November 2, 2011

RT Brown Lost; Strief Returns as Saints Approach Crucial Two-Game Stretch

Second-year offensive tackle Charles Brown, the team's second round pick in 2010, has been lost for the season due to a hip flexor injury suffered in St. Louis on Sunday.

The surgery and rehab required to recover from the injury will stretch into next offseason, according to coach Sean Payton.

Brown took over at right tackle after Jon Stinchcomb was cut in preseason and Zach Strief was injured in week three against Houston.  Drew Brees said that Brown did a "great job, not a good job, a great job" to the media today, though Brown struggled mightily against Rams DE Chris Long on Sunday.  As did Brown's emergency replacement, free agent addition Pat McQuistan, as the Rams sacked Brees six times, three from Long.

Brees was all but dismembered against the Rams as Strief's right tackle position became an open door for pass rushers.

Just in time, Strief did not appear on the injury list today and is expected to start at home against Tampa Bay this Sunday.  Strief's timing is impeccable: the Saints play two crucial NFC South games in the next two weeks.

Winning at home against Tampa Bay and in Atlanta on November 13th would set the Saints up with at least a 1.5 game lead in the NFC South.

On the other hand, the 4-3 Bucs could take back the NFC South with a victory this Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and the Falcons on the road in Indianapolis could move into a tie, putting the Saints in third place.

To replace Brown on the 53-man roster and to provide depth at the razor-thin offensive tackle position, the Saints signed veteran Ray Willis.

Willis has worked out for the Saints multiple times this offseason, and went to camp with the Dolphins, who mercifully cut him before their regular season began.  Willis missed all of last season with a knee injury as a member of the Seahawks, but opened training camp as their starting left tackle.

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