November 10, 2008
That's how many of you had fired Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey as of 12:15 ET, and the terminations were not without cause.
In yesterday's loss to Atlanta, Shockey finished with just two catches for 16 yards. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees completed 31 passes for 422 yards, and Shockey was largely uninvolved. In fact, he spent most of the fourth quarter on the sideline, watching Billy Miller get some work (five catches, 65 yards).
Shockey's departure seemed to be directly related to a complete failure on a third-and-long late in the third quarter. Here's a description of the play, via the New Orleans Times Picayune:
Facing third-and-10 from the Saints' 37-yard line and still within two touchdowns, Shockey failed to pick up a rushing Falcons defender, forcing Brees to unload a quick dump-off pass to him in the left flat to avoid a sack.
Not only did Shockey miss the block, he missed the ball, dropping it with a half-hearted effort that spurred Brees to sprint toward him and emotionally voice his frustration. The animated discussion continued on the Saints' sideline...
Shockey fell on the sword, saying he misidentified the player Brees assigned him to block at the line of scrimmage.
You'll find highlights of the drive-killing play and subsequent "animated discussion" here, over at NFL.com. Shockey was involved in a triple-team on the left side, while a blitzing linebacker went unimpeded on the right. Even if Shockey hadn't dropped the pass, he was going to get flattened well short of a first down.
After that incident, Shockey saw the field on just three of the Saints' 36 fourth quarter plays, according to the Times-Picayune. Officially, an ankle injury was the reason. Unofficially, the situation is more complicated.
We know that at his best, Shockey can deliver useful, second-tier fantasy numbers (see 2004-06). However, the current version of Jeremy Shockey cannot. The Saints' upcoming match-up is favorable (at KC in Week 11) and their schedule in the fantasy playoffs is outstanding (at CHI, at DET). Is there a chance that Shockey may yet help fantasy owners? Sure. But it's only a chance.
For the record, this is not one of those posts where we stress patience. The 9,290 drops are understandable. You're playing to win now, Shockey isn't helping, and he has no serious trade value. Guys like Owen Daniels, Bo Scaife, Greg Olsen and John Carlson have overtaken him. Even Miller is outscoring Shockey on a per-game basis. The bye weeks are over, so no one needs to carry two tight ends on a fantasy roster in a standard league.
And sometimes a vengeful drop just feels right. Builds imaginary team unity, sends an imaginary message, etc.
If you're willing to defend Shockey, however, please comment below...
Photo via US Presswire