With five nominations for the NFL's Rookie of the Week award, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams is almost certain to lead all NFL newcomers in that category in 2010.
Unless, of course, one of his teammates steals it away.
On Tuesday, the NFL announced its five Rookie of the Week candidates for Week 15, and among them was Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount. That marks the fourth time this year that Blount has been nominated; only Kansas City safety Eric Berry and St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford (four each) can join the Buccaneer duo in the four-nom club.
At this point, the question is whether Williams or Blount is more likely to be one of the five players selected for the Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season. Perhaps both Bucs will be in line for that honor, which hasn't gone to a Tampa Bay player since running back Cadillac Williams took it in 2005.
Blount's latest ROTW bid comes on the heels of his third 100-yard rushing game, a 15-carry, 110-yard outing in the Bucs' 23-20 overtime loss to the Buccaneers. Blount averaged a season-high 7.3 yards per carry and turned in several more tackle-breaking highlight-reel runs. At that top of that highlight list was a 39-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that gave the Buccaneers a 14-7 lead; on the play, Blount broke out into the middle of the field and simultaneously ran over two Detroit defenders before bouncing to the left sideline and taking it into the end zone. His pinballing 27-yard run in the fourth quarter also set up Connor Barth's game-tying 30-yard field goal.
This time around Blount finds himself up against Carolina quarterback Jimmy Clausen, New England tight end Aaron Hernandez, Kansas City safety Kendrick Lewis and Buffalo linebacker Arthur Moats. On the voting page, the NFL helps you make your decision by providing video of each rookie's performance.
Click here to visit the Rookie of the Week page on NFL.com and cast your vote.
Blount's latest nomination continues a rather amazing trend for the 2010 Buccaneers, who are 8-6 despite playing with the league's youngest roster. In just 15 weeks and 14 games, Tampa Bay rookies have already combined to draw 12 Rookie of the Week nominations. In other words, the Bucs have only played two games all season in which one of their rookies was not judged to be among the top five performers in the league that week.
In addition to the combined nine for Williams and Blount, three other Buccaneer rookies have one ROTW nomination each: wide receiver Arrelious Benn, safety Cody Grimm and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
That makes the Buccaneers' rookie class the league's most impactful group of newcomers. No other team in the league has seen its rookies combine for more than seven nominations through the first 14 weeks. In addition, Tampa Bay's five different players to earn a nomination is tops in the league.
Most Combined Rookie of the Week Nominations:
1. Tampa Bay – 12 (Williams, Blount, Benn, Grimm, McCoy)
2t. Kansas City – 7 (Lewis, Berry, Dexter McCluster, Tony Moeaki)
2t. New England – 7 (Hernandez, Jermaine Cunningham, Rob Gronkowski, Devin McCourty)
4t. Dallas – 5 (Dez Bryant, Bryan McCann, Sean Lee)
4t. Detroit – 5 (Ndamukong Suh, Jahvid Best)
4t. St. Louis – 5 (Bradford, Danario Alexander)
- Cleveland – 4 (Joe Haden, Colt McCoy, T.J. Ward)
8t. Buffalo – 3 (Moats, C.J. Spiller)
8t. New Orleans – 3 (Chris Ivory)
8t. San Diego – 3 (Ryan Mathews, Seyi Ajirotutu)
8t. Tennessee – 3 (Alterraun Verner, Marc Mariani)
Most Rookies to Earn ROTW Nominations:
1. Tampa Bay – 5
2t. Kansas City – 4
2t. New England – 4
4t. Cleveland – 3
4t. Dallas – 3