Saints Nation: Offensive Player Grades @ Falcons

You'd see a 17 point output and think the Saints' offense played miserably, but the Falcons controlled the clock with possession offense and kept the Saints off the field. While the Saints did a good job overall both running and passing, little things here and there would stunt some of their drives. Some of it was a mental mistake, some of it was poor play calls, and some of it was good timely defense by the Falcons. This game flew by and the Saints just didn't get the opportunities they normally do. Still, this wasn't a great showing and they did just the bare minimum necessary to win. On to the grades…

Drew Brees: B+ for the game (3.21 for the season) It wasn't his best game, despite his 115.5 QB rating. He was fortunate not to get intercepted on a pass in the end zone to Colston, and the threw a deep ball in traffic to Meachem that was dangerous. He also barely missed a couple throws that would have been first downs if the location had been a bit better. He finished 23 of 33 for 278 yards, 2 touchdowns and no turnovers. Hard to believe he could put up numbers like that and it still feel like he "didn't play his best". He did make plays, though, and did enough to help the Saints win.

Pierre Thomas: A+ (3.09) He carried the entire offense on his back in this game. He had 73 yards on 10 carries and another 57 yards on 5 receptions. He was quick, decisive with his cuts, and extremely hard to bring down. Every time the Saints gave him the ball the chains kept moving. They would've scored a lot more in my opinion if they had given him the ball more. The Falcons could do nothing to stop him.

Mark Ingram: C+ (2.17) He had 9 carries for 32 yards which isn't a horrible stat line by any means, but in particular there was one run he bounced outside where he had a huge lane if he had just cut upfield. Classic Saints eraReggie Bush stuff right there. He did have an amazing blitz pickup, though, where he pancaked a linebacker and then picked up another rusher on the same play. Sick!

Khiry Robinson: C+ (2.53) He just got one carry but I figured I'd give him a little + for getting a 4 yard run. I felt like he could've gotten more out of that run, though.

Jed Collins: C+ (2.76) He was a bit up and down. One a goal line carry he was stuffed by his own man. There were a couple runs by Pierre Thomas were he laid devastating blocks to spring them free, but he also didn't pass protect great and whiffed on a couple run blocks too.

Marques Colston: B- (2.77) He hurt the Falcons often early but then disappeared as the game developed. In the second half he was really quiet. He finished with 4 catches for 40 yards but couldn't come up with a couple contested balls. On one pass he came up with a seemingly circus catch, backhanding a ball with one hand but the ball popped out as he tried to secure it.

Lance Moore: B- (2.17) Another quiet day for Moore who just hasn't really had that breakout killer game this season. Just 2 catches for 22 yards. He did do a fantastic job of blocking on the edge on one play in particular that helped PT get a first down on a long distance to go, despite the fact that blocking isn't really his strong suit.

Robert Meachem: B- (2.27) He finished with 1 catch for 18 yards but that was a huge first down on the Saints' final drive to help kill the game. Like Moore he also blocked very well on running plays. He did a good job breaking up a deep ball into double coverage and he semi dropped a 3rd down pass on a ball that was thrown slightly behind him. If the location had been better he likely makes that catch but the ball being behind him allowed the defender to contest it.

Kenny Stills: C+ (2.55) He had 2 receptions for 22 yards. Nothing major, but a nice grab on a low ball.

Jimmy Graham: A (3.21) He's back to tied with Brees for the team lead in GPA for offensive players. In fact he's slightly ahead by decimals. He had 5 receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown. His double move and touchdown was sick, and after his catch he carried Thomas DeCoud about 7-8 yards with him into the end zone. Then he broke the goalpost celebrating. Beast.

Ben Watson: B (2.53) He was targeted twice. His first was a sick catch in the back of the end zone for a touchdown where he did a great job going up to get the ball and getting two feet down. The second was a contested low ball broken up by Desmond Trufant. He was otherwise flagged for a false start and the Saints seemed to prefer Hill in blocking situations to him. Still, he made a huge play for the team.

Josh Hill: C (2.27) He had 2 catches for 16 yards that were useful receptions, but he also dropped a gimme 3rd and short pass that forced the Saints to punt. There was a holding penalty on that play anyway, but his drop allowed the Falcons to decline it. His blocking was ok, not great.

