New Orleans Saints Defensive and Special Teams Player Grades

Based on how well the Saints offense performed Monday night, the defense and special teams could have completely mailed in this game and it still would have turned into a win. At times, the defense did mail in their performance.

Before the game, Jonathan Vilma said the key would be to stop the run, making the Giants one-dimensional so they focus on getting good pressure on Eli Manning. The team was successful at controlling the line of scrimmage, but they got almost no pressure. What resulted was a boatload of passing yardage yielded, though much of it came in garbage time in the 4th quarter.

Again, the bottom line is it didn't really matter how the defense (and special teams) performed in this one because the offense put up 49 points and the team was never going to lose this game.

Giants vs Saints coverage

Giants vs Saints recap

Giants vs Saints boxscore

Will Smith: B+ (2.74) He applied consistent effort even though he seemed to pull up lame at one point. I pray to God it isn't a hernia issue he's going to have to deal with AGAIN. He had 5 tackles, helped tremendously against the run, and registered the game's lone sack and also forced a fumble on the play. He was flagged for roughing the passer in the most ridiculous manner I've arguably ever seen. Apparently shoving a QB as he releases the ball with two hands it's "roughing". Ridiculous. Also, once again, he was blatantly held numerous times with no flags to show for it.

Cameron Jordan: C- (2.36) Per usual his run support was decent and his pass rushing was non-existent. Long term I think he's going to have an Alex Brown type career. Not that that's a bad thing, I'm just not sure this guy will ever live up to his first round draft pick status. He's just not explosive enough for an end. He had no tackles.

Junior Galette: C- (2.08) He had one quarterback knock down and some garbage time pressures. For a "pass rushing specialist", he's been all too neutralized lately on 3rd and longs.

Jeff Charleston: D+ (2.13) He was flagged for defensive holding on a screen pass that was a fairly easy call to make. That was his lone contribution and he was otherwise shut down.

Sedrick Ellis: C- (2.12) He played less early as the Saints rolled out a 3-4 fairly frequently. In a more limited role than usual he notched just one tackle. A quiet day at the office.

Aubrayo Franklin: B- (2.18) The one negative was a Brandon Jacobs run where he was able to break through Franklin's arm tackle and get a nice gain. Other than that, he controlled the line of scrimmage well and set up his linebackers to make plays. The Giants tried to get physical and Franklin did a good job pushing the pile. He had one tackle.

Shaun Rogers: C- (2.09) He had one QB knock down and he had a limited role as well. I'm starting to wonder if he's dropped to fourth in the defensive tackle rotation. What a disappointment he's been overall.

Tom Johnson: B- (2.53) He had two tackle including one for a loss and a quarterback knock down. There was nothing too notable but he was one of the more active lineman in limited reps.

Jo-Lonn Dunbar: A- (2.87) He was fantastic in run support and the few times he dropped in coverage, obviously not his strong suit, he was still able to put big remember me hits on people. He led the team with 11 tackles and he did a great job running sideline to sideline. His physical ability in the trenches was awesome. Most impressive was a tackle where he completely stood up Brandon Jacobs at the line of scrimmage and forced a fumble. Dunbar is the defender with the highest GPA after this game.

Jonathan Casillas: B- (2.58) He had a very quiet 5 tackles but wasn't a factor blitzing at all. He was pulled in passing situations to avoid his woeful coverage ability.

Scott Shanle: C (2.33) He had just 3 tackles and was out of the play for way too much of the game. If Casillas was quiet, Shanle was not present. No major mistakes, though.

Will Herring: A- (2.17) He only had one tackle and that interception, but that play was so huge and his GPA was so dismal I decided to give him a nice boost. After all this waiting he's finally done something productive this season. The reception he made reminded me of Eric Reid of LSU's catch against Alabama. Maybe not quite as dramatic but the degree of difficulty making that catch was similar, and it saved a touchdown.

Ramon Humber: B+ (2.56) He played often early in the 3-4 formation and after the interior did a good job of forcing Jacobs to bounce outside, Humber tackled well to force the play to go nowhere. He had an impressive 4 tackles including one for a loss.

