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Getting Tight with Ends

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Getting tight with ends Wednesday, 3:45 p.m. By Benjamin Hochman Staff Writer JACKSON, MISS. -- I bet Drew Brees is fascinated by those guys in the Tour De France who are teammates of the Lances and Landises – the guys ...

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Old 08-16-2006, 04:19 PM   #1
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Getting Tight with Ends

Getting tight with ends
Wednesday, 3:45 p.m.

By Benjamin Hochman
Staff Writer



JACKSON, MISS. -- I bet Drew Brees is fascinated by those guys in the Tour De France who are teammates of the Lances and Landises – the guys who sacrifice their marginal personal success for the sake of the team, and then get their left elbow in the newspaper photo of the hero drinking champagne.

This is because Brees, the Saints quarterback, is a tight end guy. He seems titillated by their role in the offense -- their versatility yet anonymity – their invaluable role that seldom grants fantasy points to Gary in Metairie. Now, surely, Antonio Gates plays a part in this. He’s really good. For Brees’ Chargers in 2004, the tight end caught 81 passes, 34 more than their top-receiving receiver. The next year, Gates snagged 89.

“Those guys,� Brees said, “play a significant role.�

Here at Saints training camp, Brees – like the fans – is caught up in the position battles.

“Youâ⠬™ve got guys like running backs Reggie (Bush) and Deuce (McAllister), and obviously we talk about the wide receiver position, because there’s so much competition there. But there’s a lot of competition at that tight end position, too.
“I don’t know how many guys we’re going to keep, but we have six pretty good ones that are fighting for that job right now. And whoever earns those spots, they will have definitely earned it.�

For now, veterans Ernie Conwell and Mark Campbell are the frontrunners. The likable Zach Hilton finally broke through toward the end of last season, but there have always been whispers about his blocking ability. This could hurt him in Sean Payton’s offense.

“The tight end is going to have more of an expanded role in this offense,â€? said Conwell, who joined the Saints in 2003 after seven years and two Super Bowl appearances with St. Louis. “Youâ⠬™re going to shift and move more and be coming from all over the place – tight, middle, wide, backfield. Tight end is going to be moving around and challenging defense as far as where the strength of our formation is going to be.
“This offensive scheme is designed to put different stress points on defenses, and to have a quarterback who’s able to pick the right side of the defense you want to work, based on coverage. And then? Find your open guy.�

Said the quarterback: “I think the tight end going to be a big part of what we do, because obviously the tight end in the run blocking scheme is very very important, and then what they provide in the passing game as far as the intermediate-range completions, playing the role on every play, whether it’s clearing a guy out, creating a high-low read for the quarterback.�

Campbell came to the Saints from Buffalo, where he caught 70 balls the past three years combined, but established himself as a viable run-blocker.

The Saints need run-blockers. Their offensive line is suspect at some positions. And they have Reggie Bush.

“Youâ⠬™re in the meat of the run plays, whether as a fullback or in-line blocker,â€? Conwell said. “The one thing unique about tight end is not only do you have to have great communication with your quarterback, but also with your line. … Tight ends and quarterbacks both have to know a ton of the offense. Personally, I think quarterback is the most taxing job mentally on a team. And then the next spot would be tight end. You have to know all the run-blocking schemes, all the pass protection schemes, you have to know what all the receivers are doing.â€?

Naturally – and maybe they like it this way – tight ends are generally blurry in the Monday paper, in the background recovering from a block while McAllister prances for a first down. True football fans appreciate the tight ends’ role on his or her team. But the position is as glamorous as being Bush’s limo driver.

Fantasy football doesn’t help, Campbell said – many fans are gluttonous about statistics, not those who aid the accumulating of statistics.

“This whole thing is based on a fantasy points – what are you going to do for me?� Campbell said. “But the really good guys, they get singled out. … But you definitely have to be dominating people to get recognized.�


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Old 08-16-2006, 05:26 PM   #2
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RE: Getting Tight with Ends

Thanks Tally, Finally some news about the TE position..Hoping Hilton makes it
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Old 08-16-2006, 09:10 PM   #3
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Thanks Tally,
I also hope Zach makes it jr.
I do know that to play in this system he must be an effective blocker.
He has not shown that to this point.
With his height and (for a TE) slight frame he may not be able to.
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Old 08-16-2006, 09:33 PM   #4
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I hope Hilton makes it too. For some reason I really hate Conwell. Why is that?
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Old 08-16-2006, 09:48 PM   #5
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For some reason I really hate Conwell. Why is that?
Maybe for the same reason I have been disappointed with him.
I thought (irrationally) that the TE from the "Greatest Show On Turf" would be Isaac Bruce or something.
Not so much.
Drops and injuries could be it too though.
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Old 08-17-2006, 05:55 PM   #6
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i just want them to keep the best tight ends on the team, no matter who it is... personally, hilton is a liability vs. good edge rushers (he's not strong enough, can't get low enough into the defender's pads, etc. to sustain effective blocks).... conwell is definitely on the way down, campbell is a good blocker, but not really known as a catcher... we'll see, but i totally trust payton's decision making capability so we'll have the best available tight ends on the final roster...
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:37 PM   #7
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This post title leaves so many openings for innuendo.....and they begin............................................. .................................................. ........NOW!!!!
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Old 08-17-2006, 11:36 PM   #8
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Ok,
I'll start.
"Last year I was a Tight End. This year I hope to be a Wide Receiver!"
- Sergio "Pinky" Bummer, San Francisco Community College
(cousin of Jeff Garcia)
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