Using grades from Pro Football Focus, I will be "Grading the Saints" after every game this season using mostly numbers from the experts over at PFF, as well as anything else that may not be applicable with the numbers given on the site. While PFF isn't the end-all-be-all in terms of evaluating the performances of players, the website has a proven past of being the best measurement available to accurately transfer on-field performance to understandable numbers. You can consider it the sabremetrics of football.
Overall Team Grade
It's hard to put a grade on preseason games, as multiple units are ran out on the field, and the starting unit is the one that most people care about performance wise. Against the Patriots on Saturday, the starting units for the Saints played fairly well and mostly received positive grades, while the backups came in and heavily weighed down the overall grades for the team.
Offensive Grade: B-
Offensively, the Saints came out of the game with a -3.5 rating. Specifically, the team was rated at 1.4 for passing, -3.2 for rushing, 1.5 for pass blocking, 1.0 for screen blocking, -4.4 for rush blocking, and 0.2 for penalties.
The bulk of the negative rankings for the Saints were due to the backup units, so the grade won't be as bad as it regularly would for that sort of ranking. The one true concern though was the offensive line, as only two lineman had any sort of positive influence in run blocking while quite a few had terrible games. It's an area that many fans would love to see an improvement in before the season starts.
Defensive Grade: C-
The defense was a mixed bag as well that ended up showing very poorly once the night was over. They finished with an awful -6.4 rating in the game. The specific numbers were 6.4 for rush defense, -4.6 pass defense, -6.5 pass coverage, and -1.7 penalty.
Other than a run defense that ranked very impressively led by a nice performance from the defensive line, there was very little to be happy about with the defensive play. The opening drives were nice, but it was a fairly unproductive performance afterwards.
QB Drew Brees
In just 21 snaps, Drew Brees achieved a 3.1 rating in a very efficient appearance in his first preseason work. All of Brees' 3.1 rating came from passing. PFF has always been quite favorable to Brees in the past, and it was no different in Brees' impressive line from Saturday night.
WR Brandin Cooks
As expected, Brees' main beneficiary was Brandin Cooks who put up a 2.7 rating in the game. He was 2.3 in passing, -0.2 in rushing, 0.5 in run blocking, and 0.1 in penalties. The second year receiver has been impressive so far in the preseason, and he's ranked 8th so far on PFF for receivers through the first two games.
LT Terron Armstead
Terron Armstead and Max Unger were the only offensive linemen who performed well at all in the game. Armstead led with a balanced 1.4 rating. He was 0.6 in pass blocking, 0.7 in run blocking, and 0.1 in penalties.
DE Cameron Jordan
Cameron Jordan made his impact in the game with run defense as he recorded four stops in the game. Stops indicate a solo tackle that constitutes an offensive failure. His overall grade was a 3.6 with a 4.2 run defense grade, a -0.7 pass rush grade, and 0.1 penalty grade. With some pass rush, Jordan would've had an extremely high rated game.
LB Hau'oli Kikaha
The rookie linebacker had a great game against New England, and his grades show it. Hau'oli Kikaha finished a 3.3 rating in the game. He had three stops and was rated at 1.3 in run defense and 2.0 in pass rush.
QB Garrett Grayson
After Garrett Grayson's solid debut last week, he didn't follow up very well against the Patriots. He finished with a -3.1 rating in the game with -1.5 coming from passing and -1.6 coming from rushing. Grayson had a fumble in the game and threw a very bad pass in the end zone that highlighted his less-then-stellar game.
RT Andrus Peat
Andrus Peat saw his snaps go down to 36 in the second preseason game, and he wasn't able to finish with a positive rating like last week. His numbers were -1.8 overall, -0.5 pass block, -1.4 run block, and 0.1 penalty.
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste
Stanley Jean-Baptiste just hasn't been very good since being drafted by the Saints, and he once again failed to take advantage of his 38 snaps on Saturday. His rating came in at -2.9, which I thought may have been generous. That number was split by a -2.5 pass coverage rating and a -0.4 run defense rating.
LB Stephone Anthony
Unlike Jean-Baptiste, I thought Stephone Anthony's grade was a bit harsh in this game. He seemed to make some nice plays and was in the mix for most of his snaps, but PFF rated him quite poorly - especially in run defense. His rating was -2.0 with -1.7 run defense, -0.2 pass rush, and -0.1 pass coverage.