The New Orleans Saints released veteran right tackle Jon Stinchcomb yesterday, a move that helped cap space although more importantly allows for more competition between two promising players — veteran backup Zach Strief and youngster Charles Brown.
Stinchcomb’s release was not planned in any way, and the Saints front office declared the decision was made with a heavy heart. He is popular with players and coaches alike for his down to earth attitude, and what has been described as a “big heart”.
Pro bowl quarterback Drew Brees is close friends with Stinchcomb and even he admitted his release came as something of a shock, although later showcasing his resolve by stating he knew it was a business decision in the best interest of the Saints.
Realistically Stinchcomb’s play had declined dramatically since his Pro Bowl season in 2009, and after weeks of watching him through practice head coach Sean Payton knew that he needed to make a change.
Zach Strief has been with the Saints since Payton’s inaugural season in 2006. He was drafted in the seventh round out of Northwestern University.
He has been a backup at both offensive tackle positions and has been utilized as a blocking tight end alongside Stinchcomb for the last few seasons.
Strief is a strong run blocker, a talent that will suit him well at right tackle, but lacks consistency in pass blocking. He will get every chance to become Stinchcomb’s replacement this season, he will however compete against Charles Brown for the start.
Brown was drafted with the last pick in the second round of the 2009 draft out of USC. Scouts questioned whether he could become a left tackle at the NFL level as it was presumed he was too small (6 foot 5, 297 pounds) to stand up against larger defensive ends in the league.
He was however still considered to be a top offensive lineman in that years draft and did excel at pass blocking throughout his college career.
New Orleans is now giving Brown a chance to become the starter at right tackle, which is fundamentally different then his more familiar left tackle position.
The reasons the Saints are considering Brown at right tackle are anyone guess, but it’s probably because they feel he is not far enough along to protect the blindside of Drew Brees, or they just really like Jermon Bushrod.