We continue our series that focuses on New Orleans Saints players and their 2015 years in review. Today, we highlight safety Kenny Vaccaro.
Coming into the season, Kenny Vaccaro had plenty to prove. After impressing many as a rookie in 2013, Vaccaro had a major sophomore slump. His 2014 play got to the point where head coach Sean Payton opted to bench Vaccaro, but we later learned that he was battling a laundry list of injuries. Vaccaro dealt with lingering effects from his ankle injury that landed him on season-ending injured reserve as a rookie, a Grade 2 hamstring tear sustained in the first week against Atlanta, and a Grade 2 quad tear in December.
During the offseason, Vaccaro bulked up some and talked about how good he felt. He had a sour taste in his mouth from 2014, and came out to deliver in 2015. Vaccaro finished the season as the true ‘Iron Man’ of the New Orleans Saints defense. He played in 99.7 percent of the team’s snaps on defense, which was the highest on the team. Vaccaro also increased his sack totals (3), tackles (104), and matched his amount of quarterback hurries (10) from 2014.
Where Vaccaro won the most in terms of a +4.2 overall grade from Pro Football Focus was from a +7.3 run stopping grade. Of Vaccaro’s 1,076 snaps on defense, his breakdown went to 430 snaps on run defense, 57 snaps as a pass rusher, and 589 snaps in pass coverage. He also had 6 tackles for losses.
Vaccaro’s 3 sacks were all the product of disguised blitzes, all of which were pretty clever play calls.
Sack 1 – at Indianapolis
Sack 2 – Jacksonville
Vaccaro lines up off the left side, uncovered. Kasim Edebali draws a double team while Cam Jordan moves to the inside. Vaccaro has another easy sack.
Sack 3 – Jacksonville
At the bottom cluster, Vaccaro is bunched with Stephone Anthony and Kasim Edebali. Edebali draws the right tackle, while Anthony attracks the interior guard. This ends with Vaccaro having another free run to the quarterback.
As part of a collective secondary that had plenty of opportunity in 2015, Kenny Vaccaro was a true bright spot for the New Orleans Saints defense.