CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- I know what Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy probably will say later today when asked about the New Orleans Saints giving rookie Terron Armstead his first NFL start at left tackle for Sunday's game.
He's an NFL player.
You treat all NFL players the same.
He'd be right. But this is a potential area the Panthers may be able to exploit -- an area they need to exploit -- to pressure quarterback Drew Brees with their front four.
Hardy didn't have his best effort in a 31-13 loss to the Saints two weeks ago in New Orleans. Going against veteran Charles Brown, who was benched and publicly criticized by coach Sean Payton during Sunday's loss to the St. Louis Rams, Hardy didn't have a sack or a quarterback hit. He had only one tackle.
The Panthers must have more from Hardy to change the outcome in the rematch between these 10-4 teams. And going against a rookie making his first start could be the answer.
As NFL nation Saints reporter Mike Triplett wrote this morning, this was a bold roster move at this point in the season for a team battling for the NFC South title and a playoff spot.
We'll see what Hardy has to say later today.