If nicknames among offensive linemen in the NFL are common, they aren’t very fashionable.
“Mean,” “Too Tall” and “The Freak” are as legendary as the defensive linemen who carried them — Joe Greene, Ed Jones and Jevon Kearse, of course — but on the other side of the ball, an Arkansas-Pine Bluff great might be able to cash in on a classic nickname. Right now, it’s just a compliment from a New Orleans sports radio host.
“Saints LT Terron Armstead is a terror,” is the headline of a Deke Bellavia blog on WWL.com. His actual comment: “This terror on the left side is one impressive dude.”
What a lovely compliment.
In all actuality, a “terror” is what great offensive linemen have to be to join the Willie Roafs and Anthony Munozs in Canton, Ohio. Can anything else that’s scary yet more positive be said about such a talented athlete of 6-feet-5, 304 pounds?
Saints linebacker Junior Galette took his best stab at it.
“He’s a beast,” Galette said, according to a BlackAndGold.com post. “I gave him everything I had today. He has the best feet of any tackle I’ve faced. I put him up there with the best in the league.”
While Canton is more than a decade away for Armstead, he’s certainly on the right path. Heck, he may collect a Vince Lombardi trophy or two along the way, the very thing Willie and Anthony missed out on (although Munoz played in two Super Bowls).
Bellavia, the co-host of WWL radio’s “Sports Talk” — how did I guess that title? — has seen plenty more of Terron than I have in the 15 months since he was drafted in the third round, and his digest on the left tackle validates what everyone saw in the young guy from greater St. Louis.
“… What’s most important is that there has not been one play, one one-on-one drill that I’ve witnessed that Terron has not won once he’s gotten his hands on the opposing defensive linemen,” Bellavia said. “Armstead gets his grip on the defender and then stones him. Once big #72 has his hands in place it’s over!”
That seems to be Bellavia just talking about Armstead in practice. But let’s look at the on-field proof:
It’s important to know that Armstead, who is only going into his second season in the NFL, I remind you, is protecting the blind side of a world-championship quarterback, Drew Brees, who recorded his third straight 5,000-yard passing season in 2013. Armstead moved into the starting role for the Saints’ final four games last season and bounced back from Brees’ six-sack loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 16 to help hold the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to one sack in a Week 17 win.
In the Wild Card game at Philadelphia, the Eagles sacked Brees twice. The next week at Seattle, the Seahawks’ oh-so-cold defense took him down just once (but still won).
A week or two into preseason camp, those trusty Google Alerts of mine are blowing up with high praises of Armstead.
If he keeps Brees well-encased in protection, Terron the “Terror” will become a fashionable moniker for an NFL offensive lineman.
I.C. Murrell is the sports editor of The Commercial. Email him at email@example.com.