Coby Fleener, Tight End
When Fleener came into the NFL in 2012 he had a lot of expectations. He was joining his college quarterback Andrew Luck in Indianapolis and the plan was that their chemistry would continue into the pros. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. While Luck exploded Fleener tailed off.
He had just 26 receptions as a rookie, and while that moved up into the 50’s in his second year he never really found the level of production the Colts expected from him. From time to time there were flashes of quality, like a seven catch, 144 yard game against New England and a 127 yard, two score day against Washington, but the consistency has always been lacking for Fleener.
So why would he breakout now in his 5th year in the NFL?
Because New Orleans loves using tight ends.
I don’t just mean “they use tight ends more than most” I mean that Drew Brees is outright in love with throwing the ball to tight ends. Last year Ben Watson had 74 catches as the #1 tight end for the Saints. That was a career high at the age of 35. For four straight years Jimmy Graham had over 80 catches and over 880 yards. Graham was a spectacular player but even before he came in the combinations of Jeremy Shockey, David Thomas and Billy Miller were producing similar floor numbers, although they were nowhere near the peak of Graham’s production.
Drew Brees and tight ends go hand in hand. The Saints offense, though not as deadly as it used to be, runs on Drew Brees’ right arm and he will feed Fleener the football. Whether or not that means Fleener has a Jimmy Graham level season or a Ben Watson one is up to him. Either way, it will represent an upturn in performance from Fleener who will want to produce better career highlights than this one…..