Shockey makes Saints the team to beat in the NFC South

Saints head coach Sean Payton is maybe the best in the league at using multiple personnel groupings to create mismatches and QB Drew Brees is impressive when it comes to processing information, identifying weaknesses on the back end and exploiting them. And adding TE Jeremy Shockey to the mix only makes the New Orleans offense that much better. Production from the tight end has been one of the missing ingredients in the New Orleans offense, and Shockey has the ability to produce on all three downs and in all phases of the game.

First, while he doesn't have a reputation as a dominating blocker, Shockey has shown on film the ability to set the edge in the run game, getting on defenders and creating movement that will open space for RBs Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister. That can force defenses to bring an extra defender into the box, which will create more room to work on the back end for WRs Marques Colston, David Patten, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson, and if disappointing 2007 first-round pick Robert Meachem can contribute things well get even tougher. Defenses have to be more cautious of not giving up the big play on the ground and are therefore more vulnerable against the pass.

Jeremy Shockey