Saints vs. Buccaneers Player Grades: Defense and Special Teams

Stacy Revere

You'd see the Saints give up under 20 points yet again (they've done that in 11 of 16 games) and assume they were great in their win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but honestly it was up and down. The second half was much better, but they didn't get the pass rush we're used to seeing and Mike Glennon kind of hung in there against them. That said, there was no way Tampa was going to keep up with what Drew Brees was doing on the other side. On to the grades...

Cameron Jordan: C- for the game (2.98 for the season) A very quiet day for Jordan with just 1 tackle. Give Tampa credit, they did a fantastic job of getting the ball out and blocking him well. He was a non factor.

Akiem Hicks: C- (2.79) Also a non factor, he had 1 tackle and a roughing the passer penalty for a blow to the helmet on Glennon. He did get more push than Jordan, though, and seemed to be held on almost every play.

Brodrick Bunkley: C+ (2.58) The Bucs only rushed 18 times because they got behind by so much so quick, and because they were passing so much in the second half (44 passes in total) Bunkley wasn't in on the nickel packages. His push on the interior was good, though, and while the Bucs averaged 4.2 yards per carry, their main runner Bobby Rainer only averaged 3.2.

John Jenkins: C+ (2.64) He's listed as having no tackles but he pushed the interior pretty well the few plays he saw. In particular I saw him hit Glennon once with good pressure and I saw him help finish a tackle downfield with good hustle.

Tyrunn Walker: C (2.57) He had two tackles and was flagged for roughing the passer on a weak call where he hits Glennon's helmet as he goes down to the ground. He played the run well and got some pressure, too bad on the penalty.

Glenn Foster: B- (2.40) His lone tackle was beautiful backside pursuit where he showed great speed to catch Bobby Rainey and blow a play up for a 2 yard loss. His pass rushing was not as good as I might have hoped it would be this season based on how the preseason went for him.

Junior Galette: B+ (2.83) He had 4 tackles, and two sacks, and he also dropped Bobby Rainey for a loss. One of the sacks wasn't really beneficial due to the Walker penalty. It's a generous stat line overall I think because his pressure was not as intense as I've seen it in other home games, but you can't deny the guy makes plays. He ends with 12 sacks on the season, just a half sack behind Cam.

David Hawthorne: C+ (2.80) He had 3 tackles including one for a loss on Brian Leonard where he made a great play. He was beat a couple times by short throws in coverage. A quiet day for him for the most part.

Curtis Lofton: C+ (2.85) A busy day in coverage, he was beat on a 1 yard touchdown pass to Tim Wright. He was credited for defending 3 passes and had mixed results as he finished with 6 tackles. He's obviously not in an ideal scheme when he's dropping into coverage every play but that's how the game unfolded.

Parys Haralson: B+ (2.50) He played the run very well, his stock in trade. He had 4 tackles and once dropped Rainey for a big loss, but all his plays were around the line of scrimmage. When he was in he made the most of it. He was also in on a sack with Galette.

Keenan Lewis: A- (2.83) He gave up a short pass to Chris Owusu by playing far off the line of scrimmage early, and for the rest of the game he then stayed mostly on Vincent Jackson. The Saints showed some zone looks but for teh most part he was in press man coverage one on one. Jackson did make a couple plays, most notably a 4th down reception for a first, but the bottom line is he was held to 4 catches for 35 yards as Tampa's biggest offensive threat on 12 targets. Lewis completely neutralized him. He had a terrific interception on a quick release by Mike Glennon in the second half, and he played a deep ball perfectly in the end zone for a beautiful break up. He was flagged once for pass interference on one of the worst calls I've seen... par for the course with this officiating crew throughout the game.

Corey White: C (2.40) The cushion he gave allowed a lot of throws to happen in front of him and he had some trouble staying with Tiquan Underwood who had 5 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. He could have used over the top help in the flea-flicker. He had 6 tackles and at least had a couple physical plays.

Malcolm Jenkins: D+ (2.48) A pretty woeful day for him. He was beat over the top by biting badly on a flea-flicker to allow Underwood to get behind him. He went too low to tackle Brian Leonard on a big run once and was hurdled in embarrassment. The Saints moved him into nickel coverage on passing plays in the slot, and free safety in shell defense. His center field ability continues to be suspect, but to his credit I think he's pretty good covering the slot. Obviously not the Saints first option, but with Kenny Vaccaro, Patrick Robinson and Jabari Greer all out the Saints trust him more than the reserve corners. He had 1 tackle. To his credit he saved a touchdown by forcing Underwood out of bounds.

Roman Harper: B- (2.37) He had 8 tackles to lead the team. Some of that was getting victimized in coverage, but I actually thought he did ok on Tim Wright, contesting a couple passes enough to force incompletions. He tackled pretty well but was flagged for holding on special teams.

Rafael Bush: B (2.62) A good first game back. He came in at free safety in nickel situation when Jenkins would move to the slot and I thought he read the plays well and made a couple good jumps on the ball. He was unfortunate not to come up with an interception at one point giving Vincent Jackson over the top coverage. He had 3 tackles, tackling surely as the last line of defense, and 3 defended passes.

Trevin Wade: C+ (2.33) Was credited with one defended pass and did a decent job coming in as a reserve defender. He seems to have preference as the dime cover guy right now.

Rod Sweeting: C+ (2.33) He had 1 tackle as a reserve cover man in spot duty.

***

Shayne Graham: B- (2.84) He made all 6 extra points. I would hope he can do that. No field goals attempted, an easy day at the office.

Thomas Morstead: C (3.25) He averaged 40.3 yards on 4 punts and just 35.25 net. Pretty mediocre day especially for him. Two of his punts were pinned inside the 20, but one went for a touchback and another went out of bounds shorter than he wanted. His kickoffs didn't seem as deep as usual.

Kevin Reddick: B+ (2.63) He downed a Morstead punt at the 9 and he had a special teams tackle. A good contribution as usual.

Will Herring: C- (2.41) He had one tackle and was flagged for holding on a Darren Sproles return that pinned the Saints deep in their own territory.

My Defensive Player of the Game: Keenan Lewis

My Special Teams Player of the Game: Kevin Reddick

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