Weekly Check-in on Saints Secondary Play-Week 8
The season has been a bit of a struggle for the New Orleans Saints secondary as they've continuously allowed big plays, there's been busted coverage, and too many penalties to count.
However, on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, they had one of, if not their best day of the season and yes they were facing a lesser Nick Foles and the Bears offense, I get it. How the secondary has played though they needed a little confidence boost and that's exactly what they got in the windy city and yes the wind certainly helped.
From a purely statistical standpoint, the defense allowed 272 passing yards from Nick Foles, two touchdowns, and Marshon Lattimore picked him off once. In addition, they had three passes defended and a couple of secondary players make tackles for loss.
The five main secondary players we're going to focus on are Marshon Lattimore, Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Williams, Janoris Jenkins, and Chauncy Gardner-Johnson.
As mentioned, Lattimore had the lone interception against Foles, he also recorded eight tackles, a tackle for loss, and a pass defended. In addition, according to Pro Football Focus, this was his best overall game of the season thus far with an overall defensive grade of 71 which was his highest of the season. His coverage grade was above a 70 for the first time all season, his run defense was a 68, and the tackling was strong per usual at 81.
Jenkins has been the most consistent performer in the Saints secondary this season and against Chicago, he recorded four tackles and one for loss. As far as his PFF grades go this wasn't one of his stronger games of the season. The jackrabbit recorded just a 64 overall defensive grade, his run defense (75) and his tackling (78) were his best attributes but his coverage grade sunk down to a 60.
CJ led the defense in tackles Sunday with nine and two of them were for a loss. However, from a grading standpoint on PFF, he had his third-worst game of the season where he graded out at a 41 overall. The tackling was the only thing he really did well against the Bears (81), his run defense was a 42, pass rush 60, and his coverage grade was a brutal 42.
Against the Bears, Williams recorded just four tackles and didn't come away with any other statistics. From a grading standpoint on PFF, it was a decent game by the third-year safety who was a 66 overall and 59 in coverage. Where he was really good was his run defense at 77 and his tackling which graded out at an 84.
Finally, the stat sheet was filled up for the wiley veteran in Malcolm Jenkins on Sunday as he wrapped up eight tackles, a sack, tackle for loss, two passes defended, and a QB hit. Now, according to PFF, this was also the best game of the year overall for one of the leaders of this bunch with an 83 overall grade. His coverage grade was the highest it's been all year at 75, his run defense was the best we've seen it all year at 83, tackling was a 58, and his pass-rush was a 66.
This is what we need to see more out of from the New Orleans secondary but it'll be difficult against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense that has been rolling after their tough first game against the Saints. I would expect TB to be better, Tom Brady to be better, and oh yeah Antonio Brown will be active for this one, New Orleans better be up for the task.