There is nothing more important to a team’s success than a talented offensive line. In 2011, the Saints line helped the club’s offensive unit set a new NFL single-season record, amassing 7,474 total net yards.
Four of the five starters on the line return 2012. Nicks signed with division opponent Tampa Bay. The Saints replaced one Pro Bowl guard with another though, inking unrestricted free agent left guard
Ben Grubbs, 6-3, 318 pounds, was a first-round selection (29th overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. In five seasons, the former Auburn standout has appeared in 74 games with 70 starts- all while lining up next to three different left tackles.
Like Bushrod, Grubbs was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2011. Grubbs was selected as an alternate in the previous two seasons. The two will be playing next to each-other, anchoring the left side of a talented offensive front in 2012.
“(Grubbs) is a Pro Bowl player and he understands the game,” said Bushrod. “He is a very smart, cerebral player so I am definitely excited about the situation at hand.”
In his first year with a new system and a new team, Grubbs hopes to work hard and learn from his coaches and teammates. He hopes to have future success as part of a unit that led the way for one of the best offensive seasons in NFL history last year.
“When transitions are made, you can’t take steps back,” said Grubbs. “With the help of my teammates and coaches, I was able to learn the system fairly quickly. I know what I expect of myself. I set my standards high.”
His hard work had not gone unnoticed. Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt has praised both Grubbs’ physical and mental ability throughout offseason workouts.
“He knows the game and has real good balance. He hasn’t missed a workout. He’s strong at the point. So far so good,” said Vitt.
Grubbs decided to come to New Orleans to join the Black-and-Gold for a number of reasons but indicated that it was an easy choice to make in his eyes.
“This is probably the best situation I could have put myself in,” said Grubbs. I am close to home, on a winning team and with a good group of guys. The coaches and my teammates are great. I am glad I made this decision. I am really blessed to be in the situation that I am in now.”