Golden Tate Leads NFL Rookies in punt returns

Fourteen rookies have returned punts in the NFL this season.

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Six of the 14 play for NFC West teams. A seventh, Jorrick Calvin of Philadelphia, was a Cardinals draft choice this year.

Seattle’s Golden Tate leads NFL rookies with a 25.2-yard average on five returns. The other five rookie punt returners from NFC West teams have 13 returns for 66 yards, good for a 5.1-yard average. They have also accounted for four of the seven fumbles by rookie returners this season.

The Arizona Cardinals’ Andre Roberts did not fumble in his NFL debut as a returner Sunday, but two punts sent his way bounced off teammates. The Oakland Raiders recovered both times. Both punts were shorter than anticipated. Roberts might have been lined up too deep on one of them.

“I’m not down on Andre,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters Monday. “He is a young player. He has got skill in that area and we have to continue to work with him. Fortunately, we were able to still win the game and now we can work on that without the negativity of a loss.”

The chart ranks NFL rookie punt returners by average yards per return. Tate looks like a natural for the role. He has returns of 63 and 31 yards in his first two games (Tate was inactive for the opener).

2010 Rookie Punt Returners Through Week 3

Returner Team Returns Yards Avg. TD Fumbles
Golden Tate SEA 5 126 25.2 0 0
Dexter McCluster KC 6 142 23.7 1 1
Antonio Brown PIT 1 21 21.0 0 0
Dez Bryant DAL 5 89 17.8 1 0
Marc Mariani TEN 6 64 10.7 0 0
Jorrick Calvin PHI 3 31 10.3 0 0
Javier Arenas KC 9 89 9.9 0 0
Phillip Adams SF 4 29 7.3 0 1
Max Komar ARI 5 31 6.2 0 2
Kyle Wilson NYJ 3 16 5.3 0 1
Andre Roberts ARI 2 6 3.0 0 0
Perrish Cox DEN 3 7 2.3 0 1
Walter Thurmond SEA 1 0 0.0 0 1
Kyle Williams SF 1 0 0.0 0 0
Totals 54 651 12.1 2 7

Golden Tate exception to NFC West rule – NFC West Blog – ESPN.

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