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DE Cameron Jordan—Grade—B+
No defensive player was better Sunday than Cam Jordan. He recorded his first sack of the season and ran down a Panthers ball-carrier that frankly he had no business running down. Though the defense gave up a ton of yards rushing, and Jordan occasionally found himself caught in the backfield, the second-year defensive end from Cal played really well.
DT Brodrick Bunkley—Grade—D+
It should be enough to know that the Panthers went over 200 yards on the Saints’ defense. Considering Bunkley’s job is to clog up the middle of the line and eliminate rushing lanes, it is clear Bunkley did not do his job effectively Sunday. That’s even more clear when you consider that much of that yardage was had on the up-the-middle runs.
DT Sedrick Ellis—Grade—C-
Watching the game, we noticed Sed Ellis get thrown three yards into the backfield on a key three-yard run into the end zone when Mike Tolbert scored in the third quarter. The former top-10 pick Ellis has not been impressive thus far in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense, which should favor him and his skill set. He did not create a pass rush, or help him his team stop the run Sunday.
DE Will Smith—Grade—C+
Will Smith was not nearly as effective Sunday as he was one week ago against Washington. He still recorded four tackles, but he never found his way in the Panthers’ backfield, as he did last week. And a few runs were hit effectively off tackle on his side of the line. It was not a great day for the veteran end.
DT Akiem Hicks—Grade—C+
For a rookie making his NFL debut, Akiem Hicks performed well. He found himself on the backfield on one play and was held on another play which obviously helped the Saints’ defense. Hicks undoubtedly earned more future playing time with his play Sunday.
DE Junior Galette—Grade—C
Galette’s biggest impact in the game was an end-of-the-half kick return. Actually he did find himself in the backfield on occasion Sunday, but it would be hard to say he was incredibly productive with his defensive snaps.
DE Martez Wilson—Grade—C
Wilson has become a special teams superstar. He made a few key plays in that phase of the game. Wilson had more playing time on the defensive side of the ball but didn’t do a ton. In fact, with his effectiveness on special teams, it seems as if Wilson has earned more time in the defensive lineup.