Saints vs. Jets Player Grades: Defense and Special Teams

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints gave up 26 points to the Jets on Sunday, which is high for them, and it was their run defense that did them in. Geno Smith was 8 for 19 for 115 yards and sacked twice. When a quarterback plays like that against you it should be an automatic win every time. But that would be discounting 198 yards rushing at 5.5 per attempt. Most of that was Chris Ivory embarrassing his old team and that was the difference.

Cameron Jordan: C for game (2.96 for season) With just 2 tackles and a defended pass this was probably one of his weaker games of the season. His compromised ankle is definitely slowing him down and he just wasn't able to show the same explosiveness or even power in the trenches. The most notable play was a shot he had at Geno Smith in space on a goal line carry where Smith badly juked him for an easy touchdown.

Akiem Hicks: B+ (2.75) As bad as the Saints were against the run, it wasn't because of Hicks who was incredibly physical. Consider where his 6 tackles came: -2 yard run, 1 yard run, -1 yard run, -2 yard run, 1 yard run, 0 yard run. They were all or behind the line of scrimmage. The guy is a beast and has been playing the run incredibly well the last few weeks.

Brodrick Bunkley: B- (2.56) John Jenkins hardly got to play this week and I thought that was a mistake. While Bunkley was ok, I thought they could ahve used Jenkins' size in the trenches. Still, Bunkley held his blocks pretty well. He seems healthy and recovered. He had 3 tackles.

Tom Johnson: C- (2.14) He made no impact as a sub and was neutralized at the line of scrimmage.

Glenn Foster: C- (2.28) Constantly running after the play he was a liability against the run.

Keyunta Dawson: C- (1.89) Ditto to the other two, he played limited snaps and brought nothing. I've yet to see why this guy was brought in.

Parys Haralson: C+ (2.58) He had 4 tackles around the line of scrimmage and played the run very well overall, but he got dominated by Chris Ivory on a blitz and he over-pursued on one counter play that left a huge lane for Chris Ivory to go for a massive gain. Poor job filling in his lane there. Overall he was fine, but the one mistake was felt.

David Hawthorne: B+ (3.12) He did miss a couple tackles but overall he continues to be a force. Another pretty solid game by Hawthorne who is just playing at a high level right now. He had 8 tackles, a sack, and continues to be totally adequate in coverage too.

Curtis Lofton: C+ (3.04) He did lead the team in tackles with 12, including a couple of jarring hits in traffic around the line of scrimmage, but there were way too many missed tackles, including a couple near the line of scrimmage on Chris Ivory that led to big gains.

Jonathan Vilma: D (1.00) Much ado about nothing. He had 1 tackle and the times he was in he was constantly running after the play and being blocked easily. The Saints tried to blitz him a couple times and put him in coverage and he just didn't look too impressive.

Junior Galette: C (2.92) He was swallowed up in run defense, had 2 tackles and a coverage sack near the line of scrimmage. He created edge pressure but Smith was good at escaping it. He was also flagged for jumping offsides.

Ramon Humber: C+ (2.40) He had 2 tackles (one on special teams) and came in for Lofton after his injury. Hopefully Lofton is ok. He played fine.

Keenan Lewis: B- (2.87) His coverage was pretty good save one crossing route where he was beat for decent yardage. He was helpful in run support to stop edge rushes from getting more out of hand than they already were.

Jabari Greer: C+ (2.33) He had no tackles. Came close to an interception with impeccable coverage on a dangerous ball by Smith. He didn't do a good job absorbing blocks and tackling on screens to his side.

Corey White: B (2.50) His coverage was good and he was physical in this one. Laid wood around the line of scrimmage. He's developing into a pretty good reserve cover guy.

Kenny Vaccaro: B+ (2.58) He had 5 tackles, a defended pass and 2 hits on Smith blitzing. He was very physical which we've come to expect and showed really nice hustle across the field catching up to Chris Ivory on a long run to save a touchdown. He continues to play well around the line of scrimmage. Left the game briefly with a possible rib injury.

Rafael Bush: B (2.50) Pretty good against the run, he played well in the box and was good as the last line of defense. He also had a big tackle on Josh Cribbs on special teams that possibly saved a bigger return from happening. He had 5 tackles.

Isa Abdul-Quddus: C+ (2.50) He had 1 tackle and did a good job in center field preventing a touchdown.

***

Garrett Hartley: B- (2.92) He missed another kick which was very concerning to start the game from 41. But give him credit, he nailed a career long 55 yarder and came back to hit a 43 yarder that made it a one score game in the 4th quarter. Both kicks were really clutch. Given his possible lack of confidence going into a 55 yarder I was shocked he made it. Give Hartley credit for bouncing back from a really bad spell. Still, that miss early hurt.

Thomas Morstead: B (3.58) He pinned both of his punts inside the 20, neither of them being returned, for an average of 41 yards per punt. One was out of bounds at the 19, the other was a perfect kick downed inside the 5. All five of his kickoffs were return, I presume because it was harder to launch them given the conditions.

Travaris Cadet: C+ (2.33) His kickoff returns were abysmal. He had trouble catching the football and that was scary in its own right, but his returns were just pathetic. He averaged 20.3 yards per return on 3 and never seemed to make anyone miss or break any tackles. I do bump his grade up, though, because he had two tackles in kickoff coverage and he downed Morstead's punt at the 4.

Kevin Reddick: B (2.92) He had two tackles on special teams.

My Defensive Player of the Game: Kenny Vaccaro

My Special Teams Player of the Game: Kevin Reddick

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