The Saints' defense suffered a significant loss when DE Charles Grant tore his triceps in what amounted to a meaningless game, at least in terms of the Saints' playoff seeding, against the Panthers in Week 17. Grant underwent surgery and was placed on injured reserve. The D-line depth will suffer without him, and New Orleans' rotation at D-end will not be as strong without him. His replacement in the starting lineup, Bobby McCray, has been bothered by a back injury for much of the season, and backup Jeff Charleston could see an increased workload. McCray is best-suited for a situational pass-rusher role, though, and he disappointed this season, recording just 1½ sacks. Although observers say there is not a major drop-off from Grant to McCray, the Saints' run defense, which has been very poor over the past 11 games, allowing an average of nearly 140 rushing yards, will not be helped by Grant's absence.
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