New Orleans Saints Rookie Run-Down: Weeks 3 and 4

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Spor

Kenny Vaccaro is making a statement - the "Hitman' is coming!

Who Dat, 4-0 baby!

Sure feels good to see the New Orleans Saints doing so well! It has to be quite fulfilling to join a team with a chip on its shoulder and a point to prove, especially when said team is riding a four game winning streak. The Saints 2013 draft class is in a position to be a part of a magical ride to greatness for Drew Brees and Sean Payton. Some rookies are making their mark immediately, while others have the opportunity to be groomed as eventual replacements to current starters. Any way you slice it, the present and future looks bright for the Black & Gold with these guys on-board. Let’s Go!

Kenny Vaccaro, S

Vaccaro continues to impress with inspired play and quality contributions on defense and special teams. Vaccaro’s presence has had a positive impact on the play of safety Malcolm Jenkins as well. After two solid performances against division rivals, The Hitman was a key component in wins over Arizona and Miami. Against the Cardinals, Vaccaro tallied his first interception and flew around the field all day. On Monday Night Football, Vaccaro quietly played the role of run support, while the Saints defense gave a variety of looks with different defensive backs subbing in and out of the game. In short, he was not asked to cover too much, a tip to the lack of explosion at receiver (besides Mike Wallace) on the Dolphins.

Week 3 & 4 Performance: Against the Cardinals Vaccaro accounted for 6 solo tackles, one assisted tackle, and notched his first career interception. In prime-time, Vaccaro made the least noise with 3 solo tackles and one assisted tackle. His season totals through four games are 19 solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 2 passes defended, and 1 interception. At just over five tackles per game, he is on pace to finish the season with 84 total tackles.

Terron Armstead, OT

Charles Brown has held up thus far, so Mr. Armstead’s services have not yet been needed. His time will come…

Week 3 & 4 Performance: Inactive/DNP

Johnathan Jenkins, NT

Wow! The more I see Jenkins play, the luckier I feel that the Saints were able to draft him in the second round. Maybe the fact that he lasted so long in the draft has inspired him to prove those who passed him over wrong. Whatever his motivation is, I am definitely enjoying his play and development as an interior lineman. Jenkins may not have flashy statistics, but those who understand the details of football can see how great of a job he is doing.

Week 3 & 4 Performance: As expected, Jenkins is not a stat sheet stuffer from the nose tackle position. His primary job is to clog the middle on run plays and push the pocket in passing situations, both of which he is doing well. Against the Cardinals, Jenkins recorded 2 tackles and controlled his area of the field for most of his snaps. In the Miami game, Jenkins stood his ground by accumulating two tackles and making it tough to run up the middle. His season totals are modest with 8 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle after 4 games. A situational evaluation of Jenkins indicates that his performance is steady throughout the first and second half and in any down distance, a clear sign that he can be depended upon no matter what situation is at hand.

Kenny Stills, WR

After an exciting preseason that demonstrated Stills’ ability to get open and display sure hands, the rookie wide receiver went quiet. In the first two games, he managed to start at wide-out over fellow youngster Nick Toon. An injury to Lance Moore opened the door for Toon to be added to the active roster and with Moore out, I believed that Stills would be Brees’ go to guy when he wasn’t looking for Marques Colston or Jimmy Graham. Unfortunately, that has not been the case and Stills has been less productive. I won’t get down on Stills yet, because Brees is beginning to find his stride and the young receiver should see an up-tick in production in the coming weeks.

Week 3 & 4 Performance: In week 3 versus Arizona, Stills played a decent amount of snaps but did not record a statistic. He picked up the pace on Monday Night against the Dolphins with 4 catches for 38 yards, but didn’t manage to make any splash plays. He must find a way to get Drew’s attention and have more passes come his way.

Rufus Johnson, LB

Nothing to see here folks, barring a rash of injuries, Johnson will ride out his rookie season with a red-shirt. Take it as an opportunity to learn and get better with a chance to be a part of a young and resurgent defense!

Week 3 & 4 Performance: Practice Squad, DNP

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