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Saints team grading after first 3 weeks of the season

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A look at Pro Football Focus grades handed to the Saints through the first three weeks of the 2017 NFL season.

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Today, we take a look at how every Saints player has been playing so far this season. We do this by using the Pro Football Focus grading system.

Offense

2 Tight Ends

3 Wide Receivers

Notable grades that don't appear in the starting lineup:

  • Adrian Peterson: 56.7
  • TommyLee Lewis: 74.3
  • Michael Hommanawanui: 47.6
  • Josh LeRibeus: 75.6
  • Zach Strief: 77.0

Conclusion

We are used to seeing the offense dominate no matter how the defense plays, but this year has been different. Because of the injuries to Terron Armstead and Zach Strief, the running game has gotten off to a slow start, and Brees has been forced to release the ball earlier than normal. With that being said, the offense has still been able to move the ball. Brees and Michael Thomas have continued to show their great connection from last year, and Coby Fleener has been playing well. Add Willie Snead to that and you will start to see the high-powered passing attack we are accustomed to seeing.

The running game showed up against the Panthers, but outside of that it has been an uphill battle. The team has been forced to pass the ball more and when Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson, and Alvin Kamara have been getting touches, there haven't been many holes to go through. This could change big time when Armstead and Strief return as the O-line establishes some stability.

Defense

Base Defense

Nickel Package

Notable grades that don't appear in the starting lineup:

  • Trey Hendrickson: 72.8
  • Hau'oli Kikaha: 48.4
  • David Parry: 71.7
  • Mitchell Loewen: 52.4
  • Craig Robertson: 69.4
  • Marshon Lattimore: 82.4
  • Sterling Moore: 46.1
  • Vonn Bell: 38.8
  • Rafael Bush: 49.5

Conclusion

The Saints defense played a great game on Sunday, but before that the play had been awful. They made Sam Bradford look like an All-Pro, and didn't put up a fight against Tom Brady and the Patriots. Guys like De'Vante Harris, Kenny Vaccaro, and P.J. Williams really struggled in coverage. Ken Crawley took over for Harris against the Panthers and looked great. Williams also looked much better, most likely because they kept him away from the slot where lots of mistakes were coming from. With Lattimore, they have a good CB unit with lots of potential. So far, every safety outside of Marcus Williams has struggled. This could potentially be addressed by using the 3-safety set more, just like we saw against the Panthers and in previous seasons.

Other than coverage, the defense really hasn't played that bad. There has been more pressure on the quarterback than in the past and the run defense has been fine. If the secondary can correct some of their mistakes, then this unit could be a good one.