Monday, October 5, 2009

Saints Nation: Players Grades vs. Jets

See below the grades for the Saints against the Jets. Remember, the GPA you see after the grade is cumulative for the season. Big props to the defense for their performance - and you'll notice the first A+ given out by Saints Nation this season.


Drew Brees: B- (3.00)
It wasn't pretty from a statistical standpoint, but Brees did a good job securing the football. He wasn't sacked, and he got the ball out in a quickly manner. The Jets defense had the Saints receivers locked and bottled for a good part of the day and Brees couldn't find open receivers. He was less accurate than usual, but also made a nice 7 yard run for a first down. For the second straight week Brees was held without a touchdown and threw for just 190 yards. The best play he made was drawing Kris Jenkins offsides on the snap count on a crucial 4th and 1 to give the Saints a first down. That won't show up in the stats, but that's one of those little things Brees does that makes him so special.

Reggie Bush: B- (2.17)
Mixed bag once again for Bush. At times running the football he looked explosive and dangerous, at other times he went back to his usual bouncing outside and getting hit for a loss routine. He had a couple nice catches. Finally he ran a nice return on a punt, going for 22 yards and almost breaking it. The lost fumble, however, let the Jets back in the game, and he also let a punt hit that ended up rolling for favorable Jets yardage. We still need to see more consistency out of Bush.

Pierre Thomas: A- (3.84)
He's a joy to watch, he really is. He's such a fighter and the way he finishes off his runs are admirable. Thomas ended with 86 yards rushing and 46 receiving, and probably should have seen the ball more than the did. Thomas also scored the game sealing touchdown late on a powerful 1 yard run. The only negative was he was stood up on a couple short yardage plays, including a 4th and 1. Overall, though, I think Pierre is currently the best player on offense for the Saints (besides maybe Brees)

Heath Evans: B (3.25)
Evans had 3 carries for 12 yards, and one catch for 11 yards. He once again show decent speed and power with the football in his hands, and he's a clear upgrade over a player I loved in Mike Karney. Evans threw some great blocks, but it was disappointing to see him get stacked up on a goal line rushing attempt from the 1. He also had a pass from Brees hit him right in the hands that he dropped.

Marques Colston: C (2.83)
Colston was covered very well by the Jets, and at times it seemed like his route running was poor. He finished with just 2 catches for 33 yards, but his blocking downfield on running plays was good.

Devery Henderson: C+ (3.25)
Henderson finished with just 3 catches for 21 yards, but it seemed like his catches were in traffic and nice/secure catches. He seemed to get targeted the most, but it wasn't an impressive performance by any means.

Robert Meachem: C+ (2.66)
Meachem had a very quiet day and was overall disappointing. His one catch (for 19 yards), though, was a crucial play on a 3rd down conversion. This was the drive the would give the Saints the 24-10 lead, so it kept the game sealing drive alive. He made a beautiful catch with good coverage and turned it into yardage after the catch. Meachem had a shot at a deep ball that could have been a touchdown, but Brees overthrew him.

Jeremy Shockey: B (3.33)
Shockey did a good job catching and blocking. I can't help but think at times that Shockey looks slow, and I wonder if he's lost a step from his heydey. That said, when Brees went his way we saw his usual reliable hands. Shockey had 4 catches for 34 yards.

David Thomas: B- (2.67)
Thomas was used frequently as a blocker, and did well. He sprung one of Thomas' runs with a great job sealing the edge. Thomas was quiet in the passing game but did have a 18 yard reception downfield during an all out blitz. Not a bad backup to have.

Zach Strief: B+ (3.17)
Everyone made a big deal about the Saints being down to their 3rd left tackle, but Strief has filled in this spot before and I still think he's a better option than Bushrod. He played a very solid game. He was actually pretty effective in the running game, and was excellent in pass blocking. He did get Brees hit on one blitz package where he went to help double David Thomas' blocking assignment and left a hole for the blitzer. There's a couple of plays you want back, but the Saints can win with him at left tackle. He's yet to have a bad game when he's filled in and he's shown he's a guy the Saints can trust.

Carl Nicks: B- (3.17)
Nicks was the guy the Saints ran behind on most of the Saints' short yardage situations. Mixed results, but he did get pushed back into Pierre Thomas on the 4th and 1 that came up short. Overall he had a lot of good blocks that set up big runs for the Saints, but he had some miscues as well. A less consistent performance from him than what we saw in the first 3 weeks.

Jonathan Goodwin: B (3.33)
Goodwin had a holding penalty, but was again solid. I love watching him pull and throw lead blocks on the screen passes. He's got good quickness getting off the line and you can tell he's getting more comfortable with a year of starting under his belt.

Jahri Evans: B (3.50)
Evans had a holding penalty that negated a good run, and pinned the Saints back deep in their territory. Other than that, he was solid as usual. He threw tremendous blocks on several of the nice runs, and he was once again impeccable in pass protection. The short yardage plays that worked were usually behind him.

Jon Stinchcomb: B+ (2.75)
This was Stinchcomb's best game so far this season with the Saints. He did a good job sealing his edge in pass protection giving Brees a tremendous amount of time to throw. I felt he was the weak link to this point on the offensive line, but he proved me wrong today.


Will Smith: A (2.92)
Awesome performance. With the Saints up 10-0 he forced a Mark Sanchez fumble in the end zone that the Saints recovered for a TD that gave the Saints a 17-0 lead. Momentum was swinging after the Saints had been stopped 4 straight plays from inside the 3, but Will Smith got them the touchdown a few plays later. He finished with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and 4 tackles. He was solid against the run.

