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QBREES9 12-08-2009 11:24 AM

New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem living up to first-round draft status
 
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New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem living up to first-round draft status
By John DeShazier, The Times-Picayune
December 08, 2009, 1:31AM
Of course, we saw all of this in Robert Meachem, knew for a fact that one day in his NFL career, he almost single-handedly would yank the New Orleans Saints out of the fire on a day the team dived in headfirst and desperately needed playmakers to remain unbeaten, that he'd rocket to a prominent spot among the league leaders in touchdowns.




Sure we did.
And now that we've finished deluding ourselves with revisionist history, we freely can admit that if the NFL had an award for surprise player of the year, Meachem might not have to play another down this season to take home the award.
Not that Saints Coach Sean Payton ever expressed the slightest notion that Meachem wouldn't pan out. Steadfastly, Payton supported the third-year receiver, routinely noting Meachem's progress during the offseason, projecting he'd become a valuable part of the Saints' offense.
But the guess here is no one knew Meachem could be as valuable as he was Sunday against Washington, when he made two plays the Saints absolutely had to have in their 33-30 overtime victory over the Redskins.
The first was a 44-yard fumble return for a touchdown with 22 seconds left in the first half, monumental because Meachem tracked down Washington safety Kareem Moore after Moore intercepted a Drew Brees pass, knifed through a couple of would-be blockers and wrestled the ball away from Moore while tackling him.
The Saints wouldn't have gone into halftime tied at 17 without that play from Meachem, who wasn't around to talk Monday (Saints players had the day off) but doesn't need to yap much when he plays like he did Sunday.
"The play that Meachem has at the end of the second quarter is significant," Payton said. "It's a hustle play. It's an effort play. You might do that 75 times and you may pull the ball out a handful of times. But the way he stayed after it and stripped the safety and scored, that was significant.
"All of us were proud of Robert. It was a good play. It was a good effort play. It's a hustle play by a young guy who just keeps getting better."
He showed just how much better on the second play, a double move that sucked in Redskins safety LaRon Landry and allowed Meachem to run past him to make an easy catch on a throw from Brees, the 53-yard touchdown tying the score at 30 with 1:19 left. It was Meachem's eighth catch, for 142 yards, and his team-leading ninth touchdown of the season.
"He had a great game," Payton said. "The big catch he makes in the fourth quarter was significant to help us tie the game and send it into overtime.
"So I was pleased, and have been pleased, with how Robert has played. He just keeps getting better and better."
And, in all honesty, it'd be a lie to say we saw this much "better" in Meachem.
The story is well-known now. Basically, he redshirted as a rookie, inactive for all 16 games in part because he was slowed by offseason surgery.
His second year was better -- 12 catches, 289 yards, three touchdowns and a 20-yard touchdown run -- but nothing to get overly excited over.
But the jump this year has been so significant (29 receptions, 544 yards and eight receiving touchdowns, tied for the team lead in touchdown catches with Marques Colston), it's eye-popping.
Carolina defensive coaches specifically named Meachem a Saint of interest in their preparations. Still, he tapped the Panthers for 98 yards and a touchdown on five catches earlier this season.
But nothing could illustrate his awareness, and the impact of it, more than the fumble return.
Offensive players don't hone the art of the strip, often don't worry about much more than getting the opponent on the ground or out of bounds when a turnover occurs. Meachem, though, was keen enough to go for the ball, pluck it mid air, and score for a team that needed a boost.
"When we spend time on turnover drills, Robert is spending a lot of his time on tuck, secure, high and tight -- all the things you would coach someone handling the ball," Payton said.
"And then in a brief instant . . . the challenge always with the turnover is sometimes you don't have the correct guys on the field to really tackle what has become the offensive player. The minute that there's an interception or a fumble recovery, there's a number of guys on offense that aren't really suited to chase or tackle a ball carrier.
"Fortunately for us, Robert ran down the play, stayed on it and thought of more than just tackling the player, but thought about the actual strip of the ball. It happened real quickly and that's great to see with a young player. For us, that was one of a handful of plays that meant a lot. But that certainly kept us in the game and gave us a little life at halftime."
Can't say that we saw in the beginning the life that Meachem would provide, not after his first two seasons.
But we're seeing it now, seeing that it can be enough to be two of the handful of plays big enough to keep the Saints undefeated.


New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem living up to first-round draft status | New Orleans Saints Central - - NOLA.com

Rugby Saint II 12-08-2009 12:53 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem living up to first-round draft status
 
We have some pretty good wide receivers. That comes from good scouting and then good coaching. Our receivers coach gets the best from his group. Thanks again Curtis Johnson. :love:

CantonLegend 12-08-2009 04:52 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem living up to first-round draft status
 
im not a fan of "projects" considering how short it takes our late round draft picks and UDFA to play well....but meachem has been playing surprisingly well this season and he is often the man that goes unaccounted for in our spread sets

henderson is just so deadly going deep and colston is so clutch all over the field....and shockey coming over the middle with whichever running back going out in the flats......its just hard to account for a slot receiver that doesnt show up on a lot of game film until this season

D_it_up 12-08-2009 05:07 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem living up to first-round draft status
 
It's Meachem's third year. The normal learning curve of a draft pick. He has caught on and gotten with the program. I know everyone expects more from a first round pick, but sometimes that isn't the case. His first year was a wash due to injury. Last year, could theoretically be considered his rookie year, and he seemed a little lost, even though he had a few big plays. This year? He's become a stud. The guy has really come through as a scoring and deep threat that should come with the status of a first round pick. His maturity has grown by leaps and bounds, and Brees' has a lot of confidence in him. I'm loving this guy right now.

9thWardDesire 12-08-2009 05:39 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem living up to first-round draft status
 
MEACH WAS CLUTCH!! WE NEED MORE GUYS LIKE THAT THAT WANTS TO WIN.... WAIT A MINUTE, WE DO HAVE THOSE GUYS!!! ALL 53 OF THEM!!
http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/l...FTFOOTBALL.jpg

Euphoria 12-08-2009 05:42 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem living up to first-round draft status
 
Thats great he is doing so well it kind of makes up for another first round draft pick that isn't living up to to his draft pick... I won't mention names but he wears #25.

lynwood 12-08-2009 06:21 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem living up to first-round draft status
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Euphoria (Post 182280)
Thats great he is doing so well it kind of makes up for another first round draft pick that isn't living up to to his draft pick... I won't mention names but he wears #25.

Oh Snap!!

boonedocksaint 12-08-2009 06:44 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem living up to first-round draft status
 
told you guys! go back and read anything i've ever written about him! i knew he was gonna be good!!!!!!!!!


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