Charles Brown: B+ (2.30) He gave up some edge pressure from time to time and as usual Brees was able to re-direct into the pocket to help him out. But Brown had a pretty solid showing and continues to hold his own. He seems to be improving with each passing week.

Ben Grubbs: B+ (2.43) Early in the game he seemed out of sorts. I know he is hurt so perhaps it took him a while to get warmed up as he totally whiffed on run block assignments. As the game progressed he got a lot better, though, and he was outright dominant in the second half.

Brian de la Puente: B- (2.43) He played ok but had some lapses against the run. On one 3rd and short play, though, he sprung Thomas free with a devastating block. He did get pushed into Jed Collins on a goal line carry and missed a couple backside run blitzes. His pulling on screens were awesome, though, and his pass protection was very clean as he kept a nice pocket for Brees.

Tim Lelito: C+ (2.00) He did give up a sack, the Falcons only one of the game, and he was flagged for holding on 3rd and 1 which is a back breaking penalty. Other than that he totally held his own, though. This was a big improvement from the Cardinals game. And considering what he went through this week with the death of his grandmother that was great to see. The Saints have to have more confidence in his capabilities as a reserve after this one. 

Zach Strief: B- (2.80) He made no mistakes but I just never felt like he got the push some of the other linemen did and his pass blocking made Brees feel occassional pressure from the edge. 

Bryce Harris: C- (2.33) He filled in late and got a holding penalty in the last 2 minutes of the game for holding which is just inexcusable. Otherwise he was another body that helped the run game.


My Offensive Player of the Game: Pierre Thomas

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.


Saints Nation: Offensive Player Grades @ Falcons

I'll spare you the long intro diatribe, the Saints scored 13 points, they turned the ball over five times and they failed to get points after having first and goal with about a minute left in the half. Frankly it just wasn't anywhere close to good enough. A pretty sick twist of fate that the offense picked this game to perform like this when the defense turned in their best performance of the season. Make the jump for the grades.

Drew Brees: F (2.61) Normally I try to give reasoning for the grades as opposed to just pointing out stats, but the stats say it all: 28-50, 341 yards, 0 touchdowns, 5 interceptions. The clock management before halftime for me was even worse than any of the turnovers. This was the worst game of Drew Brees' career and this loss is squarely on his shoulders for playing one of the worst games I've seen from a Saints' QB since Heath Shuler.

Pierre Thomas: A- (3.00) In the second half the Saints finally committed to him after giving him just one touch 4 days ago and it paid off. He finished with 84 yards on 14 carries and added a catch for 5 yards. Honestly I thought he should have seen the ball even more. I maintain he's clearly the best running back the Saints have in their stable of talented players. Durability has been an issue in the past so I have zero problem with having him on a pitch count, especially early in the season, but there is no way this guy should have less than 10 touches in any game, ever. After this week he's got a clear lead in the GPA department over Brees and will likely end the year as my team's MVP.

Mark Ingram: C- (2.17) Give him credit for a short yardage conversion and his touchdown run, but this was otherwise a pretty atrocious running effort from Ingram. He got no push and at least at times it seemed to be his fault as he wasn't decisive enough hitting holes. He had 13 yards on 6 carries. He also had a reception for -1 yards that should have been a touchdown but he slipped on the play untouched. His miserable season continues.

Chris Ivory: D+ (2.87) He had 3 carries for 4 yards and tipped a flare pass right into the waiting arms of Sean Weatherspoon for an interception. He did have a nice physical 6 yard run, but he was also blown up behind the line a couple of times trying to bounce things outside. I thought he was punished a little unfairly on the pick because he didn't play hardly at all afterwards and it was a poor throw by Brees and a little bit of bad luck with the bounce. Still, Ivory's contribution when he was in was clearly very poor. I still think he's clearly better than Ingram, though, and from here on out I'd like to see only him and Thomas getting the majority of the carries.

Darren Sproles: B- (2.56) He finished with 5 catches for 47 yards and was valuable moving the chains in the passing game. At times he was covered well, though, and he dropped a couple of passes. He also added needed punch in the punt return game with an average of 15.5 yards per on 4 returns. He would have scored a touchdown if not for a stupid Graham penalty.

