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Quarterpole Grades: Linebackers

Despite their descent into the hellacious depths of .500-level averageness, the Panthers are a formidable squad. Regardless of whether Jake Delhomme or David Carr is throwing the ball, Steve Smith is a threat to any secondary (Threat Level Midnight) and requires a double-team on every play. The Panthers can still run and grind out the clock, but their offense doesn't seem as reliant on the ground-n-pound as it once was.

Defensively the Panthers will be playing without linebacker Dan Morgan, but their star-studded defensive line should give the Saints fits.

I get the feeling that the Saints' defense will need to win this game.

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Just a refresher:

2006-2007 Saints Defense
YPG Pass YPG Rush YPG TDs/Game
2006 Saints 324.1 195.1 128.9 2.3
2007 Saints 355.3 239 116.3 3.7

In my opinion, the linebackers have been the only unit on this team that has played at a reasonably productive level. They aren't a dominant unit, just solid, and their performance is undoubtedly tied to the play of the units surrounding them. The Dome Patrol, they ain't.

Hence, I gave them a B.