Saints News

Biggest Disappointments on the Saints 2016 Roster

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Dec 4, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes the ball past New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Stephone Anthony (50) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Detroit defeated New Orleans 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes the ball past New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Stephone Anthony (50) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Detroit defeated New Orleans 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 4, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Coby Fleener (82) drops a touchdown pass as Detroit Lions free safety Glover Quin (27) defends during the second quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Coby Fleener (82) drops a touchdown pass as Detroit Lions free safety Glover Quin (27) defends during the second quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Coby Fleener

When the Saints signed Coby Fleener to a big contract in the offseason, most had him pegged for a breakout year. And he did end up putting up career high numbers. But it wasn’t what most fans expected, after years of eye-popping performances from Benjamin Watson and Jimmy Graham.

Again, before I dive into what Fleener did wrong, I feel the need to come to his defense. Fleener didn’t need to put up the numbers that Watson and Graham did because of how many weapons this Saints offense has. Between Michael Thomas, Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, and Mark Ingram, there simply weren’t enough targets to give Fleener the sort of numbers that Watson had.

And it’s not like the Saints thought they were getting a blocking tight end when they brought him in. Fleener was always set to be the receiving-type. And injuries to Michael Hoomanawanui and Josh Hill ended up putting Fleener slightly out of his comfort zone, role-wise. So it’s not like I think Fleener is a bad player, or that his failure to live up to expectations indicates that he was a bad signing.

But the drops.

The drops, man. He just doesn’t make contested catches.

It’s something that Jimmy Graham always did. Maybe that’s why it’s so jarring when Fleener lets balls sail through his hands with even the slightest nudge from his defender.

If Fleener is going to be the guy that the Saints brought him in to be, he’s going to need to fix those hands. He’s going to need to get more hard-nosed. He has all the tools to be an effective weapon for this offense, route-running and speed-wise. But if he can’t get those hands fixed, Brees will eventually lose confidence in the tight end.

I expect he’ll have a better 2017 campaign, with the return of Hoomanawanui and another year in the offense. But we’ll see.

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