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December 18, 2013

Saints will start rookie at left tackle vs. Panthers

New Orleans coach Sean Payton announced he will start rookie Terron Armstead at left tackle against the Panthers in a game that will go a long way in deciding the NFC South champion.

The news was reported by Kat Terrell of the Times-Picayune.

Armstead is a 6-foot-5, 304-pound third-round pick out of Arkansas Pine-Bluff. He’s appeared in four games and started in none and is tasked with protecting quarterback Drew Brees’ blind side.

His first NFL start will likely be against Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy. Hardy struggled in his first game against New Orleans and totaled just one tackle and no quarterback hits or sacks.

Armstead is getting the nod at left tackle after Charles Brown’s poor performance against the Rams last week. He was benched by Payton in the second half after Rams defensive end Robert Quinn had his way with Brown.

Armstead ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.71 seconds) of any offensive lineman in the history of the NFL scouting combine this spring. NFL draft writer Sigmund Bloom said the Saints should utilize his speed on screen passes to help slow the pass rush.

One of the biggest criticisms from the 31-13 Panthers’ loss to the Saints two weeks ago was the lack of effective pass rush. Brees passed for 313 yards, four touchdowns and was sacked twice.

If the Saints win, they clinch the NFC South. If the Panthers win, they clinch a playoff berth and would play at Atlanta in Week 17 to clinch the division and a first-round bye.

The New Orleans left tackle vs. Hardy matchup was one of our four keys to the game in Wednesday’s Observer.

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on December 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Permalink


Hardy is licking his chops.

Posted by: PantherHead | Dec 18, 2013 10:16:33 AM

Christmas is coming early for the Kraken.

Posted by: GDown | Dec 18, 2013 10:58:39 AM

Sound like desperation moves from Payton and the Saints- firing the kicker to send a message. Then swapping out a veteran on the most important position on your o-line for a rookie who's never started. I hope Hardy and Johnson fully takes advantage- no excuse to not bring their "A" games and be AWOL, like the first time around.

Posted by: PantherD | Dec 18, 2013 11:45:47 AM

I am from the future and Brees will throw 4 interceptions on sunday. 3 of them will be to captain munnerlyn. A main factor of this was because it was raining so bad and Brees had trouble gripping the ball well with his small hands. Panthers 38 Saints 17.

...Take a rain coat

Posted by: Kelly Tripuka | Dec 18, 2013 11:53:37 AM

The DLine can't expect a rookie to lay down. He'll try and prove he should be a starter. It's up to our guys to take advantage of this change. I'll be in my PSL seats Sunday to watch how it turns out. GO PANTHERS!!!

Posted by: bill | Dec 18, 2013 12:53:04 PM

This shouldn't be huge news. At the end of the day we have to go out and do what we are capable of doing. Thats make plays and create turnovers and make Drew Brees uncomfortable. The guy is 5 foot nothing. He loves stepping up in the pocket so we cant allow him to do so. Bringing pressure from the edges is not going to get it done. You have to bring pressure right to his face. Been awhile since the Panthers controlled there destiny to the playoffs, and I hope they realize that and make Sunday a very unhappy day for Drew Brees. I know I'm excited. Wont be at the game on Sunday but will be in Atlanta next week hopefully cheering us to a division title. GO PANTHERS!!! KEEP POUNDING!!

Posted by: panthersallday | Dec 18, 2013 1:11:29 PM

Expect them to have a dedicated RB or FB to hang out near the rookie for an extra block to support him.

I agree with panthersallday, if we are to get to Breeze, it will have to come right up the middle.

And, the best way to stop Breeze, is not to let him on the field..

Posted by: Bob Smith | Dec 18, 2013 4:53:09 PM

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