their offseason after missing the playoffs with questions about their quarterback situation and looking for a new head coach in the wake of Gary Kubiak’s surprise resignation.
However, according to La Canfora, Broncos general manager John Elway has a couple of candidates already in his sights to take over the reins of the team.
“Elway’s got a pretty good idea here. This didn’t catch him entirely by surprise he’d known for a few weeks now that Gary Kubiak was at least considering making a lifestyle change at the end of the year or making a career change,” said La Canfora. “I think it’s really two people. It’s Kyle Shanahan and Vance Joseph. I’d be stunned if one of those two is not the next head coach of the Denver Broncos and I think it will be Vance Joseph the defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins. He may have been the coach there two years ago had Elway not been able to talk Kubiak into the job at that time.”