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What Went Wrong With Charles Brown?

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After three strong performances in a row, Charles Brown's performance dropped off immensely and was a major factor in the Saints' loss in St. Louis.

Robert Quinn beats Charles Brown and strips the ball from Drew Brees.
Robert Quinn beats Charles Brown and strips the ball from Drew Brees.
Dilip Vishwanat

Charles Brown's disastrous performance against Robert Quinn is undoubtedly the most notable game of his young career and what lead to the subsequent announcement that Terron Armstead will start in Week 16. I think most Saints' fans expected Brown to struggle a bit against Quinn, who has quickly emerged as an elite pass rusher, but not necessarily to this extent. It'd be one thing if Brown had been playing THAT poorly all year, but he hasn't.

In the Week 15 blowout of the Carolina Panthers, Charles Brown did not let up a single pressure on Drew Brees, according to Pro Football Focus. He did so while battling with Gregg Hardy, who gives most offensive tackles a difficult time. Moreover, Brown let up zero sacks, zero hits, and just three hurries over the three games prior to the nightmare in St. Louis. Sure, Brees' quick release help Brown get these nice numbers, but such a drop-off in performance is baffling.

Regardless, his inconsistency was all that Payton and company needed to see, and the unproven yet freakishly athletic Arsmtead will be thrust into the starting left tackle position in the biggest game of the year. You think he feels pressured? Luckily, he has veteran guard Ben Grubbs directly to his right, but that can only help him so much.

I was wondering if Bryce Harris would get a look at left tackle since, you know, he's actually played an NFL snap before, and performed reasonably well. But apparently it's sink or swim for Armstead, who the Saints are hoping to groom as the left tackle of the future. But first, let's worry about him holding up against the Panthers in a game that will likely decide the division title and a first round bye.