At least that’s the goal of New Orleans tight end Jeremy Shockey, in his second season with the Saints. Injuries hampered his playing time in 2009 and brought forth questions and concerns for his durability and production.
Saints’ fans ponder openly whether he is just the latest in a long line of talented but fragile tight ends that have come and gone in the Big Easy.
The situation is different on this occasion, however, as Shockey entered the 2009 season with a preexisting injury that had never fully healed.
As any athletic trainer will tell you, “When nursing or playing through an injury, you open yourself up to injuries elsewhere,” which is likely the cause for the vocal tight end’s sports hernia early last season.
One cannot argue that his production was impressive in the games he played, hauling in 50 passes (38 for first downs) and 483 yards. It invokes optimism in most wondering just what a healthy Jeremy Shockey is capable of in the Saints’ high powered offense.
Sean Payton said of Shockey, “I like the player, and I think he's going to be a key part of what we do this year."
It’s hard not to agree with the offensive minded coach, as he has shown a considerable knack for not only recognizing talent on the offensive side of the ball but creating an impressive passing scheme that last year produced the most high powered offense in the NFL.
Add in that Drew Brees started off in a system with a pro-bowl tight end, and it stands to reason that Shockey is poised for a big year.
Most of the knocks against him are questionable, to say the least, and reaches more often than not. He is often labeled by the media and fans as a distraction in the locker room and displaying a poor work ethic.
However, players that know and have played with Shockey have no ill words or feelings and Sean Payton has even pointed out, “I see him after practice with Drew Brees, after everyone is off the field, and the two of them are just working on routes. He's a very, very hard worker.”
And while the Vegas incident may raise questions of responsibility and maturity, is it really that difficult to understand that someone can get dehydrated in the desert? That’s almost as insane as wondering how someone can drown in the ocean.
While one can’t guarantee that the Saints are benefiting from the trade as of yet, it’s safe to say people will be following the second- and fifth-round picks to see just what the Saints missed out on.
Even so, there is a great deal of optimism in the Saints’ organization about the 2010 season as well as Shockey’s production. Perhaps a trip to the Super Bowl is just what the doctor ordered.