Saints Nation: Saints’ Offensive Player Grades vs. Panthers

Losing sucks. While the offense scored a healthy 31 points and were helped out by a pick 6, they were not totally immune from blame. The balance was piss poor (43 passes to 18 rushes) and lack of execution in the 1st and 3rd quarter allowed long stretches for their opponent to dig in. Still, in a perfect world they did enough to win with even a marginal defense. Oh well, hopefully this output will be enough to get double digit wins next year. Make the jump for the grades.


Drew Brees: B+ (2.79) His stats were 29 of 43 for 396 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. While those are astronomical, he did get a lot of garbage benefit late. Still, you take away some unfortunate drops and it's scary enough to realize how much better his stats could have been. His interception was horrid, throwing into triple coverage with nowhere to go, though. Granted his margin for error was small due to horrid defense, but that interception was a very poor decision in a crowd that pretty much sealed the Saints' fate. A good performance by the Saints QB – but he was very good and they needed him to be perfect to win. 

Mark Ingram: B- (2.42) 10 carries for 39 yards and some solid short yardage runs. Vintage Ingram really. At times beastly, at times disappointing. He probably didn't get enough reps to fully illustrate his ability to impact the game. 

Chris Ivory: B+ (2.95) Finished with 4 carries for 22 yards. I will never understand why, in a meaningless game where he had the hot hand, he wasn't utilized more. It was clear he was running with authority and stopping him was something the Panthers couldn't really do. Result? The Saints didn't play him. How can Carmichael Jr. defend himself not giving this man the ball more this year?

Darren Sproles: C+ (2.74) The Panthers seemed to sniff out any plays where the ball was coming his way, save the late score. He had 3 carries for 1 yard and 8 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. He also offered a very poor effort in the return game. The main drawback, as always, is his inability to break a tackle, ever.

Jed Collins: B+ (2.78) Really solid blocking all day long, particularly in pass protection on play action plays. He bought Brees more time every time he was asked to. He also contributed a 5 yard receptions.

Marques Colston: B+ (2.65) 5 catches for 52 yards and 2 touchdowns were his stats, including some big hits where he earned the tough yards. He did have a horrible drop on third down when wide open though, a weird habit in the second half of the season.

Lance Moore: A (2.93) He finished with 4 catches for 121 yards including one of the most ridiculous catches I've seen this season, or maybe in Saints' history. He continues to have the type of hands that make him superior to most in the league. He continues to offer field stretching ability combined with chain moving capability.

Devery Henderson: C+ (1.93) He finished with 1 reception for 16 yards – a very tough and contested grab. Otherwise he offered decent blocking here and there. He showed field stretching ability and one dimensional route running due to play calling with not much else. He was wide open downfield on a couple plays and ignored by Brees. This was likely his last game as a Saint. If so, all the best Devery and thanks for the memories.

Joseph Morgan: C- (2.26) He had an end around for 1 yard, a reception for 8 yards, and was a non factor blocking. He was covered tightly and got no separation.

Jimmy Graham: B- (2.36) Every week I grade him with some high highs and really low lows. It's gotten so old. The stats were as good as ever: 9 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. That doesn't show a couple easy drops, yet again, as well as some bonehead penalties late on the onside kicks that were inexcusable. It's just sad that you look at his stats, which are some of the best stats you'll ever see from a tight end, and think that he played crappy. But that's Jimmy Graham in a nutshell in 2012. This season couldn't end fast enough for him. Hopefully he can show us something better in 2013.

David Thomas: C- (2.22) Poor blocking and subpar contribution from the usually reliable backup.

Jermon Bushrod: B (2.56) A pretty solid day both pass blocking and run blocking. His last second chip on that 11 yard run by Ivory was crucial, and he did a fantastic job finishing plays. He did allow some edge pressure but as always benefited from a quarterback with world class footwork.

Ben Grubbs: C (2.75) Didn't get much push in the running game and was constantly chasing his pass rushers, allowing Brees to get hit on a couple of occasions. He also allowed a delay draw to Sproles to get blown up with poor blocking. Not his best game, but he wasn't awful either.

Brian de la Puente: B+ (2.52) Good physical presence on the interior and clean pass protection. He's cheap labor for the Saints at the moment as an undrafted free agent and fantastic value as a starter.

Jahri Evans: A- (2.98) Another rock solid performance showing from a deserving pro bowl lineman. His blocking and lateral movement is just fun to watch, and his dominance in the trenches is undervalued due to the team's refusal to run the ball. 

Zach Strief: C- (2.17) At times he was fantastic but he allowed two crucial sacks to Charles Johnson by flat out getting beat. 

Eric Olsen: C- (2.29) He looked lost and didn't get the usual push off the edge. Weak showing.


My Offensive Player of the Game: Lance Moore

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.


