In years past, from his days as a Miami Hurricane to his time spent with the New York Giants, when I heard the name Jeremy Shockey, I cringed. There was, and still is, something about him that I do not like. It is sort of weird. I am usually a fan of the cocky, just-don't-know-when-to-keep-their-mouth-shut athlete.
Then the news came out that the New Orleans Saints sent a second and fifth-round pick in 2009 to the Giants in exchange for Shockey. My first reaction, as you might expect, was one of disbelief. Phrases such as, "How could the Saints give up two picks for this ***hole!” were being uttered to friends.
The level to which I was pissed off was weird as well, due to the fact that I do not live and die with the Saints as I do with LSU. I am self-admittedly somewhat of a fair-weather fan when it comes the Saints.
I mean, I always want them to do well, and I pull for them no matter whom they play, but I don't get upset and break things like I do when I watch an LSU football game.
But then, with the help of listening to some of the opinions over the radio airwaves, I began to look at the big picture.
The Saints ranked third in total offense in 2007. In addition, they did this with virtually no running game. Deuce McAllister was lost early in the season to injury, which hindered the running game immensely.
And now, with Shockey, and hopefully a healthy Deuce, this Saints offense could be the best offense in the NFC.
1) It will alleviate the pressure off of Marques Colston, who saw numerous double teams last season. In his first two seasons, Colston has 168 receptions, 2,240 yards, and 19 touchdowns.
Colston may have caught the league by surprise in 2006, but his numbers improved in his second year. Some of this can be attributed to how much New Orleans threw the ball last season, but 98 receptions is 98 receptions no matter how you slice it.
Jeremy Shockey should take some pressure off of Colston, giving Brees another reliable target over the middle of the field.
2) Secondly, it will open up more space for Reggie Bush. I would imagine New Orleans is already working up offensive scenarios to get Shockey involved early in the game.
Success with Shockey early in the game will only force defenses to have to account for him at all times, thus freeing up opportunities for Reggie Bush with middle screens, swing passes, etc.
3) Drew Brees loves throwing to his tight end. Saints’ tight ends Eric Johnson and Billy Miller combined for 75 receptions in 2007.
4) The Saints will be more able to stretch the field vertically with Shockey. New Orleans does have some downfield threats in Lance Moore and Devery Henderson, but neither is the playmaker that Shockey can be.
These four things, combined with a healthy Deuce McAllister, are reason enough to believe that New Orleans will be among the league leaders in total offense once again.