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Meachem maturing into a playmaker with New Orleans

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer The words "bust" and "Robert Meachem" are still mentioned in the same sentence but only when Meachem busts big gainers. Meachem, a Booker T. Washington alum and former Tennessee All-American, was a first-round ...

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Old 11-22-2009, 04:25 PM   #1
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By JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer


The words "bust" and "Robert Meachem" are still mentioned in the same sentence but only when Meachem busts big gainers.

Meachem, a Booker T. Washington alum and former Tennessee All-American, was a first-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2007. Meachem was an alleged can't-miss receiver prospect, but he missed every game as a rookie because he couldn't escape the inactive list.

Meachem began to doubt himself.

"Is this really too much for me? Is this too big for me?" he wondered.

Meachem turned to family for help. He called his father and was feeling so "down" he's sure Dad could hear it in his voice.

Dad advised son to be patient and reminded him about a your-time-will-come conversation they had years earlier.

Success was never instant, even for someone with Meachem's skills. He waited his turn to be a playmaker in high school and didn't have a breakout year in college until his junior season.

"They called your number and you performed," Meachem said he was told by his father. "Do what you have been doing."

Meachem said he called his father "out of the blue" that day. "And for him to give me that advice, wow."

Just like when Meachem was at Tennessee, he is blossoming in the equivalent of his "junior" season. Meachem caught 12 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns in his second year with the Saints. In year three, he surpassed those totals in half a season.

"I'm encouraged with how Robert's playing," Saints coach Sean Payton said at the season's midpoint. "We have to continue to find ways to get him the football."

Why did it take Meachem three seasons to emerge? A knee injury sabotaged his rookie season.

"I respect the fact that Coach didn't put me out there, because I wasn't healthy," Meachem said.

"But last year, it was all on me. Coach said he doesn't put people in there he really can't trust, and I really wasn't studying my plays like I needed to."

Meachem knew things had to change, so he prepared his mind and body like never before. He sought the help of a trainer to improve footwork. He took stretching more seriously. He started eating better. He submits to twice-a-week sessions with a deep tissue massage therapist.

"I'm just doing everything I can to stay on the field," he said.

Meachem vowed in preseason he would remind the Saints why he was a first-round pick. Half of his catches this season have gone for 20 or more yards. He averages 17.8 yards per rushing attempt and 24.7 yards per kickoff return.

Meachem said he feels "blessed" to contribute to an unbeaten team, but wishes he knew years ago what he knows now.

But Meachem said it took a while to understand how the NFL works and how to understand coverages and understand why you run certain routes.

"Once you figure out it's not about you it's about the team you will be a better player," he said. "Being a competitor, you always want the ball. I always want the ball. But it's a team game. You have to make sure other guys get open."

Meachem heard many nasty comments when he struggled during his first two NFL seasons.

You're not a good receiver. I don't know why they drafted you. You need to get traded.

"It helped motivate me," Meachem said. "When I was a younger kid, my mom and dad always taught me to turn negatives into positives. Once you turn negatives into positives and keep praying, everything will go good for you. That's what I did and now the sky is the limit."

Meachem said he has pictures of his family in his locker to inspire him.

"That helps motivate me to be the best I can be every day," he said. "Family is always going to be there, no matter what."

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Old 11-22-2009, 05:02 PM   #2
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Re: Meachem maturing into a playmaker with New Orleans

Honestly, I don't think the Saints drafted Meachem with the idea that he was gonna come in and contribute right away. Marques Colston was an aberration. WR wasn't necessarily a position of need at the time we drafted Meachem and he wasn't exactly a polished receiver coming out of college. The Saints themselves admitted that he was the best player on their big board when drafting at no.27 but always used words like "upside" and "potential". I mean, the guy's got nice size, speed, good hands, can run after the catch, and was highly regarded character-wise. It's understandable that they thought this was the pick to make.

Im sure it has taken a little longer than the Saints would have liked for him to come around but I think because he had some setbacks as a rookie, and the emergence of Henderson and Moore probably set his "break out" back a bit. Now with Moore out, he's certainly gotten it done when called upon.


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Old 11-22-2009, 05:28 PM   #3
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Re: Meachem maturing into a playmaker with New Orleans

For most receivers, it takes a few years before you start seeing results. The learning curve for them takes time and we're finally starting to see the playmaking ability he showed at Tennessee. He's only going to get better and the future combo of Colston and Meachem will be lethal for opposing secondaries for years to come.
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Old 11-22-2009, 06:56 PM   #4
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Re: Meachem maturing into a playmaker with New Orleans

Meachem is coming up huge for the Saints. He is a TD machine the last few games. Good to see him contributing at a high level.
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Old 11-22-2009, 07:15 PM   #5
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Re: Meachem maturing into a playmaker with New Orleans

Meachem playing well enough to be considered a starter but who will he replace? Colston is droping passes & last week when he fumbled da ball and laid on da field like a dead fish instead of making any attempt to recover the ball, I was livid. Still you can't replace him (Colston) is a playmaker. Then their Henderson, hmm, you can't replace him surprisingly he is da most consistent WR this yr. Then their's da 3rd wideout lance moore (Mr. reliable). What a problem SP gonna have when Lance Moore recover from injury! Hopefully he (SP) can showoff his OC abilities and keep our WR happy
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:06 PM   #6
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Re: Meachem maturing into a playmaker with New Orleans

I think we all kind of scratched our heads when the Saints took Meachem a couple years ago. Why a WR with so many other needs was pretty much the tone. Now it's like where would the Saints be without him. He is truly showing why he was brought in, looks like the Saints have a true keeper for many years to come. I believe what has helped him is the guy had to keep pushing, especially coming into a situation with a loaded lineup at his position. Cracking a roster spot at WR for the Saints is no easy task. He stuck with it and is now doing exceptionally well.
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Old 11-23-2009, 02:28 AM   #7
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Re: Meachem maturing into a playmaker with New Orleans

Lance Moore is on his way out the door
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:39 AM   #8
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Re: Meachem maturing into a playmaker with New Orleans

16 catches... 6 TDs.... 20.8 yards per catch.
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:47 AM   #9
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Re: Meachem maturing into a playmaker with New Orleans

Originally Posted by SoulStar View Post
Lance Moore is on his way out the door
I don't think so. He still the best route runner and at minimum 2nd best hands maybe the best. Unlucky with the injuries this year but that happens. He will be back.
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:21 AM   #10
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Re: Meachem maturing into a playmaker with New Orleans

Originally Posted by SoulStar View Post
Lance Moore is on his way out the door
you don't get rid of your best slot receiver.
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