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How important is the tight end position to the Saints?

Do the Saints need great play at tight end to be successful?

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Last month, the Saints made a decision to remove Coby Fleener from their roster as a post-June 1 cut. The move happened after two disappointing seasons in the Big Easy, leaving much to be desired at the tight end position. During his tenure in New Orleans, Fleener produced 72 receptions for 926 yards and 5 touchdowns. Overall, Fleener’s production has been rather consistent over his entire career.

Coby Fleener’s Career Stats

Year Tm G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Fmb
Year Tm G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Fmb
2012 IND 12 10 48 26 281 10.8 2 26 2.2 23.4 54.20% 0
2013 IND 16 12 87 52 608 11.7 4 44 3.3 38 59.80% 1
2014 IND 16 12 92 51 774 15.2 8 73 3.2 48.4 55.40% 0
2015 IND 16 11 84 54 491 9.1 3 57 3.4 30.7 64.30% 0
2016 NOR 16 8 81 50 631 12.6 3 50 3.1 39.4 61.70% 2
2017 NOR 11 0 30 22 295 13.4 2 33 2 26.8 73.30% 0
Career 53 422 255 3080 12.1 22 73 2.9 35.4 28
4 yrs IND 45 311 183 2154 11.8 17 73 3.1 35.9 19
2 yrs NOR 8 111 72 926 12.9 5 50 2.7 34.3 9
Coby Fleener’s Career Stats Garen Armbruster

It was rumored that Fleener was adjusting to a learning curve for the Saints offense, so Saints fans believed that the Stanford product was set to explode into his role as the Saints starting tight end. Unfortunately, this was not the case. In 2018, Fleener suffered the fifth documented concussion of his career, which ultimately placed him on the injured reserve list for the remainder of the season.

On May 7th, the Saints released Coby Fleener, stating he was unable to pass a physical.

Since the decision to cut Fleener, the Saints signed former tight end Benjamin Watson, who will most likely split duties with current Saints tight end Josh Hill. With the loss of a once promising Fleener, will the Saints have enough fire power at the position to be successful, or do they even need the position to be successful at all? If the offense follows the same trend it has over the last few years, then the Saints will have no problems moving forward.

Saints Offensive Production Per Position Group (2013-2017)
Garen Armbruster

This chart shows the amount of touches (rush) and targets (pass) each position group has had year by year. With Jimmy Graham no longer on the roster after 2014, production at the tight end position has steadily and strongly decreased; meanwhile, production at wide receiver and running back have seen increases over time. The most important thing in this chart is that the Saints offensive yards per game on average has increased over the 2013-2017 seasons.

During the 2013-2017 seasons, the Saints ranked as high as the number one offense in the league and no lower than fourth. The lack of involvement at the tight end position has yet to hurt the Saints, and it shows no signs of slowing down with emerging offensive players on the team such as Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Michael Thomas.

In the end, we have seen some incredible play at tight end over Sean Payton’s tenure as head coach of the Saints. Payton, with his elite offensive mind, continues to show that any position can be just as important as another within his system. The future is bright in NOLA, and things are just heating up.


Will the Saints miss Fleener moving forward?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    (7 votes)
  • 90%
    (178 votes)
  • 5%
    When we trading for Gronk?
    (11 votes)
196 votes total Vote Now

Thanks for taking the time to read my article. You can find me on Twitter @Garen504. I also do a podcast called @PoydrasReport. You can find us on Twitter and anywhere you can find podcasts.