Some of us love Jeremy Shockey beyond words. Some of us like him, and are usually tolerant of his antics. Many of us tolerate him because he's a Saint, but get annoyed by his antics semi regularly. And then there's probably a few of us out there that can't stand him. Between his showboating, competitive nature, minor injuries, and bouts with dehydration, there's always something to talk about when it comes to Shockey. This time around, he's tweaked his knee in camp. It's apparently no big deal, but he's been held out the last few days of practice, restricting his activity to riding the bike. Forgetting his personality, antics and off the field habits for a second, though, I have to wonder - is this guy ever 100% healthy? Is he ever not banged up?
I've got this sick feeling in my stomach that we're in for another season of Jeremy Shockey limping around the field. The guy does play through his physical issues, this much is true. Either he's the biggest warrior in the NFL, or he's a little dramatic about the bumps and bruises he suffers. Maybe the truth is somewhere in the middle. If you saw Jeff Duncan's vlog, he seems to think Shockey is just coasting through camp so he can avoid working out in brutal temperatures. Between the hernia, knee issues, shoulder issues, ankle issues, mental issues, and whatever else Shockey has had during his relatively short stint with the Saints, I don't ever think I've seen him operating at anything close to full strength. Granted, Shockey at 70 or 80% is probably better than the vast majority of tight ends in the NFL. Still, I'm glad that David Thomas was added last year, and that we drafted Jimmy Graham to be our tight end of the future (hopefully). The bottom line is I wouldn't invest in Shockey any more than we already have at this point. He's largely limped through the entirety of his two seasons in New Orleans, and by the time his contract expires in 2011, he'll be months away from 32 years of age. I'm not saying the guy isn't a playmaker, there is no question he is. But I'm still curious how well he fits in the team's locker room. Brees would never go public and blast a teammate, but we've all seen him tongue lash Shockey on the sideline before.
All this aside, I still like Shockey as a part of the offense and team. That said, I'd prefer as the team progresses to rely on him less as a contributing part. Shockey cannot be a player the team needs to rely on consistently based on what I've seen. The less we have to count on Shockey, the better, I think. When he performs, we should start appreciating it as bonus instead of as a given. With David Thomas and Jimmy Graham, I now feel pretty good about where we are if Shockey were to miss several games. I'm not sure I felt this good going into the past two seasons about our depth at tight end behind Shockey. To be honest, I'd feel even a bit better if we brought Billy Miller back. But for the first time, I feel like there's two guys behind him that can hold their own blocking and are very capable pass receivers. That way, when Shockey starts back with his gimpy routine, we can actually sit his a$$ on the bench and let these other guys contribute. Watching Shockey play crippled several times during his Saints' tenure is just painful to watch sometimes. I hope I'm wrong and Shockey gets right physically and has his best season as a Saint, but my feeling is counting on it is likely to leave anyone disappointed at this point.
I've attached a poll, I'm curious how you feel about Shockey. Here's your chance to speak up on the most controversial Saints player.