Jed Collins: C+ (2.78) He had 2 receptions for 2 yards, so not much of a help there. Blocking wise he was very good on delay handoffs to Pierre Thomas but he didn't get as good of a surge on smash mouth plays. His pass protection was good at times and a little sloppy at others.

Marques Colston: B- (2.61) He struggled to get separation throughout and two interceptions were deep ball targets to him where he perhaps could have gone up and disrupted the play. Still those throws are mostly on Brees. He did finished with 6 catches for 71 yards, many of those on critical third downs to move the chains. He also had a bad drop.

Lance Moore: B+ (2.91) He was the best Saints receiver on the day. He finished with 7 catches for 123 yards and made numerous fantastic plays downfield showing absurd hands and catching ability. He dropped arguably the easiest pass of them all, though, an easy touchdown pass in the end zone that hurt the Saints badly. That definitely effects his grade slightly due to it's importance. He's giving PT a run for his money as the best GPA by season's end on offense.

Devery Henderson: D- (2.09) I'm not going to fail him because Brees never really put him in a position to make plays, but Devery is just lost out there. He's not running his routes as hard and he was responsible for a horrible whiff on a block that led to Chris Ivory getting blown up in the backfield for a huge loss. He pretty much didn't do anything well in this game. After a decent midseason stretch he's reverted back to invisible, which we've seen at times in his career.

Joe Morgan: C+ (2.00) He had a terrific catch and absorbed contact well for a 38 yard gain, the longest pass play for the Saints in the contest. That was his only catch, though, and he failed to get enough separation on a couple of other deep balls despite one on one coverage. His blocking was good.

Jimmy Graham: C (2.39) To me he just jogs his routes. He looks lazy, unaware and while he didn't have any flat out drops he didn't come up with some contested balls either. His penalty that wiped out the Sproles touchdown was a timing block that was a little unlucky, but still a big mistake. He finished with 4 catches for 59 yards and did have some nice plays, though. As his GPA suggests, it's been a pretty poor season for him.

Michael Higgins: D (1.00) He didn't block well when he was in at all and he finished with 1 reception for -3 yards. So yeah…

Jermon Bushrod: C- (2.45) He had an up and down day against John Abraham. His run blocking was poor and he did a bad job cutting Abraham on a couple of plays which allowed the athletic defensive end to get up and tip passes. He did not allow a sack to him (the lone sack came against Strief when Abraham moved to the other side), but he did get Brees very pressured and hit a few times. He was also flagged for a false start that made a 3rd and 4 a 3rd and 9.

Ben Grubbs: B+ (2.75) He's now tied with Evans in the GPA department for the best offensive lineman so we'll see how these last four games play out. He was good in protection. He also pulled a number of times to create some devastating lead blocks. He and BDLP teamed up to give Thomas some massive holes on delay plays in the second half.

Brian de la Puente: A- (2.33) To me he was the Saints' best blocker on the day, particularly in the run game where he was physical and got terrific push. His pass protection was largely clean and correct, giving Brees a clean pocket with the enormous amount of edge pressure he was facing.

Jahri Evans: C (2.75) He had a false start and on one play in pass protection, he lazily allowed his man to get passed him thinking he had blocked him for enough time. It caused Brees to get hurried and hit because he was still holding on to the ball back there. He just needs to finish that play stay engaged, so that was poor awareness. Overall he had an up and down day by his high standard.

Zach Strief: D (2.00) I commend him for playing with an injury, especially given how depleted the Saints were at tackle, so I gave him a little boost for that, but his grade probably deserved worse. He just wasn't ready to play in this game. The lone sack he gave up where he showed the slowest lateral movement I've ever seen was bad, but he was also giving up edge pressure constantly. He did show a little physicality in the run game when he could get his hands on a player, though. He would leave the game with what appeared like a re-tweak of his groin. While he didn't give up a sack to Kroy Biermann he was consistently beat by him.

Eric Olsen: C- (1.84) Came in as en extra edge blocker but didn't offer much in terms of physicality which was disappointing.

William Robinson: D+ (1.50) He came in for Strief and was barely better. Pass blocking may not be his forte.


My Offensive Player of the Game: Pierre Thomas

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.

