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Saints' Bushrod set to march into town
Success should pay off for Saints' Bushrod

 Jermon Bushrod (in background) has done a solid job of protecting Drew Brees (9) from the likes of Chris Long.
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Date published: 12/5/2009

BY TAFT COGHILL JR.

Jerry Bushrod had never seen his son nervous before.

Jermon Bushrod had played in dozens of football games at King George High School and Towson (Md.) University before the New Orleans Saints' Aug. 22 preseason contest against Houston.

But Jermon Bushrod was a nervous wreck prior to the Houston game because he was scheduled to make the first start of his three-year NFL career.

The inexperienced left tackle was slated to block Texans' Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams.

"Jermon usually has a pretty good appetite and prior to that game, he didn't eat at all because he was so nervous," Jerry Bushrod said. "But when the game was over he was relieved and his appetite came back. He was ready to eat."

Jermon Bushrod was able to let out a sigh of relief because he held his own against Williams.

And from that point on, he hasn't looked back.

Bushrod has gone from an anonymous third-stringer to a key starter on one of two undefeated teams in the NFL.

He's started nine games and played in 10 for the Saints (11-0), who visit the Washington Redskins (3-8) tomorrow at 1 p.m.

The Redskins game exemplifies just how far Bushrod has come.

"I'm really pumped up for it," Bushrod said, of facing the team he grew up rooting for. "It's going to be special coming back. When we came back to Washington last year, I was inactive. So this weekend, it's a game that's going to be pretty special for me."

A WORK IN PROGRESS

Bushrod appeared in just three games before this season, but was pressed into duty after Pro Bowl left tackle Jammal Brown went down with a season-ending sports hernia in the preseason.

He's faced the likes of star pass rushers Julius Peppers, Osi Umenyiora, John Abraham and Joey Porter and has managed to stay afloat.

Saints head coach Sean Payton said Bushrod is still developing, but he's a smart, athletic and dedicated player who has earned the respect of his teammates.

"He's fairly young. He's playing left tackle, and that's always a challenge when you look at the pass rushers they see each week," Payton said. "So each week there's another challenge He continues to get better."


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SAINTS (11-0) at REDSKINS (3-8) WHEN: Tomorrow, 1 WHERE: FedEx Field, Landover, Md. TV: Fox (channels 5, 35)

RADIO: WGRQ-FM 95.9