New Orleans Saints' Jeff Charleston, Marvin Mitchell know, embrace roles
Charleston reached up to strip the ball from Atlanta tailback Michael Turner a foot short of the goal line early in the third quarter, and Mitchell recovered the fumble.
The game-changing play prevented the Falcons from scoring a go-ahead touchdown, on a night when points were at a premium. The Saints won the game 17-14.
"I think both of those guys have had paid the price, they've waited their turn," Saints linebacker Scott Shanle said of Charleston and Mitchell. "And it's just good to see that this organization is good about, if a guy earns something, they're going to give them their time. And they've both earned the time that they've been given this year."
Even before Monday's heroics, Charleston and Mitchell had increased roles this season -- especially Mitchell, who took over Scott Fujita's spot in some nickel defense packages.
Charleson and Mitchell are fourth-year veterans. Mitchell joined the Saints as a seventh-round draft pick out of Tennessee in 2007. Charleston entered the league as an undrafted free agent from Idaho State in 2006, then bounced around from the Texans to the Colts before joining the Saints in October 2008.
Saints Coach Sean Payton talks about the importance of identifying players who "know their roles" on the 53-man roster -- and of embracing them.
Charleston said he has always harbored dreams of becoming a full-time starter. "Every player does," Charleston said. "You're not on the field to be a backup. You're always aspiring to start. But you also have to play your role. You can't control if you're starting or not, so any time you get on the field, you have to just do as well as you can."
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New Orleans Saints' Jeff Charleston, Marvin Mitchell know, embrace roles | NOLA.com
Charleston got owned at Baltimore. He played the game of his life at Atl to possibly secure a spot next season.
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