Another view on NFC South MVPs

A few days after the regular-season ended, we ran our wrap-up package for each NFC South team and part of that included naming an MVP for each team.

I went with Matt Ryan for Atlanta, Jonathan Stewart for Carolina, Drew Brees for New Orleans and Josh Freeman for Tampa Bay. Now, USA Today has come out with its list of MVPs for all 32 teams.

That newspaper’s list is pretty similar to mine, at least as far as the NFC South goes. We’re in agreement on Brees and Freeman and I don’t think anyone could come up with a strong argument for anyone else from the Saints or Bucs to win the award.

We disagree a bit on the MVPs for Atlanta and Carolina. USA Today picked Charles Johnson for Carolina. I’ve got no real problem with that. I thought Stewart was a big difference maker when healthy and that’s why I chose him slightly over Johnson, who I recognized as the “biggest surprise." With Julius Peppers’ departure, Johnson stepped up and produced 11.5 sacks.

USA Today picked receiver Roddy White as Atlanta’s MVP. I don’t have a big issue with that one. There was a time early in the season when I was saying White was the MVP for the entire division. There were some games in the first half of the season when White absolutely carried the Falcons. He finished the season with big numbers and was selected to the Pro Bowl and made the All-Pro team.

But the reason I chose Ryan over White was because I thought White went into a relative slump later in the season. He still did some good things, but he didn’t carry the Falcons the way he did earlier in the season.