Saints Nation: Saints’ Offensive Player Grades vs. Panthers

A win is a win, sure, but the Saints are far from playoff form right now. They were sloppy on offense, and managed only 16 points despite controlling the football, clock, game and line of scrimmage for the entirety of 60 minutes. Based on the way the game went, you could tell the Saints were a far superior team, yet they were maybe 5 yards away from a John Kasay attempt that could have handed them a loss. Still, the Saints found a way to win and they’re 3-1. We’ll take it. One thing we can all be happy about is the fact that the Saints made big strides in the running game, showing more balance on offense. Make the jump for the grades!

Panthers vs Saints coverage

Panthers vs Saints recap

Panthers vs Saints boxscore





Drew Brees: B+ (3.17) His rating was only 90.2 this time around, but I thought this was one of his better games of the season. It proves that rating number is just stupid. Brees was accurate, careful with the ball, directing traffic masterfully, and moving the ball well on the Panthers. My one gripe: what happened to the Saints making throws downfield? Is it just me, or is Brees constantly settling for the throw underneath? The Saints have become a possession passing team almost entirely through 4 games, and the big plays just aren’t happening. It seemed like the few times Brees did go downfield — bomb to Meachem that received a pass interference call, pass to Colston broken up, pass to Thomas broken up — the Saints just weren’t connecting. Consider this: longest reception for Colston – 15, Henderson – 12, Moore – 11, Meachem – 9. What’s wrong with that picture? We need our perimeter to come up with bigger plays than that, and part of that is on Brees putting them in a position to do so.  Still, the Saints did a great job of moving the chains and that was in large part thanks to Brees. He was 33 for 48 (at least 6 of those were drops) for 275 yards, 1 touchdown and no turnovers.

Chris Ivory: C+ (1.83) He ran with great authority and did a very effective job on the ground. In fact, he was deserving of a B, or even a B+, if he could just hold on to the football. The bottom line, though, is the guy has now fumbled twice in just 19 carries this season. Ball security is clearly an issue for Ivory, and he’s going to have to fix that problem if he wants to continue to see the field. Matter of fact, if he develops a reputation for being a guy that puts it on the turf, he won’t last in the league. He looked a little gimpy late in the game, so he’s clearly still not 100% from that preseason injury, but give him a lot of credit for stepping in when he was needed and playing pretty well. He ran hard and looked fast. He finished with 67 yards on 12 carries (5.6 yard average).

Ladell Betts: B+ (3.33) Moose Johnston said it best in the broadcast, Betts does everything pretty well. Other than a couple plays that got blown up badly in the backfield, Betts ran the ball very effectively much like Ivory. What he did that Ivory didn’t provide, was a reliable security valve in the passing game, and a terrific ability in pass protection. Betts reminded me of Deuce McAllister the way he pass blocked. Seriously, that guy is great to have back there on passing plays, because he gives Brees another deadly second to throw, and he has very soft hands. Betts may not be the guy that will run for 1500 yards in a season, but he’s the type of guy that every team needs. He’s different than Aaron Stecker in the style on player he is, but he is similar in that he’s a terrific role player that plays to his strengths and executes his assignment well even if the play is running away from him. Sometimes it’s the little things. Betts had 47 yards on 13 carries, and 23 yards on 4 receptions. I trust him much more than Chris Ivory right now, even if Ivory has more potential.

Heath Evans: B+ (2.83) It didn’t matter who was back there, he was leading the way with some monster lead blocks. He also had a reception for 4 yards that was completely sniffed out. I’m not sure how the Panthers knew the ball was coming to Heath Evans, but the Saints may want to look into their personnel packages and see if that play was tipped off somehow. Evans did miss a block on an end around to Devery Henderson, but other than that he was on point pretty much all game opening holes for the Saints’ backs. The team needed it, too, with Pierre Thomas inactive.

Marques Colston: C+ (2.75) Despite 8 balls coming his way, Colston had just 4 catches for 36 yards. He had a chance a a deep seam route that he momentarily got his hands on, but the Panthers’ defender broke the pass up. He did make one terrific catch off  his shoetop, but overall it was a quiet game for Colston.

Devery Henderson: B- (2.50) Once again Devery had a bad drop. He’s starting to show shaky hands at times, a problem he seemed to correct last season. Still, Henderson provided a constant target underneath that moved the chains. He finished with  6 catches for 59 yards, while targeted 9 times. My question is, why is Henderson constant being thrown to underneath? He’s not known for being a reliable chain moving target that makes the tough grabs over the middle. He’s a deep threat. The Saints continue to ask him to do things that don’t play to his strengths. It’s pretty head scratching. Considering the fact that he’s having to do something he’s not accustom to, I have to commend him for coming out pretty good. He had some key 3rd down conversion receptions.

Lance Moore: C+ (2.58) His fumble inside the Panthers’ 2 plain and simple took 7 points off the board for the Saints. That turnover was inexcusable, and gave the Panthers life. You always have to hold on to the football, but turnovers inside the red zone are back breakers. Honestly, he hangs onto that football and the game could have been a blowout. That play gave the Panthers’ defense a lot of confidence. He finished with 5 catches for just 37 yards, with a number of short throws, but he was targeted almost too often. He did make up for the fumble by turning a 3rd and goal bubble screen from the 4 yard line into a touchdown. He was quick, slippery, and weaved his way through traffic on that play to find the goal line.  I also saw Lance Moore make a nice block on a running play, crushing a would be tackler to the turf.

