Below are my grades for the Saints second pre-season game against the Houston Texans. On the whole I am very happy with the teams play on both sides of the ball. Starting to get a little optimistic even. Let me know what you think of my evaluation in the comment section. If you've got a problem, let's hug it out. Also, for the readers from last year, I'm trying out a different format than usual for our "Making the Grade" series of posts. If you've got an opinion either way as to which one you prefer, let me know.
Mike Bell - Is this really a surprise to anyone? I'll spare you any hyperbole or bell ringing cliche's and keep this short. Yesterday's "Player of the Game" poll says it all with Bell receiving an overwhelming 95% of the vote (currently). But let's also give it up for the offensive line. They looked pretty solid in the run blocking department and deserve just as much credit.
Anthony Waters - Saints fans have got to like what they see from the backup linebacker. Waters notched the teams only sack, forced a fumble and recovered that fumble. That's a Gregg Williams kind of player.
Rod Harper - I would have actually considered Hot Rod Harper for an "A" grade if not for the 15-yard showboating penalty following his punt return touchdown. Poor form. Still, his TD was the nail in the coffin last night and proved that he's more than just a receiver. Good things just seem to happen when he touches the ball. Pretty sure you've got to consider him the surprise of the summer.
Jabari Greer - I'm still liking what I see from Greer. He allowed Johnson to make a nice sideline catch next to him and also whiffed on an open field tackle but he looked good the rest of the game with tight coverage, including a superb hit in the second quarter to jar the ball loose and cause an incompletion.
Jermon Bushrod - The young tackle didn't do anything spectacular to make us rethink Jammal Brown's place on this team but he also held his own and didn't get beat too badly. And all against Super Mario Williams. But "holding his own" also means there is room for improvement. Perhaps an "A+" performance and a personal victory for Bushrod, I think he can play at an even higher level so I give him an average "C." Perhaps a bit harsh.
MalcolmJenkins Just got back from Houston... they got me today, i lost my NFL virginity, but it happens we had a great win and thats all that matters
But it's still early and there also were some bright spots in his play against Houston. All part of the road to greatness.
Skyler Green - For those LSU fans out there who were hoping to see Skyler finally crack the lineup this season, I'm affraid it's not likely to happen. Green's only contribution on Saturday night was a single punt return he managed to gain only four yards with. Forget making the team as a receiver.
Defensive Line - I'm just going to include everyone who plays on the defensive line for this one. Anthony Hargrove and Kendrick Clancy stood out slightly but overall there was still a lack of pressure on the quarterback. Will Smith has yet to really make his presence felt either. The defense has looked great regardless so I shudder to think how good they could really be with a little help from a rush. Perhaps when the games start to count...
Special Teams - Stupid penalties and missed field goals. Definitely the worst aspect of the Saints Saturday night performance, by far.