For the past several years, the New Orleans Saints defense was one to be feared. From their near-shutdown secondary to their dominant pass-rush, opposing offenses knew they were going to be in for a world of hurt when they had to face the Saints defense.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case in 2022.
It turns out losing star players like Marcus Williams and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson hurt more than the Saints thought it would. Tyrann Mathieu doesn't look like the same kind of player he was a few years ago and those two players proved to be the true ball hawks on the team, as the Saints D has only managed three lousy interceptions on the year.
What grade does the Saints deserve through 13 games?
The run defense has been a shell of itself, allowing running backs to continuously have big games. This was something fans aren't used to as the run D used to be a lockdown unit.
According to Team Rankings, the Saints currently sit No. 20 in rushing yards allowed on the year (so the 12th-most) but they're No. 10 in passing yards allowed, which shows their secondary has actually been decent this year. The pass rush has been hit or miss but they have the ninth-most this year with 34.
With all of the hype fans rightfully had about this group entering the season, they've been a letdown. While the passing defense and the pass rush have improved as the year has gone on, the run defense has been bad and the most recent memory from this unit was watching the Buccaneers storm right down the field and score two touchdowns in under six minutes to win the game. Naturally, that's going to stick with me when giving my grade.
With that in mind, however, the defense has improved significantly when it comes to points per game. They've allowed 20 or fewer points since Week 10 but it's been the offense who hasn't been able to get at least 20 points.
With all of that in mind, I'll give this group a C. They play well until it matters the most, unfortunately.