The Monson Monthly: October Player Awards

Sam Monson chimes in with his monthly break down on which players have performed in a manner that separates them from the crowd.

| 4 years ago
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The Monson Monthly: October Player Awards


At the half way point in the season we have a chance to look back on the month of October and issue another round of PFF monthly awards.

The NFL has been busy handing out their monthly awards, but let’s see what some hard data and in depth PFF analysis can come up with instead.

So read on for the list of players I have deemed worthy of recognition based on their October performances, and let me know who you would have picked in the comments.

AFC

Offensive Player of the Month

His arm might not be 100% still, and it may never get all the way back, but as Peyton Manning (+15.9) has learned his limitations and worked on understanding where he is physically, his performances have been improving each week. He passed for over 300 yards and three touchdowns with a completion percentage of over 70 every week of October and saved his best game for the last one, knocking off the Saints.  He threw just a single pick in the month as well and is busy mounting a serious challenge to the MVP stakes en route to marching the Broncos to the AFC West crown and the playoffs.

Honorable mention: Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), Rob Gronkowski (NE)

Defensive Player of the Month

I’d love to go elsewhere with this selection but the truth is that J.J. Watt (+15.8) has barely slowed down and still walks away with the award.  He recorded three sacks in three games (though he did have his first game held without a sack against the Ravens), added eight further pressures, and batted down another five passes just because he got bored in the games.  Watt is putting together a season that hasn’t been seen from a player at his position in years, and might be forcing a major re-think in scouting departments across the league given the success compared to his draft profile.

Honorable mention: Eric Weddle (SD), Von Miller (DEN)

Special Teams Player of the Month

There’s no doubting that rookie kicker Justin Tucker continues to have a fine season, and didn’t miss a field goal in the month of October, but he’s being beaten to the award by his teammate, Jacoby Jones (+3.3) who started to return kicks for the Ravens in week six and over two games doing so has a 108-yard touchdown return, a return over 45 yards in each game, and an average of 39.4 yards combined. 

Honorable mention: Justin Tucker (BLT), Donnie Jones (HST)

Rookie of the Month

It took some level of play to drop September’s winner from this mark, and it was a close decision, but Bengals rookie guard Kevin Zeitler (+5.9) had a fine month of October.  He struggled a little against Miami, surrendering three hurries to a pretty dominant defensive line, but those three pressures were the only ones he would give up all month, remaining perfect against Cleveland and Pittsburgh and grading positively in the run game in all of his games this month.

Honorable mention: Chandler Jones (NE), Trent Richardson (CLV)

Bench Threatener of the Month

It seems like this award is made for Mark Sanchez to pick up each month, but in October he’s beaten to it by another quarterback inside his own division, Ryan Fitzpatrick (-8.8).  Over his three games in October, Fitzpatrick threw for a total of 504 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions and he was held to under 200 yards and failed to throw a touchdown against the two NFC West sides of San Francisco and Arizona.  Both those teams have pretty good defenses, but this is the NFL, and if you can’t play against teams like that then you can’t expect to play.

Honorable mention: Andy Dalton (CIN), Antonio Johnson (IND)

NFC

Offensive Player of the Month

Now ranked atop our wide receiver list sits Percy Harvin (+9.5) with a month that featured 30 receptions, 368 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns and another on the ground.  Harvin is setting all kinds of team records, and that’s a team with a pretty impressive pedigree at receiver with names like Randy Moss, Cris and Anthony Carter on the books. Harvin might be the most explosive player in football, and he takes away the offensive player of the month award for October.

Honorable mention: Aaron Rodgers (GB), Adrian Peterson (MIN)

Defensive Player of the Month

In September Tim Jennings walked away with this award after a scintillating start to the season, but this month his stable mate in the Chicago secondary, Charles Tillman (+7.4) takes his turn in the spotlight. Over his month of October he returned two interceptions for touchdowns, shut down Calvin Johnson like only he seems to be able to do, and allowed a total of zero touchdowns.  In fact Tillman was so good this month that the longest pass completed into his coverage went for just 16 yards, also his longest allowed all season. The Chicago Bears defense is keeping them in games, and the cornerbacks are leading the charge so far.

Honorable mention: Patrick Willis (SF), Casey Hayward (GB)

Special Teams Player of the Month

Apparently 2012 must be the Chinese year of the rookie kicker, because there are three outstanding rookies at a position that often finds it a struggle to find capable young players to step in and perform well.  Last month Rams kicker Greg ‘The Leg’ Zuerlein took the honors, but this month it’s the turn of Minnesota rookie Blair Walsh (+10.4). The Viking hit on all eight of his kicks in the month of October including kicks from over 40 and 50 yards, and his kickoffs continue to put the Vikings in good field position, failing to find a touchback on just 3 of his 22 attempts.

Honorable mention: Andy Lee (SF), Greg Zuerlein (SL)

Rookie of the Month

It would be too easy to go for RGIII again, and in truth his hot start has cooled a little in recent weeks, but a player whose star is on the rise is Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin (+6.1) who improved each week as the month went on.  Over three games in October he rushed for 296 yards, scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, added 171 receiving yards and a touchdown, and forced 23 missed tackles from defenders on his way to shooting his way up the rookie of the year rankings. Martin looks like a complete back in Tampa and they are only just scratching the surface of what he can do.

Honorable mention: Alfred Morris (WAS), Casey Hayward (GB)

Bench Threatener of the Month

After a few games that showed some real promise the wheels are busy falling off the rookie season of Janoris Jenkins (-11.9).  Over the past month he has been thrown at relentlessly, targeted 34 times over four games and surrendering 23 catches for 270 yards and four touchdowns without picking off a pass in return. In three of the four games this month quarterbacks had a rating over 115 when throwing at Jenkins and he needs to halt the slide and get back to some of the aggressive close coverage we saw earlier in the year.

Honorable mention: Malcolm Jenkins (NO), Adam Snyder (ARZ)

 

Follow Sam on Twitter: @PFF_Sam

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • lightsout85

    Regarding JJ Watt’s draft-profile, did you mean that it was high (that his production matches his great combine numbers), or that it was low & his production was a surprise? I would say later in the pre-draft season his stock was pretty high, if only because of his great workout numbers (though it’s often a crap-shoot betting that great workouts will translate to great production). Or 3rd angle, his profile in terms of the specific skills he brings? (great athleticism (& history playing a skill position) at a position usually filled by hulking strongmen).

    • Shaun

      I think they mean that many people undervalued him, even though he was drafted high (11th overall) in retrospect I think every team would have taken him who passed, excpet for possibly Denver and Carolina. I think what he means is also that they need to re-evaluate the impact that a 3-4 DE can have on the game. Essentially, while many people thought JJ Watt would be a great player, no one expected a 3-4 DE to impact the game like he has. It’s unprecedented

      • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

        not the first season a 3-4 de had a lot of sacks and dominated.

  • Johnny

    Looks like this was recent by a vikes fan

    • Johnny

      *written