Saints Nation: Offensive Player Grades @ Falcons

Below are the grades for the Saints‘ offensive players for the game at Atlanta. Overall you’ll notice very good grades across the board, but I will say the offense’s inability to get the ball in the end zone at times kept the game closer than it should have been. The letter grade represents the player’s individual performance and the GPA represents the player’s cumulative effort over the course of the season. Don’t worry if you think I’m being too nice, just wait for the defensive grades. They are horrendous.

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Drew Brees: A (3.28) Another fine and masterful performance by Brees. He’s gotten his GPA dangerously close to Jahri Evans‘ with this string flawless games. It should be fun down the stretch to see who wins my team MVP based on highest GPA. He missed a couple of throws under pressure, but how can you complain with the game he had? Once again he wasn’t sacked despite dropping back to pass 40 times. He finished 31 of 40 for 296 yards, 3 touchdowns and no turnovers. My only complaint is that he burned two timeouts with poor play clock management, and he could’ve been more precise in the red zone.

Reggie Bush: A- (2.61) Where did this performance come from? Bush came back in a big way, running the ball well, catching it effectively, and, brace yourselves, he even returned a punt well. The speed he showed on the screen pass was impressive. That touchdown 21 yard reception on a 3rd and 18 play, catching the Falcons in an all out blitz. He finished with 33 yards on 6 carries, 6 catches for 46 yards, 2 touchdowns receiving and a punt return for 23 yards. Give Bush credit for making one hard cut every time he touched the ball and then running with authority ahead. Amazing how much more effective he is when he’s not “dancing”. You all know what I’m talking about. He also bounced a 3rd and 1 play outside and ripped off a good run for a necessary conversion. Way to go Reggie.

Pierre Thomas: B+ (3.12) Thomas was used fairly often in the passing game, and had mixed results in the running game. As the game progressed he was more effective rushing, but I think the Saints could have used him more. At one point he looked banged up which is why the Saints may have abandoned their usual commitment to the run. He had 6 receptions for 53 yards, and 13 carries for 47 yards. He made no mistakes and showed great effort and toughness finishing off runs.

Lynell Hamilton: B- (2.67) Hamilton had limited reps, but he came in and gave the Saints a spark. I can’t imagine there’s many 4th string tailbacks in the NFL that are better. He had 13 yards on 4 carries and showed good force and physicality through the hole. He did have a nice run get called back by a holding call. He gets a B- because, let’s face it, it’s not like he made a huge impact on the game.

Marques Colston: B+ (2.95) Colston finished with 6 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t one of his dominant chain moving performances, but he made plays out there and he was solid. He made a catch on the opening drive showing off his freakish reach and reeling in a pass with his fingertips. He made it look easy, but that was a sick catch.

Devery Henderson: C- (2.95) Devery had some receptions and was dangerous after the catch, finishing with 3 catches for 31 yards. He also had two very bad drops. I worry after seeing him drop a few the past 3 weeks that he’s reverting back to his old inconsistent ways. This was a mediocre performance. He got his hands on a ball in the end zone and couldn’t secure it as he got hit, which was disappointing, but his second drop was an easy sideline pass that he flat out dropped. Unacceptable there, you’ve got to catch that one. He also got flagged on a holding call on a wide receiver screen to Meachem.

Robert Meachem: B+ (3.21) Meachem had another very solid performance. He finished with 4 catches for 57 yards, most on short routes. He also caught a 42 yard bomb downfield, and converted a 3rd and short on a 4 yard reverse. Based on the GPAs, Meachem has been the best Saints’ receiver this season.

Jeremy Shockey: B (2.87) Shockey is pretty banged up. The Saints don’t use him on clear running downs, and they avoid putting him in the game when they feel like they can manage without him. You’ve got to give the guy props for going out there on a bum ankle and showing some grit. Shockey was pretty effective in the passing game, finishing with 4 catches for 46 yards. Shockey has been clutch all season on 3rd down plays, and you can tell he’s most often the primary option when the Saints really need a play. He did get caught for holding once, so that costs him the B+.

David Thomas: B- (2.36) Thomas finished with 2 catches for 9 yards. His role in the passing game has declined as he’s been transformed into a fullback. I think it’s safe to assume he’ll be the lead blocker for the rest of the way, barring injury. It’s no surprise the run game has been a little less effective given that Thomas isn’t a natural fullback and that he’s got major shoes to fill in Heath Evans’. He’s done a pretty admirable job overall, though, and he’ll get better. He does manage to still make contributions from time to time in the passing game, too.

