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Saints Sunday Night Football Defensive and Special Team Grades Versus Dallas Cowboys

I Grade the defensive players as well as special teams players after Sunday nights disappointing performance.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After the "team's" disappointing performance with all aspects of the game, it's time to grade the defensive players as well as special teams. Believe it or not there were some who "Did Their Job"


Curtis Lofton: (A) Curtis was one of the bright spots in the game. Always populating to the ball. Made some key stops against underneath passes, something touted as a liability with him. The runs  that were stopped short were mainly due to him, Bunkley, and Humber. 9 solo tackles and 2 assist.

Keenan Lewis: (A) Keenan was tasked with covering Dez Bryant and did a great job for most of the night. He did have Byrd helping him with double coverage, but did his job well enough for Jairus to break off and make some key tackles. He keep Bryant to 3 receptions for 44 yards with only one for an 18 yard TD.

Jairus Byrd: (A-) Byrd was constantly forced into clean up mode behind Corey White. 6 tackles with 1 assist. I keep waiting for the INTs he is known for but behind this secondary, nothing yet. Sooner or later, Jairus is going to have to let the CBs do their job, so he can do his. His instincts are good. When in double coverage of Dez Bryant he broke off several times, to at least make a tackle. He was close a couple of times to being in position for  a breakup or to force a fumble, but just had too much distance to cover. He did have a flag thrown on him for knocking down Jason Witten, which was picked up. Byrd laid some big hits. Byrd did also miss a tackle on Murray which allowed a TD on Dallas' 3rd drive.

Ramon Humber: (B+) Humber was playing clean up last night as well, and often in the action on the running plays that were stopped for short yards.

Rafael Bush: (B) Bush had 4 tackles and 1 assist. He was key in stopping some big gains from going all the way. Good game for Bush, and I was glad Sean was serious when he said he had to involve him, more during last week's interview.

And it's down hill from there.

Kenny Vaccaro: (C+) Kenny did make some key saves, but he was reacting too much, rather than making the plays in the first place. I just haven't seen the aggressiveness that he played with last year. I'm not sure he is 100% from the broken ankle, and he may be a little timid from the early concussions he had last season. Okay, I had to change Kenny's grade to a C+. I just managed to see the end of the game, and he had the only sack.

Akiem Hicks: (D+) Hicks had 2 tackles making plays after Bunkley was pushed down.

Junior Galette: (D+) Junior did have a few pressures, but was largely held handled. He was usually directed outside and nullified. Galette had 1 tackle.

Cameron Jordan: (D) 1 tackle and 1 assist. Not much from Jordan in this one either.

Brodrick Bunkley: (D) He make an early stop on DeMarco Murray holding him to 1 yard on the first series, but was manhandled the rest of the game and even washed out by Dallas's lineman on the first TD drive. Bunkley had 2 tackles and 2 asssist.

Glenn Foster: (D) 1 tackle.

Tyrunn Walker: (D) 1 tackle

Parys Haralson: (D) 1 tackle 2 assist. At times he was decent against the run, but I can't grade him higher. He was brought in specifically for his run stopping skills, and it just has to be more than, once and a while.

Corey White (F) (D-) Corey was abused often, but he did do a good job of tackling. Not many really got away from him, but that is because he kept them all in front of him, instead of press and cover. If Rob is teaching them to play this far off, then he needs to re-evaluate who he has out there.

Brian Dixon: (F) I hate to grade the UDFA this harsh, but he had 1 tackle and allowed a TD, in very limited play. He was running with the receiver, but much like Stanley Jean-Baptiste, never turned his head.

Special Teams:

Thomas Morstead: (A+) Thanks to Thomas there isn't much to grade on the ST coverage guys. Constantly booting kickoffs out of the end zone, and really only 1 punt was returned.

Kasim Edebali: Honorable mention. Had 1 tackle on a 30 yard kick return.

Shayne Graham: (F) Missed a 41 yard field goal, killing any potential momentum. Made 2 extra points and  1, 30 yard field goal. I still think we should have went with Dimike.


Rob Ryan: I'm not going to fail Rob. I know many will disagree and want his head, but the players have to play. I've heard all the hype. The plays are too complex, causing communication issues. Doesn't blitz enough. Poor play calling. Well, I hate to break it to you but, he dialed up blitzes, stacked 8 in the box, double covered, and still we were trashed out there. It's not on Rob, for this one. The players can claim all of this one.