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WhoDat!656 05-15-2013 11:21 PM

New Orleans Saints left tackles appear to be up for the challenge
 
The comments made by New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton this offseason about how the uncertainty of the team's left tackle position has kept him awake haven't fallen on deaf ears.

The words uttered by Payton may not have been a direct challenge to fourth-year veteran Charles Brown, but Brown certainly appears to be taking it that way.

After the Saints signed former No. 2 overall pick Jason Smith and drafted Terron Armstead in the third round of last month's NFL draft, Brown knows this is put-up or shut-up time for him.

A second-round pick in 2010, Brown likely will be given the first crack at replacing Jermon Bushrod, who signed this offseason with the Chicago Bears, at left tackle. But the Saints are expected to have open competition at the position with both Smith and Armstead getting an equal opportunity to win the battle for the right to protect the blindside of record-setting quarterback Drew Brees.

"It's definitely time for me to step up and prove myself and prove that I can protect Drew back there," Brown said Wednesday night at Ben Grubb's charity softball game at Zephyr Field. The Saints' defense beat the offense 10-2 in the game.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Brown, who has eight career starts, has been plagued throughout his career by injuries. But he has been groomed to eventually take over as the left tackle and said he is extremely excited about the competition and the opportunity.

"It's going to be really exciting," Brown said. "Right now I'm just trying to get out there and be the best I can and perfect every play and just stay out there."

As the Saints go further into their offseason drills, Smith and Armstead figure to become bigger challengers.

Smith (6-5,308) was considered a can't-miss prospect when he entered the 2009 draft. But after being taken by the St. Louis Rams, Smith didn't quite pan out. The Rams cut ties with Smith after only three seasons by trading him to the New York Jets before the 2012 season. Smith played in 16 games last season, but didn't start any of them as he served mostly as a tackle-eligible lineman.

But with the uncertainty at the position in New Orleans, Smith will be given a chance to revitalize his career.

Meanwhile, Armstead is anxious to prove he can make the jump from FCS to NFL after playing in the Southwestern Athletic Conference at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Armstead, who won scouts over with his athleticism at the NFL Combine--he ran a 4.7-second 40-yard dash and recorded a 34 -feet vertical leap--said his experience last weekend at the Saints' rookie minicamp was a success.

He said he's looking forward to learning the Saints' elaborate offensive schemes and complicated playbook.

"Rookie camp went really well," Armstead said. "I took a lot of the coaching techniques and coaching points, adjusted and everything went really well for me."

While Armstead knows he is a long way from being an NFL starter after just one rookie camp, he said he's not going to shy away from the competition.

"I'm a really competitive guy," he said. "I love to play and I love the game of football and I love being on the field so I am definitely going to try to compete for a starting job."

Saints right tackle Zach Strief, who was a team captain last season, said he is interested to see which player will land the starting position.

Although the left tackle position is the biggest question mark on the offense, Strief said there is good talent at the position.

"More than anything I am excited to see who emerges and see who is the guy that'll step up," Strief said. "There's a lot of talent over there. There's maybe not a lot of guys that people know but having seen some of the guys play there is a lot of talent there. I know someone will step up and someone will emerge. It's always exciting to see who we are going into the season with."

New Orleans Saints left tackles appear to be up for the challenge | NOLA.com

saintsfan1976 05-16-2013 07:04 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints left tackles appear to be up for the challenge
 
What about Jason Smith at RT?

Seer1 05-16-2013 08:05 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints left tackles appear to be up for the challenge
 
Smith never did recover from being knocked stupid. If this finally becomes his year, the Saints should chip in for a better helmet.

Budsdrinker 05-16-2013 08:59 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints left tackles appear to be up for the challenge
 
I wouldn't be surprised if Strief loses his job to one of the younger guys that are battling for LT. With Harris, Jones, Brown, Smith and Armstead one will be LT and one of the others may take Strief's spot.

Rugby Saint II 05-16-2013 01:56 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints left tackles appear to be up for the challenge
 
My guess is that the players that don't get the nod at LT will then fight it out for the RT spot.

homerj07 05-16-2013 02:32 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints left tackles appear to be up for the challenge
 
Competition is good - mmkay?

homerj07 05-16-2013 02:39 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints left tackles appear to be up for the challenge
 
Kick butt & take names!!

triman 05-16-2013 06:08 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints left tackles appear to be up for the challenge
 
If Armstead can'tI start at LT I would work him in at RT. Lots of LT start at RT and move to LT. I am very high on our 3rd rd pick.

jeanpierre 05-17-2013 12:14 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints left tackles appear to be up for the challenge
 
Strief is to the offensive line what Shanle was to the linebacker corps...

...great teammate, class act, but the molasses feet are problem...

hagan714 05-17-2013 06:07 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints left tackles appear to be up for the challenge
 
appear to be up for the challenge
till
they go down on IR

i pray for health


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