Three players that got off to slow starts this year came on strong in October, winning NFL awards in the process.
49ers rookie linebacker Aldon Smith, whose role on the team has slowly increased, won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month award. He recorded 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a safety, and a pass defensed in October.
It’s remarkable to think that Smith was considered a reach at No. 7 overall. He’s part of a very strong rookie class, especially at the top of the draft. Smith and Von Miller look like top candidates for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Texans running back Arian Foster also started the season quietly because of his injuries, but he’s back to his 2011 form. Foster won the AFC Offensive Player of the Month award with 809 yards from scrimmagine with five scores in five games, including 310 as a scrimmage yards (499 rush, 310 receiving) with five touchdowns. He’s carried Houston’s offense with Andre Johnson out.
Jets return man Joe McKnight, perhaps best known for his struggles on Hard Knocks last year, won the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Month award. He led the league in kick return average for the month, and leads the NFL in kick return average for the season.