Terron Armstead is a bit of an enigma. The Saints’ left tackle is a gifted player and when healthy, he is one of the best left tackles in the entire NFL. However, the key words here and throughout Armstead’s career are: “when healthy.” Last year in my “Year in Review” article on Armstead, I mentioned the fact that he had played in only 40 of 64 possible regular season games since being drafted by the New Orleans out of Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2013. The Saints’ left tackle expressed his displeasure at the piece then. If Armstead reads today’s piece, maybe he’ll be a bit happier, since he managed to play in 10 of the Saints 16 regular season games this past season, an improvement from the seven games he played in 2016.
Truth be told, 2017 was a year in which Terron Armstead displayed a lot of heart and guts, as he played in 12 overall games (playoffs included) while battling injuries all season long. Football is a brutal sport, and injuries will happen. The only control a professional athlete has over getting hurt is how he or she takes care of his or her body. Armstead’s willingness to play at less than 100% multiple times this past season shows a lot of dedication on his part and tells me that in 2017, he put the team first and as Saints fans, we really could not ask for more.
It wasn’t all gravy for the Saints’ left tackle in 2017 however, as Armstead still missed six regular season games and played a total of 541 snaps (52.2% of the Saints offensive snaps) last among Saints offensive line starters behind rookie right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (1037 snaps, 100%), center Max Unger (1037 snaps, 100%), left guard Andrus Peat (919 snaps, 86.6%) and right guard Larry Warford (824 snaps, 79.5%).
All that said, 2017 was definitely an improvement on the 398 snaps for 34.5% of the offensive plays that Terron Armstead recorded in 2016. How good would a “completely-healthy-for-a-whole-season” Terron Armstead be? Well, consider that despite missing time and playing hurt for most of the year, Armstead was still ranked as the 24th overall tackle among 83 eligible tackles with a minimum of 323 snaps this past season by Pro Football Focus. Let’s just say that I can’t wait to see Terron Armstead play a full season without any injury setbacks.
For a few years now, the Saints’ offensive line has been one of the best in the NFL, and now with the youth and talent at the position on the team, only injuries like Andrus Peat’s broken leg or Armstead’s continuous string of ailments could derail this unit in for the next couple of years. Here’s hoping that all these guys can return (and stay) fully healthy next season, chief among them, the Saints’ talented left tackle.