Starting journeyman Brian de la Puente, who had spent most of his career on NFL practice squads, at center was not part of the Saints' plan heading into the season. He has done a solid job as the full-time starter, though, bringing stability to the position since Olin Kreutz left the team in October. De la Puente, 26, had never played in a regular-season game until Week One this season, and he has made seven starts since, allowing only two sacks and committing one penalty, according to STATS, Inc. De la Puente moved ahead of 2010 fifth-round pick Matt Tennant on the depth chart in training camp and he proved himself to the coaching staff when he stepped into the starting lineup for the injured Kreutz in Weeks Four and Five before permanently replacing Kreutz in Week Seven. The Saints still are confident that Tennant will develop into a quality player, but they're very pleased with how de la Puente has responded to his opportunity.
Follow Dan Parr on Twitter