What was supposed to be a competition for one of the most important jobs in the NFL has turned into a non-issue in New Orleans.
Thanks to a solid camp, Saints holdover Charles Brown has walked away with the starting left tackle job, ahead of former No. 2 overall pick Jason Smith and rookie Terron Armstead.
“I thought once we got into pads and got into the second and third week of training camp you’d begin to see this position competition a little bit clearer,” Saints coach Sean Payton said, via Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I think that’s been the case with us right now.
“I would say he’s [Brown] certainly ahead of the other guys.”
Brown has played acceptably well in relief roles, but has just eight NFL starts, and only one at left tackle, where he’s now protecting Drew Brees.
But the Saints were confident Brown could replace departed free agent Jermon Bushrod. Now, the next test is for him to stay healthy, after battling knee and hip injuries in the past.
“I feel good,” Brown said. “I think I’m playing good, and I’m just enjoying myself. I’m excited. “It’s a dream come true.”
We’ll find out in the first month of the season, as Brown faces a parade of pass-rushers including Osi Umenyiora, Adrian Clayborn and Cameron Wake, whether Brees can rest easily.