Jermon Bushrod: B (2.70) Bushrod got pushed around early by John Abraham, and got help later to neutralize the dangerous pass rusher. Thank God this isn’t the same Abraham as in his peak years, because I think Bushrod would have been eaten alive. None the less, Brees was never sacked and the running behind Bushrod was at times spectacular, and at other times average. He was pretty good overall. He fought hard.

Zach Strief: C+ (2.30) Strief was caught holding and had some miscues. He did fill in for Stinchcomb briefly at right tackle, though, and did a good job while he was in as a replacement there. The main issues he had were as an extra tight end on short plays, which is odd as it’s been his calling card this year. Regardless, it’s nice to have in Strief a guy who I feel is marginally inferior to both of our starting tackles. He can come in at any time and fill in and I don’t think we miss that much of a beat. He’s a nice reserve to have.

Carl Nicks: A- (3.10) Very solid in run and pass blocking. The majority of the runs came to the left side, and Nicks handled his man with ease. That said, why one earth is he primary option on a fake field goal? Why are we even running that play in that situation? Too bad Brunell didn’t give him a chance because he was looking for an A+ if he scores a touchdown to put the game away.

Jonathan Goodwin: A- (3.18) Pretty solid game overall by Goodwin. On the Reggie Bush screen pass touchdown play, Colston did a pretty good job of blocking his man, but as Bush neared him around the 5 yard line, the defender was coming free to potentially take a shot at stopping Bush. Goodwin was pulling on the play and he absolutely blew up the defender, giving Bush an easy stroll into the end zone. Goodwin has a nice little nasty streak in him. I wish I was grading Jeff Faine on a per game basis because I’d love to see how his GPA would stack up to Goodwin’s. I can’t imagine there’s any way it would be as good.

Jahri Evans: A- (3.31) Another textbook performances. I just didn’t really feel like I could hand out A’s despite the terrific pass blocking all day because the Saints finished with 95 yards rushing and a 3.7 average per carry. I did get a chance to watch Evans, mostly on passing plays, stand up his man and completely neutralize him. He would stand straight up and push his man back like he was playing with a 5 year old boy. Evans wasn’t as nasty or powerful as Nicks/Goodwin in the running game for this one, but Brees would have had all day if it were one on one blocking drills. Seriously, go back and watch the tape. He completely shut down his man and rendered him useless on passing plays. It was almost like the defensive tackle gave up on rushing Brees and just decided he was going to do his best to limit the rushing plays by holding his ground.

Jon Stinchcomb: B+ (2.87) Stinchcomb banged up his leg (knee maybe?) and like Shockey he got a little band aid put on it, got the trainers to kiss it, and he was back out there. Just kidding, both guys should be applauded for shaking off injuries to go back out there and perform at a high level. I don’t think anyone can question the character of Jon Stinchcomb. The guy is a very respected locker room influence and he lays it all on the line for the Saints. His mobility was a little hampered by the injury, but he was helped out by Brees’ terrific pocket presence and footwork.

Darnell Dinkins: B (2.06) Going back to that ridiculous decision by Sean Payton to fake a field goal, Dinkins was the intended receiver. Seriously, Coach Sean, what were you thinking (said in Frank Caliendo doing Dr. Phil voice)? Anyway, Brunell bypassed Nicks, his primary target with non existent speed and zero flexibility and athleticism for his secondary target, Dinkins. Dinkins, mind you, is the blocking tight end who has a better chance of catching a ball with his feet. Dinkins not only wasn’t able to keep his feet in bounds, he ran his route a good yard or two short of the first down anyway. Even if he comes down with that, it’s a beyond stupid play made to look even more stupid by Dinkins’ execution of it. Too bad, because I’d give the guy an A- if it wasn’t for that. Finally he showed me some of his blocking skills and I can understand why the Saints kept him on the active roster injured early in the season. His blocking was masterful. He sealed the edge when he needed to, and he created huge lanes by using brute force. I have a feeling Mike Bell would have had a good day running behind him.

My Offensive Player of the Game: Drew Brees

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.