New Orleans Saints defensive and special teams player grades vs. Broncos

New Orleans Saints defensive and special teams player grades vs. Broncos


New Orleans Saints defensive and special teams player grades vs. Broncos


Hard to believe the two best defensive performances this season (this game and Giants) have resulted in two losses for the Saints. This was an excellent showing. 2 interceptions, 6 sacks, yielded 2.8 yards per carry, and only 234 yards passing. Without the four turnovers by the offense and the returned 2 points, they would have given up a lot less points. This isn’t the best offense they will face by any means, in fact it’s one of the worst, but the Saints defense dominated. Give them a ton of credit for a great game. Special teams, on the other hand, continues to be a dumpster fire.

Cam Jordan: A+ (2.82) Tied for the team lead with 9 tackles and was a one man wrecking crew. He provided consistent pressure, was held constantly with no calls, got a sack, stuffed three runs and got a couple hits on Siemien. His best game of the season. Utterly dominant from start to finish. He was real close to a multiple sack game and was excellent on almost every snap. Did a good job in pursuit of bootlegs. His run defense was incredible.

Nick Fairley: A- (2.70) Showed more fire and a quicker first step in this one. He had 4 tackles and a sack. A really good showing and like Jordan he did a good job both in pass rush and stuffing the run. Got upfield with consistency.

Tyeler Davison: B+ (2.46) He had 4 tackles and was unlucky not to get credited with a half sack on Rankins’s. He showed good hustle in pursuit behind the play and held his blocks well. He was a huge part of the Saints holding the Broncos to 2.8 yards per carry.

Paul Kruger: B (2.13) He played the run well. He had 4 tackles. On Fairley’s sack he created the initial pressure with a great bull rush. He wasn’t providing pressure consistently but he flashed and put a couple nice hits on Siemien after the release. He also did a good job recognizing a screen forcing a throw away.

Sheldon Rankins: B+ (2.83) He had 2 tackles, a sack, and a hurry on a play that forced Siemien to throw the ball away. Showed a quick first step and was disruptive. A really good sign. This kid can play and he’s only going to get better. The pass rush benefited greatly from him being in the mix.

Darryl Tapp: B (2.38) A nice contribution in limited snaps for the run stopping specialist. He had 2 tackles and a huge hit on Siemien rushing.

Kasim Edebali: C (1.93) Showed some hustle and held his blocks but made no impact in limited snaps.

David Onyemata: C (2.00) Played very little and seemed to be running behind the play sideline to sideline whenever he was in.

Craig Robertson: B+ (2.78) Timed a blitz perfectly to notch a big 3rd down sack. Tied for the team lead with 9 tackles. Solid against the run, though he missed a couple of reads and decent in coverage though he was fortunate on one play with a bad drop by the tight end.

Dannell Ellerbe: B+ (3.00) Blitzed A LOT, and was often disruptive. Very strong against the run, too, and viciously going after the ball. The guy is a really good football player. I wish we could see more of him. He had 7 tackles and a sack. He really can do it all which is rare for a linebacker. There’s no play call where he is a liability.

Nate Stupar: C- (2.41) Played little and had 1 tackle in run support. Thought he was possibly responsible for being slow coming over to one throw in the flat.

Delvin Breaux: C- (2.45) He’s coming back from injury and he had some moments. His strength and tackling in short yardage is evident – that’s still good. He can still press, too, but his speed isn’t quite there yet. You can tell he’s still making his way back from the broken leg. Demaryius Thomas had his way with him at times, including a jump ball on 3rd and goal to tie the game at 17. He had 6 tackles.

Sterling Moore: B+ (2.55) He likes to give some cushion and then come up and lay big hits. At times it led to plays being made in front of him. He had 5 tackles and 2 defended balls. He had an interception before halftime that completely flipped the momentum of the game and put the Saints back in it. That interception was returned for 8 yards. He’s a good player, even if he does give up plays here and there. Tackled physically.

B. W. Webb: C (2.52) Played some and was ok in coverage, though he left one player wide open on a 3rd down scramble where he was fortunate the pass rush forced an incompletion.

Ken Crawley: C+ (2.11) Had one tackle late filling in for Breaux that forced a field goal.

Jairus Byrd: C (2.18) Quiet day where he finished with 3 tackles, one on Norwood in the open field where he showed great technique and saved what would have potentially been an enormous gain. Put a nice hit on Jordan Taylor in the end zone to attempt to jar the ball loose but gave up a touchdown there.

Vonn Bell: B (2.54) He wasn’t great in coverage early in the game but got better and better as the game progressed. Showed physicality against the run and started to jump routes a bit. By the end he was all over the field flying around. Bell is going to be a good player and this was encouraging. He had 6 tackles, a break up, and a very near interception.

Kenny Vaccaro: B+ (2.96) Was beaten on a couple crossing routes by tight ends in coverage early. Like Bell, he got better as the game progressed. Stuffed the run at times. He had 9 tackles, a sack, and an interception which he returned for 30 yards. It looked like he might take it for a score for a second there. A pretty awesome game overall, but he had a personal foul penalty that was costly. I like his aggression but it was an unnecessary hit on Siemien as the QB was headed out of bounds. It was a big hit which added to the shock factor, but if you re-watch it it was close to being a clean hit. I hope he doesn’t get suspended, he’s the heart and soul of the defense.


Wil Lutz: C- (2.59) Hard to blame him on the block, though trajectory has been an issue for him. I don’t really think he had any shot on that PAT. He made his two other extra points and a  30 yard kick before halftime. You can blame him for his onside kick attempt, though, which was terrible.

Thomas Morstead: C+ (3.18) He was run into on his first punt and limping thereafter which clearly affected his ability to punt. Give him credit for hustling like a madman until the end trying to chase down Will Parks despite the injury. He had 4 punts for just 40.8 (low for him), but two inside the 20. His net was a low 36.5 and he set up a couple of punts for returnable situations.  Give him credit for gutting it out.

Jake Lampman: B- (2.84) Got another tackle and was frequently the first guy down. He’s a good gunner and is now preferred to Brian Dixon. He’s a good player.

Justin Drescher: C+ (2.00) He does a good job and nothing he can do on the blocked PAT. Ideally the snapper blocks the “jumper” to draw a flag for leverage on the defender, but he was pushed down and the refs didn’t catch it (that is leverage and was ignored).


My defensive player of the game: Cameron Jordan

My special teams player of the game: Jake Lampman

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