Kristian: Armstead goes from small school to incumbent starter
Saints offensive tackle Terron Armstead is entering his second season with the Saints, but his first as the penciled-in starter at left tackle. “This off-season has been very productive, coming in and knowing what to expect. Being comfortable with the playbook has helped me out a lot,” Armstead told me.
Armstead was a small-school standout that was described as "very talented, but raw" last season as a rookie out of Arkansas Pine-Bluff. The rookie had to watch and wait for his turn. Charles Brown was the starter at left tackle for the first three quarters of the season until an embarrassing performance against St. Louis. In week 16 against the Panthers, Coach Sean Payton made a bold move and turned to Armstead to man the blind spot for Drew Brees. The move came with some skepticism.
Armstead struggled in that first half against Greg Hardy and company, but settled in nicely in the second half and played well in the regular season finale. “It was great being able to get that experience last year, I think is going to help me a lot.” explained Armstead.
With two regular season games under his belt, Armstead gained more valuable experience starting in both of the Saints playoff games in January of this year. The Saints offensive line really performed well after making the switch at left tackle. The Saints protection issues were better, and the running game improved dramatically. He’s not the only reason for the improved play, but a big part of it according to his teammates.
Armstead is the guy this year. He won’t have to wait his turn to play. He’ll be the starter from day one of training camp, and says he’s worked hard this off-season to get better. ”I have focused on my technique more than anything, being more familiar with the plays. Not thinking in my stance, and just being able to play and react is going to help me.”
The Saints already have two pro-bowlers on the offensive line in guards Ben Grubbs, and Jahri Evans; Armstead might prove to be the third pro-bowler tasked with protecting franchise Quarterback Drew Brees!