In their official press release, the league cited Delmas' 17 tackles and his fumble recovered for a TD, which must have been the difference maker. He also has three passes defended.
Laurinaitis, besides significantly improving the Rams linebackers, has 25 tackles (one less than rookie leader LB Brian Cushing) and one fumble recovered.
Ok, so you can make the argument for Delmas over Laurinaitis. Here's the real slight: Laurinaitis wasn't even nominated for the award. Instead a kicker, Rey Maualuga and four others were nominated. Here's the list with the official write up for each player from the NFL's official press release:
- Dallas kicker DAVID BUEHLER (fifth round, USC), who tied for the NFL lead with seven touchbacks as the Cowboys’ kickoff coverage unit ranked third overall.
- Houston linebacker BRIAN CUSHING (1st round, USC), who has started all three games and leads the team and all NFL rookies with 26 tackles.
- Seattle linebacker AARON CURRY (first round, Wake Forest), who started all three games and had 15 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.
- Philadelphia safety MACHO HARRIS (fifth round, Virginia Tech), who started all three games and had nine tackles and one pass defensed.
New Orleans Saints cornerback MALCOLM JENKINS (first round, Ohio State), who had five special teams tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
- Cincinnati linebacker REY MAUALUGA (second round, USC), who has started all three games and ranks fourth on the team with 15 tackles.
I have a single comment for this HUGE oversight: bulls@#t. How can you justify this list without Laurinaitis' name on it? One thing that might factor into the decision, none of these teams are 0-3. Still...it's pretty dubious based on that alone. Laurinaitis' stats hold up to any of these guys.