METAIRIE, La. — Charles Brown sat at his locker at the New Orleans Saints facility on Wednesday, his head swiveling from left to right and back again as question after question was lobbed his way.
When the scene finally cleared, the reporters finally moving on to their next player, Brown picked up his plate of food.
And then he looked up.
“I wasn’t prepared for that,” he said, a smile appearing on his face.
With starting right tackle Zach Strief out on Wednesday with a left groin injury, Brown suddenly becomes the next man up. New Orleans (3-5) hopes he’s more prepared for Atlanta (8-0) on Sunday at noon than he was for the questions.
He should be. He totaled 24 offensive snaps, playing for all of the fourth quarter after Strief left the game in New Orleans’ 28-13 win over Philadelphia.
A week earlier in Denver, Brown played 10 plays, his first offensive snaps of the season.
Getting thrust into the middle of a game, Brown said, is much tougher than starting one.
“During the game it’s a kind of a shock sometimes,” Brown said. “You just got to adjust as quick as you can and get used to it. Then get ready for a full week of preparation – the second game is always a little more comfortable.”
Brown came to the Saints as the No. 64 overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Southern California. In just his second season, he was thrust into a starting role for five games when Strief was sideline with a knee injury.
But just when he was beginning to feel comfortable in the role, he was injured against St. Louis. Brown went on IR and was forced to sit out the rest of the season with a hip pointer injury.
That experience will help, Brown said, should he be put in a position to play on Sunday.
“It’s definitely going to help out a lot,” Brown said. “It’s not going to be as much of a shock factor. I’m going to be used to everything. Just locate the defenders and run the plays. “
It might help that the most important player on offense is all right with Brown on the field.
“He’s played enough times before, whether it’s coming in finishing a game, playing some tight end or (as a) blocking end at times,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “Now that he’s a full-time tackle at least in the short term, I’m excited for him and this opportunity for him.”