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saintz08 09-30-2004 01:19 PM

How the rookies look so far
Week Three Rookie of the Year meter

Runaway award? It looks that way so far

By Eric Edholm
Sept. 29, 2004

Someone needs to catch Lions WR Roy Williams. Fast. There’s little competition in the early going for Rookie of the Year. And as ridiculous as that seems in Week Three, look at the numbers. Williams is ranked first among first-year players in receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns and total points (more than two kickers).

The best bet for a challenge to Williams is if Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger comes on and shows the kind of leadership he did against the Dolphins Sunday night. His first throw was an interception, but he rallied to have a very solid game. If Pittsburgh can make a run at the playoffs and Roethlisberger can hold off Tommy Maddox next month, then perhaps he can challenge Williams.

1. Lions WR Roy Williams
Season stats (three games): 17 receptions, 277 yards (16.3 avg.), four TDs; one rush, one yard; 0-for-1 passing
Week Three stats: nine receptions, 135 yards, two TDs
Last week’s ranking: 1

He had a great game in a losing effort, outshining Eagles WR Terrell Owens in terms of individual performance with some highlight-reel grabs. It’s ridiculous, of course, to project season numbers through three games … but here goes: He’s on pace to catch 91 passes for 1,477 yards and a Jerry Rice-like 21 touchdowns. Expect him to settle in just shy of Anquan Boldin range by the end of the year.

2. Jets S Erik Coleman
Season stats (two games): 10 tackles, two interceptions (five yards), one fumble recovered
Week Three stats: On bye
Last week’s ranking: 2

On bye.

3. Seahawks FS Michael Boulware
Season stats (three games): 10 tackles, two interceptions (six yards), three passes defended
Week Two stats: five tackles
Last week’s ranking: 3

The Seahawks’ defense has been awfully impressive through the early going because everyone knows his role. This goes for Boulware as well; he has done a very good job in nickel and dime coverages, and he played a good second half when the 49ers were forced to pass, being down as much as they were. Look for him to join the starting lineup by midseason.

4. Saints MLB Courtney Watson
Season stats (two games): 21 tackles, one pass defended, one sack
Week Three stats: six tackles, one sack
Last week’s ranking: 6

It’s hard to argue with the production the Saints are getting out of the middle — once seen as a potential Achilles’ heel. Sure, the run defense hasn’t been that good, but the defense as a whole played better Sunday as the Rams never looked comfortable. Watson was good in pass coverage too and had a sack.

5. Buccaneers WR Michael Clayton
Season stats (three games): 15 receptions, 149 yards (9.9 avg.)
Week Three stats: two receptions, 35 yards
Last week’s ranking: 4

The Bucs’ offense is reaching desperate straits. They finally scored an offensive touchdown, but it went to Tim Brown in garbage time. Clayton did have a 26-yard reception, but he is struggling to get passes thrown his way with the poor QB play and O-line protection.

6. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald
Season stats (three games): 14 receptions, 143 yards (10.2 avg.); one rush, minus-1 yard
Week Three stats: five receptions, 37 yards
Last week’s ranking: 5

Although QB Josh McCown’s numbers Sunday suggested that he was accurate, he was unable to complete anything downfield. Fitzgerald has shown nice hands and some separation skills in the early going, but he has been held out of the endzone because of the Cardinals’ anemic offense.

7. Broncos LB D.J. Williams
Season stats (three games): 14 tackles, one sack, one pass defended
Week Three stats: three tackles
Last week’s ranking: 8

Scouts have praised Williams for his toughness and instincts — something some people questioned about him going into April’s draft. But he appears a very good fit in the Broncos’ defense, one that held Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson in check last week.

8. Lions LB Teddy Lehman
Season stats (three games): 14 tackles, one forced fumble
Week Three stats: six tackles
Last week’s ranking: 9

Lehman appears to be playing more consistent football than in the first week when he mixed some terrific plays with some missed assignments. The Lions’ defense did little that was productive Sunday, especially in pass protection, but you can’t blame Lehman — look the way of a depleted secondary.

