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Pre-Week 17 WP: Awards Banquet

This week at the Washington Post, I hand out my 2015 awards, including my thoughts on the Carson Palmer/Cam Newton debate.

Most Valuable Player: Tie (Cam NewtonCarson Palmer)

Choosing between Newton and Palmer is an exercise in pickin’ nits. The two have drastically different styles and playing in very different offenses, making it difficult to compare the two players. Arizona would be worse with Cam Newton, and Carolina would be worse with Carson Palmer, so both teams should be happy that they have the co-most valuable players of the 2015 season.

You can read the full article here.

As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments. One point to open up the discussion. Is declaring the MVP vote a tie akin to fence-sitting and worthy of criticism? Or does it make sense to acknowledge that football is a far too complicated game to try to derive meaningful bits of information out of minute differences?

  • Corey

    I don’t like the tie vote. Your rationale seems like an objection to the concept of naming an MVP in the first place, rather than deciding between two contenders. I think it’s inconsistent to argue a) Palmer/Newton are clearly ahead of everyone else, but b) the difference between Palmer/Newton can’t be determined. Why doesn’t the “it’s a complicated game” rationale apply to Tom Brady’s case vis-a-vis Palmer/Newton, or Russell Wilson’s?

    Something to keep in mind with Palmer/Newton and Rivera/Arians is schedule strength. Arizona’s SOS on offense is 21st by DVOA; Carolina is 32nd. Arizona’s overall schedule has been 18th hardest; Carolina’s 31st.

    • Fair points. I do think Palmer and Newton have stood out a bit above Brady/WIlson, but that’s just me. Palmer has had this incredible statistical year, while Newton has this this remarkably unique year. I think a lot of it, for me, comes down to not thinking any other QB gets Carolina to 14 wins, or any other QB gets Arizona to 13 wins. As good as Newton has been, I certainly don’t think the Cards are 13-2 if Cam is their QB. Or 2015 Brady.

  • I’m not crazy about the tie, but I don’t think it’s a big deal. I’m surprised you chose Jameis Winston as OROY, though. Winston has been a pretty average QB, whereas Todd Gurley has been a standout RB. Hell, what about David Johnson or Amari Cooper? You even admit that “Gurley has been better at his position”, then rationalize your choice based on … Tampa’s team results? What have you done with the real Chase Stuart?

    • Ha! Well, I do think Gurley has been better at his position, but it’s not at all uncommon for rookie running backs to do well. Right now, Gurley ranks 42nd in rushing yards by a rookie since the merger. Even on a per-game basis, he’s only 21st.

      Among QBs with 200 pass attempts and 8 starts, WInston ranks 7th in ANY/A+, and 6th if you exclude Jim Kelly. Now the 5 ahead of him were quite a bit better — Marino, RG3, Ben, Ryan, Wilson — but it does put into context how good Winston has been. And he’s done it for a passing attack that was garbage last year, and he’s done it with a lot of air yards. I don’t judge QBs by wins, but I think Winston does deserve some credit for the team’s jump from 2-14 to 6-9. Vincent Jackson and ASF have basically combined to miss one full season, so Winston has not been working with much else other than Mike Evans (and Jackson/ASW have hardly been great while healthy).

      I also thought Winston would be bad this year, so perhaps that is biasing my view. He is outperforming his expectations, so I am more impressive than most, I guess. But I think it’s clear that Winston has been better than even the average good rookie QB, while Gurley has basically been the average good rookie RB or slightly better. He’s had more highs (five games with 125+ rushing yards) but he’s missed 2 games (and might miss a third on Sunday) and has five other games with under 50 yards (and two with under 20). I love Gurley, but I am more impressed by Winston.

  • John

    Carson Palmer will never win MVP even if he deserves it because the media hates him because he quit on cincy, they’ll never let it go.