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Buccaneers vs. Saints: Grading the best and worst performers from Tampa Bay's loss to New Orleans

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The Bucs saw some positive performances from individual players despite a total team effort that came up short of a victory against the New Orleans Saints.

Wesley Hitt

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave away a game against the New Orleans Saints in Week 5, but that doesn't mean every player on the roster was to blame.

So who were the best and worst performers for the Bucs on Sunday at the Superdome? Here's this week's edition of "Three Up, Three Down."

Three Up

Mike Glennon - The Buccaneers' second-year quarterback was let down by his teammates on Sunday, as he played what may have been his best game of his young career in a defeat. Glennon opened the game looking very sharp, but was let down by drops and penalties that negated well over 80 yards of offense.

He faltered a bit in the middle of the game, throwing a back-footed interception that landed short and to the inside of Louis Murphy on a deep route, but bounced back and continued to lead the offense with aggressive throws and good pocket presence that looks a solid step forward from a year ago.

Glennon has been feasting upon bad defenses for two weeks, and will face tougher tests as the year goes on. But if he's able to carry over his apparent improvements into games against better pass defenses, he'll make it very tough for the Bucs to put him back on the bench anytime soon.

Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy - It should come as no surprise anymore when Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy make the "three up" list, as the Bucs two superstars on defense dominate on a weekly basis, regardless of competition.

David had a boatload of tackles against the Saints, including multiple tackles for loss, and seemed to be the only Buccaneer capable of stopping a screen pass from New Orleans.

McCoy was manhandled by multiple blockers all day, and still managed to put consistent pressure on Drew Brees. He should have been on the "holdee" side of multiple holding flags that were never thrown, but that's nothing new for McCoy, who has been too good to contain without holding since he entered the NFL.

These players enter the "Three Up" together so that I can give another player a place in the spotlight, and I may eventually stop putting McCoy on this list altogether, as it should just be assumed that the Bucs' dominant defensive tackle was one of the three best players on any given Sunday.

Alterraun Verner - After a strong showing in Week 1 against Carolina, Verner struggled for the next couple of weeks, seeming just as lost as every other Tampa Bay defensive back. But on Sunday against the Saints, Verner got his mojo back, and made plays all afternoon.

Verner got his hands on at least three passes, intercepting one, and did not allow any big plays to his side of the field when facing an offense more than capable of ripping off 50-yard gains. He was solid as a tackler, as always, and seemed to bounce back after being a part of the problem in the Bucs' recent defensive breakdowns over the last three weeks.

Three Down

Austin Seferian-Jenkins - Horrible drops and boneheaded penalties earn ASJ the top spot on the "three down" list, as he was a big part of the reason why the Bucs got off to a slow start, and failed to capitalize on all of the opportunities the Saints presented them.

The rookie tight end has nearly unlimited potential, but did show why he's a rookie tight end against New Orleans, failing to haul in easy passes and making mental errors. He'll improve as time goes on, but his performance against the Saints was a microcosm of how the team played as a whole.

Dane Fletcher - Fletcher continues to disappoint as the fill-in for Mason Foster, as he handed over the play-calling responsibilities to Lavonte David on Sunday and was actually removed from the field in favor of Danny Lansanah on third downs.

The former Patriot was thought of as a possible competitor to Foster for the MLB job, but after a couple of weeks in that role, it's clear he's going to be little more than a special teamer for the Bucs without some serious improvements to his pass defending and awareness of run keys and gap responsibilities.

Leonard Johnson - Tasked with defending the slot on passing downs, Johnson was virtually invisible on Sunday, failing to make a play on any of the Saints various screen plays, and not stopping any of the passes thrown his way on the afternoon.

But this third spot could easily go to any number of Buccaneer defenders, who failed to stop the Saints in crucial moments over and over again, and who picked up awful penalties in key situations to extend New Orleans drives. It's tough to pick just three players who failed, when many had moments of brilliance surrounded by tons of frustration and disappointment.

I would also give this third "down" to the coaching staff for allowing continued missed tackles, communication breakdowns and dumb mistakes to continue to happen, but I wanted to stick to players (for now) and focus on the guys who let their teammates down with their on-the-field performances.

Who were your three best and three worst Bucs of the afternoon? Let us know in the comments.