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Give Torrey Smith an MVP vote

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Give Torrey Smith an MVP vote

Torrey Smith doesn't get an MVP vote, but if he did, we know where it would go. 

He thinks the honor belongs to Carson Wentz. 

In the Eagles' locker room on Thursday, Smith volunteered his opinion that Wentz should be the 2017 NFL MVP, despite Wentz's missing the final three games of the season after with a torn ACL. 

"Absolutely," Smith said. "And I'm biased too. I'll tell you that, I am biased. I think he still should be, even with the missed games. I mean, what he meant to this team, what he was actually able to do and he missed two games. 

"It's pretty crazy. Because he probably wouldn't have played the last game if he was there. He missed two games. Still was right up at the top of everything else. I think it says a lot about him."

Smith actually brings up a good point. Had Wentz not been injured, he very likely wouldn't have played in the regular-season finale anyway, which means his ACL injury forced him to miss only two games in the regular season instead of three. 

Wentz finished his season with 3,296 passing yards and 33 touchdown passes. Only Russell Wilson threw more touchdown passes (34) and it took him all 16 games. Wentz is just 19th in passing yards but fourth in passer rating (101.9) behind just Alex Smith (104.7), Drew Brees (103.9) and Tom Brady (102.8). 

It seems like Wentz's biggest competition for the MVP might be two-time winner Brady, who had another stellar season. 

So why would Smith take Wentz over Brady? 

"Tom Brady's the G.O.A.T. though. He is the G.O.A.T.," Smith said. "But Carson was able to make plays athletically that Tom can't physically do, even though he's the greatest quarterback ever. Carson plays the game differently and what he's meant to us on third down, when he's scrambling, the crazy plays he's made. It's not like he's Vick or anything, but the way he makes those plays, it was huge for us. 

"At times we were struggling and those plays turn into opening the gates. He's made some amazing plays all year. I don't know, put their highlight tapes together and see what you think."

The Eagles haven't had an MVP since Norm Van Brocklin won it back in 1960, so it's been a pretty long wait. 

This year's MVP award will be announced Feb. 3, the day before the Super Bowl. 

Unfortunately, although Smith thinks Wentz deserves the award, he doesn't think he's going to get it. 

"No. Because he missed a couple games," Smith said, "but I think he's the MVP."

The case for and against Carson Wentz still winning MVP

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The case for and against Carson Wentz still winning MVP

The case for Carson Wentz still winning MVP (Corey Seidman)

Prior to Monday Night Football, Bovada listed Tom Brady as the MVP favorite and Carson Wentz was no longer listed. Had the Patriots blown out the Dolphins as many expected, Brady would have surged into the MVP lead.

But he didn't. The Patriots' offense couldn't get anything going, failing to convert a single third down for the first time since 1991.

And even though Brady will probably play three more games this season than Carson Wentz, I still think Wentz can and will win MVP.

There are a bunch of reasons why.

1. Wentz led his team to an 11-2 record and put it in position to clinch the top seed in the conference, and the Eagles don't even have to be perfect the rest of the way to do it.

2. The key play that could end up enabling the Eagles to get home-field advantage through the playoffs was that gutsy touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery. Which Wentz delivered with a torn ACL. And which set the Eagles' franchise record for TD passes in a season. 

That kind of mystique matters come awards time.

3. Brady was a legitimate contender for the MVP award last season when he played just 12 games because of the four-game suspension. He finished second in MVP voting with 10 votes, behind Matt Ryan's 25.

4. Aside from Wentz and Brady, who are even the top candidates for MVP this season? Russell Wilson? His team isn't even currently in the playoffs. Antonio Brown? A wide receiver has never won MVP, even though Brown is deserving of breaking that trend. If Brown goes off against the Patriots on Sunday, it might make him the frontrunner. 

Standing in his way, however, is the tremendous success of his own teammate, Le'Veon Bell. Bell and Brown each have nine total touchdowns, and Bell has 1,684 yards from scrimmage compared to Brown's 1,518. How would you justify giving it to Brown over his equally deserving teammate?

If one of Brady, Bell or Brown has an enormous game Sunday, they could catapult to the top of the list. But if they have just an average game, Wentz will remain toward the top.

5. Voter fatigue is real with Brady, and this isn't even shaping up to be one of his best seasons. His 105.2 passer rating is just the fifth-highest of his career. His 27-to-6 touchdown to interception ratio is just the fifth-best of his career. His yards per attempt are fourth-best.

• • •

The case against Carson Wentz still winning MVP (Dave Zangaro)

The Eagles haven't had an MVP since the 1960 season, when Norm Van Brocklin took the honor. 

They'll have to wait at least one more season. 

Because when Wentz went down on Sunday night, his MVP chances went too. 

Sure, the Eagles' quarterback had a really good first 13 games. His team went 11-2. He threw for 3,296 yards, with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Those are really good numbers. 

But he just didn't play enough. 

The last time an NFL MVP played just 13 or fewer games was 1989, when Joe Montana won his first of two straight. Since then, of the 29 MVPs all 29 have played at least 14 games and 23 of them have played all 16. 

