Shy Tuttle, the 6’3, 300 lb defensive tackle undrafted out of Tennessee, exceeded any and every expectation placed on him in 2019. Frankly, there weren't any real expectations on Tuttle to begin with in 2019. While he was a player that flashed talent in his senior season at Tennessee, the majority of his time in Knoxville was hampered by injury. He projected to be an undrafted free agent and that’s where Tuttle ultimately landed.
The Saints and the fans hoped they had landed a diamond in the rough when signing Tuttle in the offseason, that diamond did shine when given opportunities. His opportunity came quickly, when Tuttle saw time on the field starting in Week 1, as the Saints needed immediate depth at defensive end, due to the injury to Sheldon Rankins and the one week suspension to David Onyemata.
Tuttle took advantage of the opportunity and never looked back. Tuttle played in every Saints game in 2019, posting a stat line of 18 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 pass deflections, and 1 interception. One interception. That one interception. Yeah, you know the one. Tuttle can, and hopefully will, make many great plays over the course of his career, but it will be hard to top the sheer greatness of that one interception.
On Thanksgiving night 2019, Shy Tuttle provided us all with a highlight Saints fans will all be thankful for for many, many years to come. Leading 20-9 on the road against the Atlanta Falcons, late in the third quarter, Tuttle deflected a Matt Ryan pass, caught his own deflection, and took off downfield. Matt Ryan foolishly attempted to stop Tuttle from taking the turnover further downfield and Tuttle obliterated Ryan with a stiff-arm that sent the Falcons’ leader into another dimension. A dimension of shame and misery. A dimension fit for a Falcon. It was glorious.
If that were the only thing Shy Tuttle did, it may be enough to put him in the Saints Hall of Fame, but thankfully it wasn't. Tuttle proved his worth in 2019 and turned out to be the diamond in the rough the Saints front office hoped he would be. He provided crucial depth at defensive tackle while Rankins was out and continued solid play while Rankins got himself back to game speed. Tuttle proved his worth and was quite the steal.
Shy Tuttle won’t be, and shouldn’t be, a starter at defensive tackle in 2020, but he will continue to provide valuable depth at the position. The Saints have made their bread-and-butter by being stout against the run in recent years, and they are able to do so by being solid upfront, Shy Tuttle is a key brick in that run-stopping wall, and he’s proven he’s got some great hands and one hell of a stiff-arm as well.
Let’s relive not only Shy Tuttle’s highlight of 2019, but the Saints’ biggest highlight of 2019:
Bask in it’s glory! Who Dat!