Charles Grant: A (2.42)
It's been a really long time since Grant played this well. This was like watching the Charles Grant pre-contract days for one game. Let's hope he can keep it up. Grant had 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and a deflected pass. He was aggressive all day against the run, sure in his tackling, and disruptive to the Jets passing game.

Bobby McCray: B- (2.34)
McCray combined with Fujita for a huge stop in the backfield on a 3rd and short late in the game. He also had nice pursuit on a play where Sanchez scrambled and he caught him from behind. He was quiet otherwise, and finished with 2 tackles, but I gave him a decent grade because I was happy to see him make a big play against the run. He's been spotty there and that'll hopefully be a confidence booster for him. With the way Grant and Smith are playing though, he may see less time.

Anthony Hargrove: C (2.11)
Quiet day for Hargrove, not much to speak of. No glaring mistakes, no notable plays. He finished with 2 tackles.

Sedrick Ellis: B (3.17)
Ellis somehow finished with 1 tackle, I'm not sure how that's possible. He was on almost every single play against the run, and did a great job of competing. He also was seen chasing Sanchez around often and had an active game. The stats don't always tell it all, because he played well. As evidence by the Jets' lack of success at doing anything, he put the linebackers in position to often make plays.

Remi Ayodele: A- (2.45)
Ayodele was excellent. He scored his first career touchdown on a fumble recover in the end zone, and finished with 2 tackles. He had solid work moving the pile and creating poor running lanes for Thomas Jones et al all day. This was his best game so far, so it's good to see he's getting better.

Scott Fujita: B- (2.75)
Quiet day overall for Fujita, but the run play he combined with McCray on that I mentioned earlier was big. He finished with 4 tackles.

Scott Shanle: B (3.00)
Shanle was steady, and seem to be in the right spot often. He was tough against the run and didn't have to work much in the passing game. He finished with 5 tackles.

Jonathan Vilma: B- (3.00)
Not his best game. On one wildcat formation play, a huge lane was created by Vilma being knocked to the ground. I'm sure Vilma would've preferred a better game against his old team. he did finish with 6 tackles, but half of those were assists where he wasn't the main tackler. Quiet day overall.

Jabari Greer: A- (3.58)
Greer has been a terrific pickup. He had 6 tackles, and he did a fabulous job covering Jerricho Cotchery. He got turned around and gave up one bad passing play, but he deflected many others and was solid in coverage. He's not afraid of sticking his nose in there in run support either.

Tracy Porter: B- (3.00)
Porter had a bonehead personal foul that negated what would have been a 3rd and 9 early in the game and instead gave the Jets an automatic first down. He finished with 5 tackles, but was beat on a couple of passing plays. His tackling was decent. He and Greer make a good, young and aggressive tandem.

Randall Gay: A (3.50)
Gay only had 3 plays that I can remember, but they were all excellent. He broke up two passes, both on 3rd and short, to force the Jets' punting unit on the field. In both cases he showed excellent tight coverage and good ball skills to force incompletions. The 3rd play was his interception late in the game. He's about as good as it gets for a #3 cornerback.

Roman Harper: B+ (3.17)
Harper finshed with 6 tackles and did a great job hitting Jets players hard. He is at his best around the box making people pay when they get near him. The only mistake I can remember was a bootleg by Sanchez on 4th and 1 where Harper had a clear shot at stopping him short of the 1st down, but hesitated and allowed Sanchez to get around him. Otherwise, he was aggressive and instinctive.

Darren Sharper: A+ (3.33)
Sharper was incredible. He's by far the best player on this Saints defense. I love Vilma, and he's a great player, but it's becoming evident that the real playmaker is Sharper. The guy now has 5 interceptions in 4 games, which is just crazy. His anticipation on some of these throws are really impressive. The guy just knows football, and he makes it look very easy. He had 2 interceptions, including one he ran back 99 yards for a touchdown. He ended with a team high 8 tackles, and was also more active against the run that usual. He was up near the line of scrimmage from time to time and had a couple of nasty hits. Sharper gets the first A+ of the season. He did have one personal foul for a helmet to helmet hit, which was the only negative, but the replay showed that was a questionable flag at best. I'm telling you Josh Bullocks would have maybe had 1 of the 5 Int's Sharper has now. If that. He's made that much of a difference.


John Carney: B+ (3.00)
Easy work for Carney. 3 extra points, and a 34 yard field goal he hit perfectly down the middle. Would have liked to see him maybe kick that 46 yarder on 4th and 1, but he did well in the limited work he had.

Thomas Morstead: A (3.50)
Morstead had at least 3 kickoffs for touchbacks. His leg strength is astonishing. For a guy that never handled kickoffs before he absolutely crushes the ball. He's handled kickoffs so well it makes you wonder what the Saints have in store for Garrett Hartley now that he'll come off the suspended list. He averaged 38 yards on 5 punts, but pinned 2 inside the 20 and didn't have a single punt returned. The Jets' dangerous return men had no chances all day. Great job.

Courtney Roby: B (2.33)
Roby made a decent move on the only kickoff he returned, for 26 yards. He showed good discipline on downing a couple deep kickoffs, and he also had terrific coverage on one kickoff and made a big tackle around the 15.

Offense: Pierre Thomas
Defense: Darren Sharper
Special Teams: Thomas Morstead