Rookie Meter: Newton vs. Dalton

Posted Nov. 29, 2011 @ 6:04 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

With five games to go in the regular season, Broncos OLB Von Miller has increased his lead for Defensive Rookie of the Year and is No. 1 on the Rookie Meter, but things aren't so simple on the offensive side of the ball.

In the first half of the season, it seemed like a gimme that Panthers QB Cam Newton would take home the offensive rookie honors, but the play of Bengals QB Andy Dalton has made the race much more interesting.

Newton, deservedly so, got all the attention early on with his playmaking abilities. He has leveled off a bit, though, and Dalton, unlike Newton, has his team in the playoff hunt.

Here is a side-by-side chart comparing the two rookie signalcallers.

 

Cam Newton

Andy Dalton

Completions

239

218

Completion pct.

61.0

60.1

Yards

3,093

2,509

Touchdowns

12

16

Interceptions

14

12

Sacks

26

16

QB rating

81.1

81.8

Rushing yards

464

81

Rushing TDs

10

1

Fumbles (lost)

5 (2)

3 (1)

Wins

3

7

It's not just the wins category in which Dalton has an edge on Newton. He has a better touchdown-to-interception ratio and has thrown for four more scores than Newton. The big edge Newton has in the statistical categories comes with his abilities as a runner. Also, Newton has 584 more passing yards.

Normally when considering Rookie of the Year candidates, team records don't mean as much as individual stats. It's not the "Most Valuable Rookie" award. But things are a bit different at the QB position, where a player does have a more direct impact on wins. And with Dalton's stats not too far off from Newton's, the success the Bengals are having could ultimately give him the nod.

As evidenced by their rankings in the Rookie Meter, if the season ended today, I believe Newton should still be the Offensive Rookie of the Year. If the two quarterbacks remain on their current paces, statistically speaking, and Dalton can get the Bengals into the playoffs, then Dalton should get the honor.

1. Broncos OLB Von Miller (first round, second overall pick)
Last week's ranking: 1

Tim Tebow may be hogging the attention in Denver, but Miller is a huge reason for the Broncos' winning ways. He had 10 tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and a pass defensed in Denver's overtime win over the Chargers. Miller has recorded at least half a sack in four consecutive games and has been shut out in sacking the QB in only two games all season.

2. Panthers QB Cam Newton (1, 1)
Last week's ranking: 2

Newton collected his third victory of the season, but it was a little closer than expected. The Panthers beat the Colts 27-19. Newton had a good day with his ball security, as he did not throw a pick, completing 20-of-27 passes for 208 yards. He rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown. He is one score behind LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson for the most rushing scores this season.

3. Bengals QB Andy Dalton (2, 35)
Last week's ranking: 3

Dalton rallied Cincy from 10 points down to pull out a crucial 23-20 win over the Browns on Sunday. In the win, Dalton completed 21-of-31 passes for 270 yards and a score. He also rushed for 23 yards. On the final drive, Dalton hit A.J. Green for a 51-yard completion to set up the game-winning field goal. Dalton gets a big test in Week 13 with his second game against Pittsburgh.

4. Bengals WR A.J. Green (1, 4)
Last week's ranking: 5

Green returned to action in Week 12 and keeps his No. 4 ranking on the meter with his big 51-yard grab late in Sunday's win. Green had 110 yards receiving, increasing his lead among rookies in that category (745 on the season).

5. Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (3, 71)
Last week's ranking: 7

Murray faced a tough run defense on Thanksgiving, against the Dolphins, and rushed for 87 yards on 22 carries (4.0 average). Murray has been a dual threat this season — he caught four balls for 41 yards in the win. He holds a 400-yard lead over the next rookie running back.

6. Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan (1, 16)
Last week's ranking: 4

Kerrigan had a quieter game than we've been used to, totaling four tackles in the win over the Seahawks. He's among the rookie leaders in tackles with 49.

7. 49ers OLB Aldon Smith (1, 7)
Last week's ranking: 6

In the Thanksgiving loss to the Ravens, Smith had three tackles, including one for a loss. He hasn't been able to keep pace with Miller in the sack category but is still second among rookies in the category with 7½.

8. Texans DE J.J. Watt (1, 11)
Last week's ranking: 8

Without their starting quarterback, the Texans will be relying even more on a defense that has been superb this season, thanks in large part to Watt, who had a huge game on Sunday in the win over the Jaguars. Watt had seven tackles, two sacks, three QB hits and a pass defensed.

9. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson (1, 5)
Last week's ranking: NR

Peterson is not striking fear in any opposing quarterbacks with his play at corner yet, but punters, coverage teams and special-team coaches are terrified. Peterson took a punt back 80 yards for a touchdown in Arizona's win over the Rams, tying an NFL record with his fourth punt-return score of the season.

10. Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson (1, 30)
Last week's ranking: NR

Wilkerson gets the 10-spot this week, as he deserves recognition for an under-the-radar solid rookie season. In the Jets' Week 12 win over the Bills, Wilkerson had two tackles, including his team-high seventh tackle for loss. Last week, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said that Wilkerson has a "chance to be special in this league."

On the cusp (listed alphabetically)

Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin (undrafted)
Buccaneers DE Adrian Clayborn (1, 20)
Bills DT Marcell Dareus (1, 3)
Redskins RB Roy Helu (4, 105)
Falcons WR Julio Jones (1, 6)
Rams DE Robert Quinn (1, 14)
Texans OLB Brooks Reed (2, 42)
Browns OLB Jabaal Sheard (2, 37)
Ravens WR Torrey Smith (2, 58)
Browns DT Phil Taylor (1, 21)

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