Matthew Stafford is an MVP candidate
By: Tayyib Abu
The quarterback position is the most critical spot on a football team. As a result, no position gets more headlines than the players under center. With the level of importance and scrutiny surrounding quarterbacks, it is no surprise that the MVP award is almost exclusively given to signal-callers only.
In the last decade, only one non-quarterback has won the MVP award. Suffice to say; it is virtually a foregone conclusion that the 2021 NFL MVP will be a quarterback. Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen and Tom Brady will come into the season as the favoured names. But, who are the dark horses that could spring a surprise? It’s time to take a look.
Matthew Stafford – Los Angeles Rams
After 12 years as a Detroit Lion, Matthew Stafford heads west searching for gold. The veteran gunslinger teaming up with offensive guru Sean Mcvay is one of the fascinating storylines to follow in 2021.
Despite his recent injury issues, Stafford is still an elite quarterback. He posted a 68.4 QBR in 2021, the best of his career. After Matt Patricia got fired, Stafford reverted to his flamethrowing, gunslinging best. However, he meshed it with veteran instincts; Stafford is no longer the reckless youngster.
His NextGen passing chart for 2020 displayed Stafford’s passing in short and intermediate areas was above average; his passing in the deep third of the field was elite. That is why Stafford is now a Los Angeles Ram.
Giving Stafford a working running game with strong play-action should suit Stafford. The former Georgia Bulldog is a brilliant tight-window thrower; if Mcvay can open throwing windows for Stafford, the quarterback will excel. Pair that with a relentless desire to prove everyone wrong, and Stafford could shine in Hollywood.
Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
Injury cut short Dak Prescott’s 2020 season. The Dallas Cowboy was playing at a career level before his season finished abruptly. Despite his injury, Prescott should come back with a vengeance in 2021. With the weapons at wideout and an intelligent coordinator in Kellen Moore, Prescott could wreak havoc on defences.
Prescott shed the game-manager reputation in 2020; he demonstrated an aggressive mindset as he threw the ball deep and accurately. In just five games, Prescott’s intended-air yards was a massive 1762 yards. His total yardage after five games was 1856 yards.
His relationship with Moore is developing, the Dallas offensive line is still solid despite its age, and Ezekiel Elliott can get back to an average level. The Cowboys offence boasts many exciting weapons; Dak Prescott is the perfect leader and player to extract the best from the talent available to him.
America’s Team has always needed a figurehead, a returning Dak Prescott ready to let rip is the perfect man to lead Dallas as the Cowboys push for a divisional title. Cowboy nations hopes will rest on Prescott’s shoulders. The ex-Mississippi State player will relish the role of the underdog as everyone talks about Washington.
Ryan Tannehill – Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill’s redemption story could get another glorious chapter if the Titans quarterback won an MVP award. After his struggles in Miami, Tannehill now looks like a changed man in Nashville. Now, it is essential to stress that Tennesee’s headline attraction on offence is Derrick Henry. That won’t change in 2021, although Julio Jones’s addition suggests that Tennessee will lean on the passing game a bit more.
Tannehill enjoyed a career year in QBR; the veteran signal-caller is now a bonafide top tier quarterback. Tannehill is an intelligent passer with a strong arm; now, he gets an elite wide receiver to help him. Taylor Lewan is returning, a dominant running game, and Julio Jones, Tannehill, could get even better.
It’s time for Tannehill to take another step. It is unfair to expect Derrick Henry to shoulder the burden yet again, specifically if Tennessee wishes to make a playoff run. Tannehill has shown year-on-year improvement in Nashville; if he does it again, the Titans could be even better. Iron sharpens iron, the fierce competition that the Colts will provide could unlock another gear from Tannehill.