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papz 07-16-2013 06:48 PM

Joe Morgan: Continuing a Tradition of Saints Field Stretchers
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Throughout recent memory, the New Orleans Saints have seemingly been able to locate field stretchers at will, to go with their high-powered, yet intricate offensive scheme. Beginning with Donte' Stallworth, followed by Devery Henderson, and on to Robert Meachem, there was never a void in top-end speedy receivers. Now it's time for the next deep-ball threat to make make his presence felt in the Big Easy. Luckily for the Saints, the talent is plentiful!

The departure of 10 year veteran Devery Henderson this off-season signified the beginning of the end for the classic era of modern day Saints football. As a highly-touted 2nd round pick and local product (by way of Louisiana State University), Henderson manned his split-end spot for nearly a decade (2004-2012), breaking off big catch after big catch.

Henderson effortlessly took over for Donte' Stallworth, whose four seasons (2002-2005) in New Orleans produced 23 touchdowns, many of the long variety. While Henderson didn't produce touchdowns (20) at the same rapid clip as Stallworth, his effect came in the form of timely, eye-opening, explosive plays that always seemed to demoralize the opposition.

It didn't hurt that Henderson was at his best during the magical 2009 season that culminated in a Super Bowl victory. His career highs in catches (51), and yards (804), were a key cog in the Saints march to the top. Henderson embodied everything it takes to play the 'x' position in the Saints hybrid offensive scheme. His ability to be a hands catcher downfield and absorb contact would become the prerequisite to the position. His career average of 17.9 yards per reception is amazing in itself, but his overall presence will truly be remembered for decades to come.

I must admit, I believed that the Saints let one of the NFL's premier deep threats get away via free agency in 2012. Robert Meachem was an absolute gem in the Saints offense for the better part of three seasons. His deep-ball prowess was a thing of grace, poise, and flat out break-neck speed! At 6-2, 215 pounds, Meachem had the size to bully corners off the line, in addition to winning 50/50 balls downfield.

He was the epitome of what the field stretcher position called for in the Saints offense. He could line up and be effective at the 'x' or 'z' positions within a formation, as well as in the slot. His 23 touchdowns in four seasons of tenure were worth their weight in gold. Couple that with an average of 17.5 yards per reception, on an average of 35 catches per season, and you have pure exemplification of what the position calls for in coach Sean Payton's offensive attack.

When Meachem signed with the San Diego Chargers via free agency, I felt as though the Saints' run of finding the superb field-stretcher may be nearing it's end as the players normally ran concurrently for a couple of seasons. But I must say, the thought of this position's demise was prematurely processed, as they may have their best weapon thus far currently on the roster.

I first saw Joe Morgan play for the University of Illinois in a highly publicized inter-sectional game with the University of Missouri. Despite the lack of production, it was evident as to what would be Morgan's 'Bread & Butter' so to speak. His speed in combination with his length were apparent right away (although those aspects weren't fully utilized due to a number of circumstances - most of which being spotty quarterback play from Ian "Juice" Williams). Morgan would go on to transfer to Walsh University after being dismissed to disciplinary reasons in the spring semester of his junior season.

Morgan would prove to be a success in a couple of ways at the lower level program, even reprising his Track & Field prowess - which had seen him become the state long-jump champ in his native Ohio as a high school prep. At 6-1, 190 pounds with 4.4 speed - Morgan was considered a late round prospect in the 2011 draft. Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on who you are), Morgan went undrafted but landed a free agent tryout with possibly the best team in the NFL for late-round and undrafted players. The New Orleans Saints would provide the opportunity, it was up to Morgan to seize it. And that he did!

With back-to-back touchdowns in consecutive preseason games in his rookie year (a 78 yard punt return, and a 56 yard reception), Morgan guaranteed himself a spot on the team - while showcasing his trademark big play ability. The aspect of his game that will place him among the Saints receiving pantheon when it's all said and done.

After missing his rookie year due to an injury sustained later in the preseason, Morgan got his first taste of authentic NFL game action in the 2012 season. His total of 10 catches were pedestrian to say the least, but his eye-opening average of 37.9 yards per reception only lends itself to the type of ability Morgan has at his disposal.

Seeing as how the Saints have pass threats at every position makes ,having a guy like Morgan even more beneficial. With as good as I believe he can be, he may be only the fourth most targeted pass threat in the offense. This means he will be moved all around the formation in attempts to gain a mismatch. When he lines up in the slot in '10' personnel (4 wr), his ability to separate downfield against the 3rd or 4th best pass defender becomes even more apparent.

Read more: Joe Morgan: Continuing a Tradition of Saints Field Stretchers - Canal Street Chronicles

hagan714 07-16-2013 09:03 PM

Re: Joe Morgan: Continuing a Tradition of Saints Field Stretchers
ok he can streak down the field. i want to see his game improve in the middle of the field and in the flats

Rugby Saint II 07-16-2013 09:55 PM

Re: Joe Morgan: Continuing a Tradition of Saints Field Stretchers
Yeah, but can he block? Henderson and Meachem were good at down field blocking.

dizzle88 07-17-2013 05:40 AM

Re: Joe Morgan: Continuing a Tradition of Saints Field Stretchers

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II (Post 511425)
Yeah, but can he block? Henderson and Meachem were good at down field blocking.

Morgan says that he has been working hard on being a better blocker and its been paying off, we'll see if it happens

Henderson and meachem were very good blockers

foreverfan 07-17-2013 09:30 AM

Re: Joe Morgan: Continuing a Tradition of Saints Field Stretchers

homerj07 07-17-2013 12:05 PM

Re: Joe Morgan: Continuing a Tradition of Saints Field Stretchers
That TD he made against TB - frippen AWESOME

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