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New Orleans Saints' Andy Tanner built himself into receiver, brick by brick

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Saints receiver Andy Tanner learned his craft in an unorthodox, and slightly painful, way. And for a while, he had the cuts to prove it. Tanner's coach at Rockwall (Texas) High School used to toss bricks to his receivers to ...

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Old 07-28-2013, 08:37 PM   #1
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Saints receiver Andy Tanner learned his craft in an unorthodox, and slightly painful, way. And for a while, he had the cuts to prove it.

Tanner's coach at Rockwall (Texas) High School used to toss bricks to his receivers to soften their hands. It was a technique Hall of Famer Jerry Rice once used growing up as the son of a Mississippi brick layer.

As Tanner recalled Sunday after practice, it wasn't his favorite drill.

"Yeah, he had the idea that if you could catch a brick, you could catch a football," he said, laughing. "I didn't really like that."

Tanner remembers catching the bricks bare handed at first, so that they were scraped raw from the effort.

After that, it wasn't so bad.

"Everybody's hands were cut up," he said. "So we talked to him. He wrapped them up with tape the next time."

Maybe it worked. Tanner prides himself on his hands, knowing that one drop could be the difference between making the final 53 or finding another team.

"If it touches my hands, I'm going to catch it," he said.

Even the little things matter to a guy perennially on the bubble.

"Knowing a mistake could get me out of here, it's very frustrating to drop the ball," Tanner said. "But sometimes it happens and you've just got to move on and forget about it."

Tanner has lived his NFL career on the bubble, and his resume reads like it. He signed with the Saints as a rookie free agent out of Midwestern State on May 13, 2010. The words "signed," "waived" and "released" show up a total of 33 times on his bio.

Tanner was a standout at camp last season, but hurt his ankle in a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and was put on the practice squad for the 2012 season.

It's a start similar to veteran receiver Lance Moore, who spent the better part of two seasons on the practice squad before he had a breakout year in 2007.

"He told me to keep making plays, work hard, we don't get as many opportunities as higher draft guys or whatever, and we just have to make it happen," Tanner said of Moore's advice.

Tanner was a crowd favorite Sunday after making some nice catches from quarterback Drew Brees, including a double move that got the best of rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro.

"It is difficult," Vaccaro said. "Like today, when a guy does a double move, it is really hard. You have to have great eyes, but covering is my favorite thing to do. You just have to be confident and know your technique."

Tanner also had a diving catch in one-on-one drills that sparked huge cheers from the fans in attendance.

Despite his camp accolades, it would be a tough road for Tanner to make the roster this season with Joseph Morgan and Lance Moore all but penciled in, and second-year pro Nick Toon and rookie Kenny Stills competing for the remaining roster spots.


But Tanner, who has doggedly hung around the Saints' roster for three years, said it doesn't matter how each of them got there, as long as they prove themselves.

Tanner is eligible for another season on the practice squad, but his eyes are firmly on making the final 53.

"Every year coach (Sean) Payton always tells us, the best 53 are going to come out of here no matter who you are," he said. "Draft picks, free agent, whatever.

"Whoever can make the plays and get on this team is who they are going to pick."

Special teams: Garrett Hartley and Jose Maltos continue both made all three kicks in practice Sunday from 30 to 39 yards. ... Darren Sproles and Moore were practicing punt returns. ... Quarterback Luke McCown was the first-team holder, and Ryan Griffin was the second-team holder.

OT Smith struggles: Offensive tackle Jason Smith struggled a bit in one-on-one drills while lined up with the second string. Smith, the second overall pick in the 2009 draft, has been working on getting his confidence back, said Payton.

"He is athletic, he has a really good work ethic and I think more than anything else, (what's important is) getting that confidence, repetition through hard work and getting him to where he feels more comfortable," Payton said. "When he puts the time in, he is very diligent in his preparation. More than anything, it's confidence."

New Orleans Saints' Andy Tanner built himself into receiver, brick by brick: notebook | NOLA.com

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Old 07-28-2013, 08:42 PM   #2
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Re: New Orleans Saints' Andy Tanner built himself into receiver, brick by brick

Originally Posted by SmashMouth View Post
"If it touches my hands, I'm going to catch it," he said.
Great confidence! I hope he stays healthy this year
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:40 PM   #3
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Re: New Orleans Saints' Andy Tanner built himself into receiver, brick by brick

For the past couple of years, I've been one of his biggest supporters. I hope you finally make the team Andy. If an Austin Collie and make a career for himself even with the concussions, I really feel Tanner could do the same... but better.
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:28 AM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Saints' Andy Tanner built himself into receiver, brick by brick

Good Luck Andy. May it be your year..
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:18 AM   #5
 
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Re: New Orleans Saints' Andy Tanner built himself into receiver, brick by brick

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Old 07-29-2013, 08:06 AM   #6
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Re: New Orleans Saints' Andy Tanner built himself into receiver, brick by brick

Anyword on Toon ?
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:20 AM   #7
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Re: New Orleans Saints' Andy Tanner built himself into receiver, brick by brick

Last I heard on Toon was he was getting a lot of reps in Colston's absence. I don't remember how well they said he was doing though.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:22 AM   #8
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Re: New Orleans Saints' Andy Tanner built himself into receiver, brick by brick

Originally Posted by papz View Post
Last I heard on Toon was he was getting a lot of reps in Colston's absence. I don't remember how well they said he was doing though.
He was doing quite well from what I've heard and read. He looked "fluid and natural, good hands".
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:41 AM   #9
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Re: New Orleans Saints' Andy Tanner built himself into receiver, brick by brick

Stills has at least as much to prove as Tanner.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:59 AM   #10
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Re: New Orleans Saints' Andy Tanner built himself into receiver, brick by brick

Originally Posted by Seer1 View Post
Stills has at least as much to prove as Tanner.
I think Tanner has proven he can ball, but he needs to prove he can stay healthy while doing it. Stills hasn't proven anything at all, yet.
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