Sure, Brady finished second in MVP voting last season after playing just 12 games. But he didn't win it. And that was after 12 games in which he threw for over 3,500 yards, with 28 touchdowns and just two interceptions. His passer rating in those 12 games was 112.2. Wentz's this season was 101.9. 

What's even more notable was that Brady's 12 games in 2016 came in the last 12 games of the season after missing the first four because of suspension. When voting happened, Brady was still on the forefront of everyone's mind, leading his team into the playoffs. Wentz won't be forgotten, but recency has even more pull than mystique in voting. 

And then there are the candidates this year. Brady is the clear frontrunner. He's having another tremendous season. No, he didn't perform well on Monday night, but do you really expect him to not play well down the stretch? 

And the crazy thing about Brady is he's widely considered the greatest quarterback of all time, but has just two MVP awards. To put that in perspective, Peyton Manning has five, while Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas and Brett Favre each have three. Brady is tied with Steve Young, Kurt Warner, Joe Montana and Aaron Rodgers with two. 

So in some cases, voter fatigue might be a real thing, but in this case, it would make sense to see Brady get another one. 

Really, the way Wentz's worth to the Eagles would easily be proven is if the Eagles completely collapse down the stretch with Nick Foles. But with games against the Giants, Raiders and Cowboys, that seems unlikely. The Eagles win, Wentz loses. 

But there's always next year ... and the year after that.

NFL Notes: Cam Newton expresses regret after response to female reporter

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NFL Notes: Cam Newton expresses regret after response to female reporter

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton has "expressed regret" for his response to a female reporter's question at a news conference Wednesday, a team spokesman said.

When Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton about wide receiver Devin Funchess' route running, the former league MVP smiled and said, "it's funny to hear a female talk about routes. It's funny."

After Newton's comments, the quarterback proceeded to answer Rodrigue's question.

Carolina spokesman Steven Drummond said in a statement to The Associated Press that Newton had a conversation with Rodrigue after the news conference ended and expressed regret for his remarks.

Rodrigue released a statement through The Charlotte Observer via email saying that Newton did not apologize when they spoke after the news conference.

She said she "was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me but countless other women before me and beside me who work in similar jobs. I sought Mr. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later. He did not apologize for his comments" (see full story).

Steelers: Brown apologizes for ‘all the noise’
PITTSBURGH -- Antonio Brown is nearly getting as much practice at saying "I'm sorry" as he is at catching touchdowns.

The Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver apologized via Twitter on Wednesday for his sideline outburst early in his team's victory in Baltimore last Sunday. Brown broke free on Pittsburgh's second possession and was wide open down the left sideline.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn't see Brown and instead threw the ball short. Brown briefly lost his cool afterward, taking out his frustration on a Gatorade cooler in the process.

"Apologize for all the noise and the distractions Steeler nation let's stay focus," the All-Pro posted.

Roethlisberger described Brown's actions as a "temper tantrum" during the quarterback's weekly radio show and coach Mike Tomlin encouraged Brown to be "professional," though it hardly seemed to create any sort of rift in the team's locker room (see full story).

Titans: Mariota’s status still unclear for game vs. Miami
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey says quarterback Marcus Mariota's status is still unclear for their upcoming matchup with the Miami Dolphins.

The Titans coach remains hopeful that Mariota will play despite a strained hamstring .

Mariota, who was hurt in last week's loss to Houston, was limited in practice, stretching and throwing passes during the open portion of the workouts on Wednesday. The quarterback did not speak with the media after practice.

"We didn't ask him to do very much, we were smart with him," Mularkey said. "We did what we thought he could do, and that wasn't very much, but enough. We're going to be smart with him; positive for what he had to do."

Mularkey says he would be comfortable playing the quarterback Sunday even without a full practice (see full story).

Colts: Luck faces limitations after returning to practice
INDIANAPOLIS -- Andrew Luck put on his familiar red No. 12 jersey, trotted onto the practice field and got back into his normal Wednesday routine.

A little stretching, a little footwork, even a little throwing.

Even he figured it's about time.

After missing all of the Indianapolis Colts' offseason workouts, all of training camp, all of the preseason and Indy's first four regular-season games, the Colts' quarterback made his long-awaited appearance on the practice field.

"It was fun to be back on the field and put on a jersey and a helmet and get to go out there and throw a couple passes with the guys," Luck said in his first comments since July 29 (see full story).

Packers: Adams back at practice after taking bit hit
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Receiver Davante Adams was back on his feet, in uniform, bouncing around the practice field and joking with teammates.

It was a welcome sight for the Green Bay Packers.

Adams returned to practice Wednesday after absorbing a helmet-to-helmet hit from Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan that led to the receiver being carted off the field on a stretcher.

Adams was taken to a hospital for evaluation after being knocked out of the game on Sept. 28 and was released the next day. Adams is in the concussion protocol, though his return to practice on a limited basis is a good sign.

"I'm just glad to see him walking again, more importantly," receiver Randall Cobb said. "When I went to the hospital and saw him the other night he was back to his normal self, joking around, trying to break out of the hospital. I'm just glad to see him in good health" (see full story).