Robert Meachem: C+ (1.89) Meachem, once again, didn’t accomplish much in terms of statistics. He’s clearly dropped behind Lance Moore in the rotation and is #4 in the pecking order at receiver. At times last year, he seemed to be the best receiver on the team. He hasn’t even been close to that this year. I hope he keeps his head in the game, though, because as much as the Saints spread the ball around, his time will come to have a big game. There’s a lot of season left. Meachem finished with 2 catches for 16 yards, one of which was a big third down conversion. Still, like Henderson, what’s with his completions being these little ins and outs? His strength, like Devery, is stretching the field. His biggest contribution was the pass interference call he drew inside the Panthers’ 5 deep down the field that led to the Saints’ only touchdown of the day. He gets a big grade boost for that play.

Jeremy Shockey: B (3.00) It was a weird game for Shockey. He had two very bad drops with balls that hit him right in his bread basket. Then, he’d make a sick catch that very few people could make. Brees didn’t let those drops effect his confidence in Shockey, and that was a good thing, because Shockey rewarded him on numerous throws. Shockey was a major contributor in the passing game, finishing with 6 catches for 58 yards. He was limping around a little bit, which you all probably know by now really annoys me. The guy is never not limping. Where he earned his grade, though, was blocking. Based on his receptions and drops, he was probably at a C+ or a B-, but I gave him a B because he sealed the edge incredibly well on running plays, and showed amazing toughness at the second level. Shockey was a big part in helping the running game succeed.

David Thomas: B+ (2.67) Thomas blocked well and he was another reliable target that moved the sticks. He finished with 5 catches for 42 yards, including a few grabs on the Saints’ final drive that led to John Carney’s game winning field goal. Thomas is always going to get opportunities based on the number of weapons the Saints have on offense, so it’s nice to see him making the most of them in this game.

Jermon Bushrod: B+ (2.67) Bushrod’s blocking overall was excellent, although he did get some help from tight ends and running backs on chips and double teams. His pass blocking was shaky at times, but Brees was able to step up in the pocket as he does so well to avoid pressure. Still, he kept his quarterback clean for the most part and he was physical in the run game.

Carl Nicks: A- (3.00) Nicks mauled people all game long. He was unmovable on passing plays, and he demolished the Panthers’ interior line. He played a clean game and was very solid.

Jonathan Goodwin: A- (2.67) Like Nicks, Goodwin got great push on the interior and he was very steady throughout the game. The Saints rushed for 121 yards and an average of 4.2, and gave up just 2 sacks in 50 pass attempts. Goodwin, showed his usual hustle getting his hat on linebackers as well when he was freed up to do so.

Jahri Evans: B- (2.67) Late in the game with the Saints close to scoring, he completely whiffed on a block that allowed Ladell Betts to get blown up in the backfield right as he took the handoff. That play would end up forcing the Saints to settle for 3, which gave the Panthers a chance to win the game with a field goal. He also had a holding penalty that would end up forcing the Saints to punt. On a sack by Charles Johnson, he was responsible for blocking him, though Brees was partly to blame for not getting rid of the ball quick enough. Based on those 3 plays, which were all admittedly bad, you’d think he deserves a worse grade… but the truth is besides those plays, he was outstanding. On Lance Moore’s touchdown, he blew up a Panthers’ defender at the goal line to give Moore just enough room to score. On a couple delay hand offs to Ladell Betts, he muscled the interior to create a huge path for Betts to gain significant yards. He was very good on passing plays and running plays. The reality is, though, that while Nicks and Goodwin were both solid throughout, Evans navigated between spectacular and mediocre. Ultimately, spectacular mixed with bad earns you a worse grade than continually solid.

Jon Stinchcomb: B- (2.67) Like big Jahri, Stinchcomb made more big plays that stood out, both good and bad. On a rush around the edge by Chris Ivory, Stinchcomb opened up a huge lane for Ivory that allowed him to bulldoze for a first down on the right edge on a sweep for a 12 yard gain. Shockey sealed the edge perfectly, by the way, on that same play. Stinchcomb was beaten very badly by James Anderson on a blitz on the last play of the first half, where Anderson got a sack and forced fumble. Stinchcomb made some big time blocks, but looked a bit shaky at other times.

Zach Strief: C- (2.00) Strief looked a little slow and wasn’t as lights out as usual blocking off the edge. The guy just isn’t a tight end, so while it’s nice to have his size in the game from time to time, maybe the Saints should just go ahead and give him some snaps at tackle? I noticed the Panthers did a good job of getting around Strief when he was in the game. His biggest mishap was that he had a clear and easy chance at recovering Chris Ivory’s fumble. He landed on the ball and it squirted out of his grasp. It’s not in his job description to come up with that loose ball, he’s a big lineman blocker and not a ball handler, but he really could have helped out his team by grabbing that ball.

My Offensive Player of the Game: Drew Brees

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.