Losing Tanoh Kpassagnon is a brutal blow to Saints pass rush

Tanoh Kpassagnon, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Tanoh Kpassagnon, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints have placed defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon on injured reserve on Thursday, adding to their growing list of injured players.

Ahead of their kickoff against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 13, the Saints decided to send Kpassagnon to IR based on the state of the ankle injury.

The Saints also signed three players from the practice squad to the active roster: offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch, defensive tackle Albert Huggins and rookie fullback Adam Prentice.

Kpassagnon has already missed two games due to his ankle, and his designation to injured reserve means he’ll miss at least three more games before he can be cleared to play.

The earliest he could return is New Orleans’ Monday Night Football matchup against the Miami Dolphins on December 27.

New Orleans Saints place DE Tanoh Kpassagnon on injured reserve in Week 13

As if the Saints’ pass rush needed any more challenges this season.

After losing sack artist Trey Hendrickson, the Saints’ pass-rushing unit has underwhelmed through 13 weeks, recording 25 sacks in total.

Marcus Davenport, who also is injured, leads the team with 5.5 sacks, but behind him, Kpassagnon is tied with Cameron Jordan for second (4.0 sacks).

Getting sacks, quarterback hits, pressures, and more will be crucial if the Saints want to finish their season strong. After the Cowboys, New Orleans will come up against relatively shaky signal-callers in the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson, Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa, and Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton.

Kpassagnon spent most of his five-year pro career on the Kansas City Chiefs but joined the Saints this past offseason on a two-year deal. His presence has definitely been felt: Kpassagnon has racked up 18 tackles, eight quarterback hits, and one forced fumble on top of his four sacks.

With both Kpassagnon and Davenport missing time, Carl Granderson and rookie Payton Turner will need to step up even more than they already have.

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All things considered, the Saints’ defense has been solid in 2021, but as New Orleans goes into full desperation mode, they will have to be near-perfect for the remainder of the season.