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We've hit the home stretch of the offseason with precious little time remaining for players and coaches to get their non-football lives in order. The first practice for the 2013 season is Friday, July 26. will take a look at 10 questions for New Orleans entering training camp and the season. They're in no particular order, just numbered.

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Which is the critical game on the '13 schedule?
Can Will Smith make the transition from DE to OLB?
Can Jonathan Vilma return to form?
Who will step at WR in addition to Colston, Moore, Morgan?
Who has the best shot of being this year's breakout star?

No. 5: What happens at left tackle?
This might be the biggest positional question of the offseason.

Without Jermon Bushrod, who left the Saints for Chicago in free agency, New Orleans is in a position it hasn't been in years. The last time New Orleans made a change at left tackle, it was forced upon the team because of an injury to Jammal Brown midway through the 2009 preseason.

The good news is that they've had all offseason to get Charles Brown, Jason Smith and Terron Armstead ready. And when camp starts on July 26, they'll have several weeks of getting the players acclimated in pads.

In other words, the position won't be thrust on someone automatically. There will be a camp battle for the spot, forcing everyone to mind their P's and Q's early.

The two who would seem to have their proverbial legs up on the competition are Brown and Smith.

Brown has been with the team since 2010, when he was drafted in the second round out of the University of Southern California. When he has played, he has shown flashes of being the standout player the coaching staff saw in college. But he hasn't remained healthy, ending both 2011 and 2012 on the injured reserve.

Smith was the No. 2 overall pick in 2009 by the St. Louis Rams, where he started 26 of 29 games before getting injured in 2011. He moved to the New York Jets in 2012, where he played, but didn't start, in all 16 games before being released in February. He's a reclamation project that, if he pans out, could be a boon for the

And then there's Armstead, who while athletic, is an unknown because of his career at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, a small Football Championship Subdivision school. He likely won't play much this season as he acclimates to New Orleans and the NFL. The Saints have historically redshirted these players, though he could be the next Jahri Evans, a player so talented he forces his way onto the field early.

The job, however, would appear to be Brown's to lose as long as he stays healthy.
And that's a big if.

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