Tracy Porter: C- (2.46) It was a terrible game coverage wise for Porter. Way too often he left entirely too much cushion to his man, and he tackled poorly once the play was in front of him. Anytime there's contact with him he yields a good 2-3 yards extra. He also dropped an interception, yet again, that he clearly should have had. On the bright side, he did have 10 tackles though most of that was due to the inordinate numbers of passes targeted at him, a pass defended, and a huge forced fumble that killed the game. So it was a mixed bag. He was also flagged for an incredibly stupid unnecessary roughness for riding Hakeem Nicks to the ground after he had clearly been out of bounds for what felt like an eternity. I could have given him a worse grade but mixed with all of his poor play was a few good moments.

Patrick Robinson: D+ (2.53) Like Porter, his coverage was atrocious. This reminded me of the Patrick Robinson we saw in the Packers game. Then, with the game well in hand, he stares in the backfield on a play action and allows Victor Cruz to run all alone behind him for an easy 72 yard touchdown. That was a classic Jason David moment for Robinson, who's head clearly wasn't in the game. He had 7 tackles and was flagged for being offsides on an extra point. Not much good to report.

Jabari Greer: B- (2.73) By far the best Saints' corner on the night, Greer did a good job getting physical and breaking up passes. He finished with 5 tackles and 2 defended passes. He definitely struggled with Victor Cruz at times but overall it was a decent showing. He also stopped Steve Weatherford's pathetic fake punt run attempt.

Leigh Torrence: B (2.67) He had just two tackles and didn't play much until later in the game when the Saints went in prevent mode, but I gave his grade a boost for the shot he gave to Hakeem Nicks' ribs. A nice little remember me shot there.

Roman Harper: C (2.27) Like Porter, it was a mixed bag for Harper. His coverage was once again poor, and in particular on a wounded duck by Eli Manning he showed poor awareness in allowing a nice gain to tight end Jake Ballard. He was the man who came up with the fumble recovery, though, and that was an important turnover to officially kill the game. He had four tackles and was flagged for unnecessary roughness, which I found justified. After a pass sailed long he got a gratuitous cheap shot in there that was completely unnecessary.

Malcolm Jenkins: B- (2.30) He had 8 tackles, some big hits, and a nice pass breakup that was close to being an interception. He played fine but some plays got behind him.

John Kasay: B (3.09) He went 7 for 7 on extra points and watched aimlessly as the Saints failed to convert on a fake field goal. No one should ever fake a field goal with 11 yards to go. Ever.

Thomas Morstead: B (3.46) His kickoffs weren't as good as normal. On his punts, he was again fantastic and somehow his net average was better than his gross. How is that possible? Well, on two punts the Giants returned them for -1 yards. Both punts pinned the Giants inside their own 20 and per usual it set up field position very well.

Courtney Roby: D (2.67) His lone contribution was a really stupid taunting penalty. How he got one but Brandon Jacobs didn't is astonishing. I can't even imagine what Roby must have said. He's got to use more restraint than that, though.

Isa Abdul-Quddus: A- (2.67) He had two tackles on special teams, one which saved a touchdown on a kickoff, and the other which was fantastic coverage on a punt and resulted in a one yard loss... AND he also forced a fumble on that play. Too bad the Saints couldn't recover it. In fact, the Saints only recovered one of the Giants' four fumbles. Abdul-Quddus also BLEW UP Hakeem Nicks on a pass and I docked his grade just a bit for getting a 15 yard penalty. I'm not sure what he's supposed to do there, though. He didn't lead with the helmet, he didn't launch himself, and he hit a guy catching a pass. I'm not sure if the referees made a correct application of the rules there. I know you have to refrain from lighting up a "defenseless receiver", but again, he didn't launch or lead with the helmet. So what? He has to allow him to catch the ball, come down, and then try to wrestle him to the ground? To me the application there is just poor common sense. What a great hit though, one of the most monstrous of the season.

My Defensive Player of the Game: Jo-Lonn Dunbar

My Special Teams Player of the Game: Isa Abdul-Quddus

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