TAYLOR FOR MVP?

Rich Gannon came into Sunday's game at Pro Player Stadium viewed as the leading candidate for league MVP honors, but after what Jason Taylor did to him it's not too far-fetched to ask whether Taylor himself shouldn't be considered for the honor.

Think about it. Who looked like the best player in the league on Sunday, Gannon or Taylor? It wasn't even close.

Of course, it was just one game and Gannon has put up tremendous numbers, but don't dismiss Taylor as a legitimate candidate just yet.

Taylor has been dominant all season and he took over the NFL lead in sacks with his 15th, 16th and 17th against the Raiders. With two games left, Taylor will have a hard time matching Michael Strahan's record of 22, set last season, but that won't diminish what he has done.

And don't forget that Taylor's contributions go beyond just sacks. He has been strong against the run all season and he also has knocked down passes, which he did against Oakland.

Shoot, the guy even drops back into coverage at times, and he's a defensive end.

"He has been playing great all year long," said linebacker Zach Thomas, his brother-in-law. "He played great (against Oakland), but he has been doing it all year. He has always been underrated. They always give all these other names the credit. He brings intensity to the defense and not only brings sacks, but he plays the draw and everything. He is having an MVP year for us."

As for league MVP, Gannon probably remains the favorite, and other contenders probably include Chiefs RB Priest Holmes, Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Falcons QB Michael Vick, Colts WR Marvin Harrison, Packers QB Brett Favre, Bucs DE Simeon Rice and maybe Bucs LB Derrick Brooks.

No defensive player has won the award since Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986, so it remains a long shot that Jason Taylor will win the award.

At the very least, he would appear to be the front-runner for NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. No Dolphins player has won that award since DE Doug Betters in 1983.

Taylor figures to get a couple of honors this week, such as AFC Defensive Player of the Week and the nod as a Pro Bowl starter.

MVP? Who knows? But there's no denying the guy has had a tremendous season.


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