When the New Orleans Saints visited the Chicago Bears this past Sunday there was a familiar face in the opposing sideline. Jermon Bushrod, the Saints' starting left tackle for the previous four seasons, cashed in with the Bears during free agency this off-season, leaving a void at left tackle for the Saints.
Many Saints fans were in a constant state of panic with an unproven Charles Brown set to start at left tackle, while others were fine with Bushrod getting the big bucks elsewhere and opening the door for the younger Brown. Although Bushrod made the Pro Bowl in 2012, many people believe he was not a Pro Bowl Caliber left tackle last season. Out of 22 offensive tackles who played at least 75% of their teams snaps, Bushrod allowed the second most pressures on his QB and had the third lowest pass blocking efficiency, according to Pro Football Focus.
This past Sunday was a big game for both tackles - on a personal level as well as a team level. Brown undoubtedly wanted to prove to the Saints that they made the correct choice in trusting him to protect the blind side of Drew Brees. Bushrod, on the other hand, was surely out to prove that the Saints made a mistake in letting him sign with the Bears. Through the first 5 weeks it seems that Brown has been superior in pass protection while Bushrod takes the cake as a run blocker. The table below illustrates their performances so far, and singles out their head-to-head performances from Sunday's game:
|Week 5||Total||Week 5||Total|
|Pass Block Snaps||37||220||39||197|
|Pass Block Efficiency||N/A||94||N/A||92.1|
|Rank (75+ % of Snaps)||N/A||19||N/A||28|
|Run Block Grade||+0.6||-2.0||-2.4||-0.5|
Although the Saints run blocking has been dreadful this season and Bushrod would've helped with that, I'm sure every Saints' fan agrees that they would rather have a left tackle's strong suit be pass blocking. Moreover, Brown's 2013-2014 salary is a mere $880,000 compared to Bushrod's $3,015,000. At about 30% of the price, Brown looks that much better. Perhaps equally important is that his health has thankfully been a non issue so far.
So what do you guys think, did the Saints make the correct decision at left tackle?