After shipping the Giants a second and fifth round draft pick, the Saints were dealt disgruntled Tight End Jeremy Shockey. Shockey began 2008 on a high-note, catching six receptions for 54 yards in a Week One victory over the Bucs. In hind sight, opening weekend seems like mirage because over the rest of the year he caught only 50 passes for a career low 483 yards and zero touchdowns.
In addition to his disappointing numbers, he dropped passes, fumbled the ball, missed blocking assignments, and even got chewed out by Saints' Quarterback and consummate professional Drew Brees.
Most reports citing Shockey’s disappointing 2008 season seem to attribute the underproduction to a sports hernia suffered in Week Three. While it’s true that a sports hernia may have limited his athletic capacity, that shouldn’t be an excuse for the numerous mental hiccups and dropped balls. A much more likely explanation for his inconsistency in 2009 was a lack of mental focus, preparation, and above all else, a lack of maturity.
In May 2009, a severe lack of judgment and good sense led to a situation in which Shockey was found lying unconscious while partying at a Las Vegas club amusingly called “Rehab”. Shockey was apparently dehydrated and rushed to a Vegas hospital for treatment. It was never reported what role alcohol played in the event, but one would be naïve to think that it wasn't the driving factor behind the whole mess.
Need more evidence that this guy is lacking in maturity? Just look at the way he found an exit from New York. After refusing to believe that his team won the Super Bowl without him, he essentially boycotted all Super Bowl celebrations, later refused to participate in practices, and essentially demanded to be traded. This all came after years of publicly criticizing his then quarterback, Eli Manning, Coach Tom Coughlin, and GM Jerry Reese.
Obviously Shockey has the physical tools to be a great player, but he needs to prepare himself mentally and commit himself to being a professional. Whether he’s capable of doing that seems highly questionable after years of problematic behavior.
Potentially, he could have a huge season in Sean Payton’s pass-first offense. On the other hand, if he remains inconsistent and underprepared, TE Billy Miller who outplayed Shockey in 2008, may end up getting most of the looks.