Shockey a great fit for Brees, Saints

By Randy Savoie  |   Tuesday, July 29, 2008  |  Comments( 12 )

New Orleans Saints
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The New Orleans Saints' recent decision to trade second- and fifth-round draft picks to the New York Giants for flamboyant tight end Jeremy Shockey was certainly a bold stroke. After all, Shockey had become an agent provocateur in New York.

The deal, which had been the works since April's NFL draft, caught Saints quarterback Drew Brees by surprise.

"I was a little bit Shocked -- no pun intended." Brees said. "Shockey's reputation is that of kind of a wild guy, but I know he's going to incorporate well into our team and I know he's got a lot of great years left in him."

Brees has not had a tight end of Shockey's caliber since he was in San Diego with Antonio Gates and Brees wasted little time in getting properly acquainted with Shockey, firing an 18-yard strike to his new offensive weapon in their first training camp workout together. Brees was all smiles. You could see him envisioning Shockey blowing up an unsuspecting strong safety over the middle during the regular season.

Despite some of his past offenses, such as questioning the sexuality of Bill Parcells and the coaching ability of Tom Coughlin, Shockey says he never intended to be a disruption in New York.

"The last thing I wanted to do is to be a distraction," said Shockey. "They did a great job, and I didn't want to be a distraction to that team. And if I went, I'm the distraction. Same thing regarding if I had went up and played for the Giants."

Former Giants running back Tiki Barber has been effusive in his praise of Shockey.

"He was the consummate professional in the locker room and on the practice field." Barber said. "He never took a day off in practice. He practices hard, he plays hard, he parties hard. That's just the way he lives his life. He's kind of a throwback. Fifteen to 20 years ago, that's how players were."

Critics of the move question how much more Shockey will add to an offense that was rated in the top five in the league last year. Proponents of the trade say Shockey is a playmaker in a league where those types of performers are difficult to come by.

For the Saints, Shockey will draw double coverage and free up big-time wide receiver Marques Colston. Shockey also has a reputation as a great blocker, which should help improve running back Reggie Bush -- who suffered through a sophomore slump in 2007.

With the acquisition of Shockey, middle linebacker Jon Vilma, defensive end Bobby McCray, cornerback Randall Gay and first-round pick Sedrick Ellis, a D-tackle, some are calling it the best offseason in Saints history.

While last year's fall from grace evoked a lot of moaning and groaning and gnashing of teeth, it seems the Saints have placed themselves in position to make another Super Bowl run.

That would be a breath of fresh air for a fan base whose high expectations were cruelly dashed in '07.

Training Camp: An entirely new kind of fantasy game!
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