9. Bengals DB Madieu Williams
Season stats (two games): 24 tackles, two passes defended
Week Three stats: nine tackles
Last week’s ranking: n/a

Williams has never had fewer than seven tackles in his three games, which isn’t always a good thing from a team perspective when you are a safety. But the Bengals’ coaching staff has been impressed with his sure tackling and playmaking abilities.

10. Jaguars LB Daryl Smith
Season stats (three games): 15 tackles, one pass defended
Week Three stats: five tackles
Last week’s ranking: n/a

The Jaguars’ defense is not doing it with smoke and mirrors. Sure, its ends are weak and its secondary hasn’t been tested yet, but it’s contributions from players like Smith that has it ranked as one of the top units in the league. He is a hard-nosed, sure tackler who fits Jack Del Rio’s and Mike Smith’s styles.

Dropped out

Lions RB Kevin Jones (7)
Jaguars WR Ernest Wilford (10)

Honorable mention

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
Chargers PK Nate Kaeding
Titans DE Antwan Odom
Rams RB Stephen Jackson
Patriots DT Vince Wilfork
Raiders OL Robert Gallery
Vikings OLB Dontarrious Thomas
Panthers CB Chris Gamble
Giants OG Chris Snee
Texans OLB Jason Babin

Best of the rest

Jets LB Jonathan Vilma
49ers CB Shawntae Spencer
Redskins H-back Chris Cooley
Lions CB Keith Smith
Chargers ORT Shane Olivea
Steelers CB Ricardo Colclough
Raiders S Stuart Schweigert
Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett
Saints DE Will Smith
Bengals LB Landon Johnson
Titans DT Randy Starks
Colts CB Jason David
Titans OG Jacob Bell
Broncos RB Tatum Bell
Texans S Glenn Earl
Titans CB Michael Waddell
Vikings DE Darrion Scott
49ers P Andy Lee
Panthers WR Keary Colbert
Rams OLB Brandon Chillar
Chargers C Nick Hardwick
Browns TE Kellen Winslow (out for the season)
Saints FB Mike Karney
Bengals P Kyle Larson
Jaguars PK Josh Scobee
Packers CB Joey Thomas
Bills WR Lee Evans
Bears CB Nathan Vasher
Texans CB Dunta Robinson
Giants OLB Reggie Torbor
Chargers DE Shaun Phillips
Colts CB Von Hutchins
Vikings DE Kenechi Udeze
Redskins FS Sean Taylor
Broncos WR Darius Watts
Bears DT Tommie Harris
Patriots TE Benjamin Watson
Lions LB Alex Lewis
Chargers DT Igor Olshansky
Vikings RB-RS Mewelde Moore
Packers CB Ahmad Carroll
Titans CB Rich Gardner
Cardinals OLB Karlos Dansby
Jaguars DE Bobby McCray
Cardinals C Alex Stepanovich
Chiefs DT Junior Siavii

St.Shrume 10-01-2004 06:39 AM

How the rookies look so far
Wow, Will Smith only honorable mention? Hmm.. I thought he was doing quite well. Maybe because I actually watch Saints games.

Danno 10-01-2004 06:44 AM

How the rookies look so far

Wow, Will Smith only honorable mention? Hmm.. I thought he was doing quite well. Maybe because I actually watch Saints games.

I think it might be biased toward stats. Watson\'s stats look better than Will\'s but I think they have both contributed a lot and will both be stars.

Will was schooled by Walter Jones in his 1st game. But in his defense a rookie playing his 1st game ever against and all-pro LT is asking a bit much. Will is going to dominate aginst average LT\'s this year. His other problem is he platoons with an all-pro.

By December that list is going to look quite different.

chRxis 10-02-2004 10:44 AM

How the rookies look so far
i really wish that devery was far enough along with the playbook to get some PT, because he would be a great weapon even if he wouldn\'t get thrown to but once or twice a game.... he can straight out fly, which would allow us to stretch the field and throw underneath to boo, ernie, deuce/stecker, lewis, or anyone else who runs medium length routes

DARKFATHER504 10-03-2004 10:58 AM

How the rookies look so far
At times Watson looks a little hesitant at the point of attack but none the less he will be a good player for the Saints, he should be improved by mid season, it is hard for Will Smith because he has to play behind Howard/Grant or in certain situations but none the less we have to very good players. I tend to agree with chRxis, Devery is needed.

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