Saints Player Grades vs. Broncos: Defense and Special Teams

We tackle each other instead of you, no worries. - Byron Hetzler-US PRESSWIRE

The Saints could give up zero yards in Week 9 and they'd still be on pace to be the worst defense in NFL history. Is there any point in really dissecting this further?

It's the same song and dance every week, except now the players are actually starting to quit a little bit on plays. The result? Well, that really doesn't change much. It's pretty remarkable when you consider the Saints could give up 0 yards in Week 8 and they'd still be on pace to be the worst defense in NFL history. At this point there's almost no way they won't end the year with that distinction.

***

Will Smith: C+ (2.09) To me he just looks lost rushing the passer. It's odd that he gets beaten so often. Granted, he's faced an abnormal amount of really good left tackles this season but it's clear he just doesn't have that explosive step anymore. He did finish with 4 tackles and was by far the best lineman against the run, but unfortunately he couldn't get to the quarterback.

Cam Jordan: C- (2.15) He keeps getting worse every week and his lack of ability getting to the quarterback is a major liability. At this point I think he needs to be removed from the starting lineup in favor of Galette. He had 3 tackles.

Junior Galette: B- (2.48) He continues to get better and better against the run which is really encouraging. Unfortunately his stock in trade wasn't on display in this one as he struggled to get to Peyton Manning. He also had 3 tackles. He needs to start and play the entire game at this point, coming out only for breathers.

Martez Wilson: B- (2.38) He lined up standing up at defensive tackle on one play, beat the left guard like a drum and destroyed Peyton Manning, slightly injuring his thumb. That was awesome to see. He finished with 1 tackle but at least he left a remember me hit on the QB. One of the few times we've seen that this season.

Turk McBride: D+ (1.17) He had two tackles and a criminally bad hold on Willis McGahee trying to run a screen that gave the Broncos an automatic first down on 2nd and infinity. Ugh. He showed good effort but was dominated at the point of attack and got no pass rush.

Sedrick Ellis: C+ (1.86) He had two tackles and played so little there's not much to report. No major mistakes, though, and I actually felt the line performed slightly better against the run when he was in there.

Tom Johnson: D (1.89) He was dominated on running plays, couldn't get to the passer, and was flagged for illegal use of hands. Why is he getting so much playing time right now? But hey, he had 3 tackles.

Akiem Hicks: B+ (2.50) Another big effort from the youngster, who like Galette I believe needs to be inserted into the starting lineup and play the lion share of the snaps. He had 3 tackles including one for a loss. He came up with a huge forced fumble popping the ball out from Willis McGahee. He was the only guy that consistently cause havoc up the middle.

Will Herring: C (1.83) He "started" because the Broncos play predominantly in the nickel and the Saints like his coverage ability. But then he hardly played. I wasn't sure if he got injured or what? When he was in he was fine in coverage. He had no tackles.

Jonathan Vilma: C- (2.00) He just looked very slow. Slow to the football. His coverage was poor and he was consistently blocked out of plays, slow to the ball, or beaten on routes. I just don't think he's got what it takes right now. He did tackle physically at times, though, so that was good. He finished with 5 tackles.

Curtis Lofton: B+ (3.00) To me he was the best defender on the field. He came up with a huge pass breakup to get the defense off the field early, he ran well and was the only able and willing tackler through the game. It's really sad he needs to be associated to this defense. He had 9 tackles.

Jabari Greer: D (2.11) What a horrific game for him in coverage. He slipped down to give Eric Decker the easiest touchdown reception he'll ever have, and he was routinely beat several times. He did defend one pass and finished with 3 tackles. He seemed to show less effort late, too, which was disappointing.

Patrick Robinson: D- (1.33) I didn't fail him because he did a good job of at least helping this leaky defense somewhat limit the Broncos' running game by coming up to make tackles. His coverage was exposed all game long and really was an abomination. This is his fourth D- of the season. He had 4 tackles.

Corey White: C+ (1.52) He was beaten a couple times as well, but nowhere near as horrific as the starters (surprisingly). He had 4 tackles and battled out there.

Johnny Patrick: D (2.11) I kept begging for him to get some run and I couldn't understand why as bad as Corey White was why he wouldn't get some playing time. Well, now I get it. He was miserable in coverage and showed poor effort on a touchdown pass.

Malcolm Jenkins: C- (2.10) He put a couple decent hits on people and finished with a team tying leading 9 tackles. Don't be fooled though, almost all his tackles were way downfield, some including plays where he did a poor job in coverage. Additionally he was flagged for illegal contact. His poor form continues.

Roman Harper: C+ (2.43) He also had 9 tackles and 2 defended passes to go along with it. He actually wasn't bad in coverage, shockingly. He missed tackles that could have limited the running game, though.

Isa Abdul-Quddus: C (2.17) He played some in coverage and was mediocre. Had 2 tackles.

***

Garrett Hartley: B- (2.76) Made two extra points. Hard to really grade that, but he didn't help his team.

Thomas Morstead: A+ (3.09) He averaged 51.6 yards on 8 punts, including a net of 46.3 and 4 punts inside the 20 and no touchbacks. He neutralized a dangerous returner in Trindon Holliday. Another monstrous showing by legatron.

Rafael Bush: B- (2.75) Had 1 tackle.

Note: Courtney Roby was already graded with the offense.

***

My Defensive Player of the Game: Curtis Lofton

My Special Teams Player of the Game: Thomas Morstead

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