... but somebody’s got to take on Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora. This time, the job falls to Charles Brown, who will make his first start at left tackle for the Saints
Charles Brown realizes he drew as tough an assignment as he could have wanted for his first start at left tackle when the New Orleans Saints host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday to open the regular season.
For much of the day, he’ll be matched up with Falcons right defensive end Osi Umenyiora, a two-time Pro Bowler.
“Osi knows how to use his hands real quick and get a lot of extension,” Brown said about Umenyiora. “There’s lots to prepare for (against him).”
That’s for sure. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Umenyiora spent a lot of time in opponents’ backfields in 2012, when he was with the New York Giants. He had six sacks, five tackles behind the line of scrimmage, 21 quarterback hits and 18 quarterback hurries.
But Brown, in his fourth year with the Saints, pointed out that he has previously started a handful of games at right tackle and said he would not overthink his assignment.
“I’m trying to not get too amped too early,” Brown remarked.
A second-round draft pick out of Southern California in 2010, Brown won the job to replace Pro Bowler Jermon Bushrod, who left for the Chicago Bears in free agency this past offseason.
Lofton: Ga. Dome was quiet
Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton, a former Falcon, did not hesitate to fan the flames of the intense rivalry that exists between the only two teams he’s played for since joining the NFL in 2008. Asked to name the loudest league venues he’s been in after four seasons with Atlanta and one with the Saints, Lofton said: “New Orleans is probably No. 1.
“No. 2 would be Seattle. No. 3 would probably be Houston. No. 4, Green Bay, can get a little loud.”
A reporter asked Lofton whether Atlanta’s Georgia Dome was even in the conversation, in his opinion. Lofton replied: “Atlanta is in it — at times.”
Despite Lofton’s assessment about the Georgia Dome’s noise level, the Falcons’ 33-7 home record since 2008 is tied for second-best in the NFL. The Saints’ record at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since then is 29-11, or tied for fourth-best.
A record meant to be broken
If he catches one pass against the Falcons, wide receiver Marques Colston will set a record for the most career receptions in Saints history. For now, Colston, in his eighth year with New Orleans, is tied with former Saints wideout Eric Martin, who caught 532 passes from 1985 to 1993.
Colston already is the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions and total touchdowns, with 58.
Saints defensive end Glenn Foster and safety Isa Abdul-Quddus have been ruled out of Sunday’s game, the team said Friday. They both hurt their ankles in the preseason finale at Miami on Aug. 29 and subsequently missed practices in preparation for the Falcons game.
For Atlanta, wide receiver Roddy White, cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker Stephen Nicholas were listed as questionable, though they reportedly practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. White sprained his ankle in the Falcons’ second exhibition, and Nicholas and Samuel have each been dealing with a thigh injury.
After playing four years of college ball at Georgia Tech, Saints rookie cornerback Rod Sweeting attracted attention from the Falcons, his school’s hometown team. Sweeting said he interviewed with members of the Falcons organization, and they told him they were interested in selecting him in the draft.
Sweeting went undrafted, however.
“They were telling me I was high on their radar and stuff like that,” Sweeting said. “I was kind of upset they didn’t pick me.”
Sweeting subsequently signed with New Orleans, and he earned one of the five spots at cornerback on the Saints’ 53-man roster. If he plays Sunday, Sweeting expects to see action on special teams and is hoping to exact some revenge on a team that built his hopes up for nothing.
“I’ve got a little grudge against them,” Sweeting said. “And now, in my first game, I get to play against them, so I’m really excited.”