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Cardinals at Saints review: Lyle Sendlein, Levi Brown polar opposites according to PFF

A look at how Pro Football Focus graded the Cardinals against the Saints. Are there any surprises?

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Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals' 31-7 blowout loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints left the front office scrambling to sign outside linebackers, as starters Sam Acho (broken leg) and Lorenzo Alexander (Lisfranc injury) are both done for the season. Add to it that rookie pass-rusher Alex Okafor (torn biceps) went down Tuesday, and it appears there's a hex on the team stemming from the New Orleans trip.

Really, how else do you explain losing three linebackers for the year? Plus, you all have seen the picture of Rashad Johnson's missing digit. That doesn't just happen without some good ol' Louisiana voodoo.

Here are some grades of note from


C Lyle Sendlein (+3.1)

Everyone knows Lyle Sendlein is not going to be considered the best center in the NFL. But he was one of the best last week, as his +3.1 overall grade tied him with the Washington Redskins' Will Montgomery for third-best during Week 3.

He ranked No. 8 in pass-blocking (+0.6) and No. 5 in run-blocking (+1.8).

Sendlein allowed one quarterback hurry and nothing else against the Saints, and for the season he has allowed three hurries and a QB hit.

LG Daryn Colledge (+2.1)

This is a big step up for Daryn Colledge, who was graded for Week 1 at -1.8 and at -1.3 for Week 2. He was especially adept at pass blocking in New Orleans, earning a +1.7 -- by far the best on the team.

He did not allow a single quarterback pressure in dealing with the Saints' defensive line, which is a good sign considering the amount of pressure Carson Palmer was under all day.

LT Levi Brown (-3.1)

Continuing with the offensive line, we shift now to the other end of the grading bell curve. Levi Brown was terrible against the Saints, allowing a sack, a QB hit and three hurries.

Other tackles had lower grades for the week, but Brown had by far the worst offensive grade for the Cardinals.

He remains the starter because of his prowess in the run game (+1.3 season grade), but his pass-blocking (-7.5) continues to be a problem.

Other offensive grades of note

WR Larry Fitzgerald (+1.2), RB Rashard Mendenhall (+0.2), TE Rob Housler (0.0), QB Carson Palmer (-0.7), TE Jim Dray (-1.7)


DE Darnell Dockett (+8.4)

Don't be fooled by this grade. It's a great-looking grade, sure. But Darnell Dockett had the pleasure of welcoming undrafted rookie right guard Tim Lelito to the NFL as he started for an injured Jahri Evans.

Dockett recorded three sacks of Drew Brees-tying a career high he set in Super Bowl XLIII and then the next Nov. against the Titans. He also notched four hurries and one QB hit.

Here's an odd stat for you: The Cardinals are just 2-5 when Dockett records more than 1.0 sack (including the postseason).

DE Calais Campbell (+1.0)

Sunday was a very balanced game for Calais Campbell. He wasn't dominating -- he has yet to dominate any game this season-but he wasn't a liability, either.

Campbell totaled four quarterback hurries but did not take Brees down. The slow start to the season continues, as he has just one sack in three games. With the starting OLBs done for the season, he will have to step it up to improve one of the worst pass-rushing teams in the league.

ILB Jasper Brinkley (-2.7)

If not for his terrible performance in coverage and tackling, Jasper Brinkley would be a solid player. But for the second game out of three this season, he earned a coverage grade of lower than -2.0.

To give you an idea of the player he is, consider this: Brinkley is the second-highest-graded inside linebacker against the run (+4.8); conversely, he's the second-lowest-rated ILB in coverage (-5.5).

Daryl Washington's return next week will be a massive blessing for the team.

Other defensive grades of note

FS Tony Jefferson (+0.1), NT Alameda Ta'amu (-0.1), FS Rashad Johnson (-0.7; PFF's -0.2 plus -0.5 for losing part of a digit), ILB Karlos Dansby (-2.2), OLB John Abraham (-2.6)