Prior to Super Bowl LVI, the football world will gather at the NFL Honors, where various players are up for some of the game’s most prestigious awards. One player that could be heading home with multiple awards to put on his mantel is Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, who is fresh off a dominating second season in the league.
The 23-year-old back led the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns this season while averaging 106.5 yards per game on the ground. Taylor’s season was head and shoulders above his contemporaries as he was over 550 rushing yards ahead of the second-place finisher this season (Nick Chubb).
That helped him to a unanimous first-team All-Pro selection and avoided what has become a common sophomore slump for players.
“I think it’s really just a matter of how you assess your first year,” Taylor, who appeared on behalf of FedEx and is working to support HBCUs, said on CBS Sports HQ of his mindset heading into his second season in the league. “If you assess your rookie year and think ‘I did a great job. I don’t really have to work as hard as I did going into my rookie year because I had a great year,’ then that’s where people kind of fall and have mistakes.
“I think the biggest thing is understanding that there is still and always room for growth. I think that’s how you beat that stigma of sophomore slumps by understanding that you have not arrived yet. You still need to keep that level of intensity in the offseason, that chip on your shoulder in order to get better each and every single day.”
The Salem, New Jersey native not only had himself a career year, but that production also has him in the conversation for league MVP.
“It’s amazing,” said Taylor, who is also in the running for Offensive Player of the Year, of being an MVP candidate. “You talk about being considered as one of the best players in the NFL. For one, you’re already in that 1% because you’re in the NFL. Now to be even thought of to be brought up to be mentioned as one of the best, I mean it’s a dream come true. It’s mind-blowing. … I need be be able to continue to work hard because it would be doing a disservice to those teammates, to those other players that vouch for me and say ‘Hey, I think JT is the real deal’ so it just pushes me to continue to work.”
“Joe Burrow is a winner,” he said. “He is phenomenal. But I think it’s going to be tough because that Rams defense is for real. I think it’s going to be a matter of fact if Joey B can just outmaneuver that Rams defense. That’s going to be the telltale of the game.”