Saints call on rookie LT to protect Brees in biggest game yet this year
I can't remember Saints coach Sean Payton calling an early morning news conference until today. So, I had a feeling something pretty important was going to be announced. The buzz last night was that kicker Garrett Hartley had been cut due to his inconsistency this season and that 13 year vet Shayne Graham was signed to take his place. Payton confirmed that from the jump.
But what followed hit me like a slap in the face. The Saints head coach revealed that rookie Terron Armstead would get the start at left tackle Sunday in place of Charles Brown. Sure, Brown was yanked from the game against the Rams due to his poor play, but giving a 3rd round draft pick his 1st start and action of the season on the road in such a crucial game was a huge shock to me.
"I think Terron has improved during the course of the season, taking scout team reps, and it's time to see what he can do," Payton said. "There were a handful of things that happened in the game the other day that prohibited us from having success. But this is one thing that I think is necessary right now for us."
It will be baptism by fire for the rookie. The Panthers defensive front is vicious and is ranked 2nd in the NFL with 45 sacks. You can bet they will be foaming at the mouth to take down QB Drew Brees early and often in front of their home crowd with a chance to take the division lead away from the Saints.
Armstead has been active for just 4 games this season and played solely on special teams. Now he'll be protecting Brees' blind side in the team's biggest game of the year so far.
Buckle up Who Dat Nation, it sure looks like it's going to be a bumpy ride.