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Monday, December 30, 2013
Armstead happy to go unnoticed Sunday

By Mike Triplett

NEW ORLEANS -- Drew Brees completed his first 11 passes in Sunday's 42-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And by the time the first half was over, Brees had thrown four touchdown passes -- three of them from 40 yards or more.

You may not have noticed what the left tackle was doing during those plays. But Terron Armstead is perfectly happy if that's the case.

Armstead
That's exactly what the Saints' rookie said was his goal earlier in the week -- to go unnoticed in his second career start.

"That was the plan," Armstead said with a smile.

When asked if he's OK with Brees getting all the credit, Armstead said, "That's fine with me. Don't give me none."

Armstead did have at least one hiccup -- when defensive end Adrian Clayborn beat him for a shared sack with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy on a third-and-long in the second quarter.

But for the most part, Armstead operated in the shadows all day while the Saints racked up 468 yards. It was a far cry from the spotlight he was under while allowing 2.5 sacks and committing two false start penalties one week earlier at Carolina.

"I felt a lot more comfortable today," Armstead said. "Just from week 1 to week 2, being with the first unit again for another week, felt a little more comfortable."

Brees said he talked to Armstead late in the fourth quarter, and Armstead said it was like "night and day" from the previous week.

"Just in regards to that maturation process and experience level, even with just one game under his belt," Brees said. "Kinda knowing what to expect. You know, the feelings and emotions going into a game, then obviously as the game unfolds, how you play it and technique and all those things. He's got a great group around him, so that helps. But he did great today."

Of course there will still be growing pains for the third-round draft pick from Arkansas-Pine Bluff, who hadn't played an offensive snap until he was thrust into the starting lineup in place of struggling veteran Charles Brown last week.

But Sunday did help vindicate coach Sean Payton for the faith he showed in the rookie. And the confidence in his development should only continue to increase.

The Saints only allowed one sack in the game -- an overall improvement after allowing 10 over the previous two weeks.

"Like I said, he did a pretty good job last week, obviously with tough conditions on the road," Payton said. "Without having looked at the tape, we were getting a lot of pressures, a lot of safety blitzes today, a lot of linebacker pressures. It made the running game 'feast or famine,' if you will. ... We felt that way coming into the game that we were going to see that. I thought those guys up front really did a good job in giving Drew time."