Saints rookie Andrus Peat struggles in left guard debut

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Andrus Peat was given a chance to start at left guard Sunday in place of the struggling Tim Lelito, but things did not work out too well for the New Orleans Saints’ first-round rookie.

It was reported by Fox Sports on Saturday that New Orleans Saints rookie offensive lineman Andrus Peat would get a crack at the left guard spot in place of Tim Lelito on Sunday against the Houston Texans.  Peat got the start, but he was not very effective.

Of course, going up against a pass rush that consists of the freakish J.J. Watt, who attacks from all different positions and angles, is not expected to be a cake walk.  However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Andrus Peat struggle, and that dates all the way back to conditioning problems at training camp.

Peat was initially drafted to replace right tackle Zach Strief, another negative on the Saints’ offensive line.  But the rookie out of Stanford is looking more like a work in progress rather than a day-one talent.

Excluding left tackle Terron Armstead, New Orleans’ problems on the offensive line have affected the team all season.  Both guard spots and the right tackle position have seen their better days.  Even Max Unger, who was supposed to be one of the top centers in the game, is turning in subpar days, but a lot of that can be blamed on the lack of talent and effort at both guard positions.

Per John Hendrix of Who Dat Dish:

"Lelito has been credited with a sack, 4 QB hits, and a team high 16 hurries from Pro Football Focus. He has a -7.4 grade overall, which is the worst on the offense.In August, Peat received some reps at the left guard spot, but has been used more as the team’s swing tackle in jumbo sets for the offense. Peat started at left tackle in Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles in place of Terron Armstead. It was originally thought that Peat would be lost for the season after a horrible looking injury (which turned out to be an MCL sprain) against the Atlanta Falcons back in October.At 6-foot-7 and 313 pounds, Peat isn’t necessarily your ideal guard size, and there’s plenty of jokes to be made for ‘shorter’ quarterback Drew Brees. The Saints offensive line has given up 23 sacks on Brees this season, and 6 in the past two contests against the Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans."

Regardless, Andrus Peat is going to need to step it up.  He was drafted to be the future of the offensive line.  Head coach Sean Payton likes some of the things he saw from Peat on Sunday, but he knows he still has work to do before becoming an impact player for the offense.

“I think there was some good and then there were some times where he (Peat) struggled,” Payton said during his press conference Monday morning. “He had a holding call and he had a false start. There are a handful of technique things that need to be cleaned up, and yet there are a few times on the film where you are looking at it and you’re like, wow, that is pretty good. Overall, I would say that is was mixed. There were some real good things and then some things that we have to improve on.”

In addition to the two penalties, Andrus Peat allowed a sack, a hit, and four hurries on Drew Brees, per Pro Football Focus.  After turning in the lowest offensive grade (-5.9) on Sunday, it is uncertain whether or not Peat will get another shot at left guard when the Saints host the Carolina Panthers this weekend.  “We’ll see how the week goes,” Payton said.

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