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tiggerpolice 06-06-2005 12:09 PM

Devery Henderson
After year on sidelines, Henderson wants to hit field

Special to The Advocate

Devery Henderson
METAIRIE -- New Orleans Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson is the NFL equivalent of a redshirt freshman as he prepares for his second pro season.
Henderson, a second-round draft choice from LSU, played in just one game as a rookie and did not touch a football in a regular-season game.

He joined a group that included established veterans Joe Horn, Donte Stallworth, and Jerome Pathon, missed 11 training-camp practices as a holdout, and never became a special teams contributor like backup receivers Michael Lewis and Talman Gardner.

"It was tough," Henderson said after a recent workout, "but the main thing for me was to take it as a learning experience to get out there on the sideline and sit back and watch and see how people reacted to certain things.

"That helped me out a lot, watching Joe Horn and the game and Donte and now I kind of know what to expect when I get the opportunity. The main thing is I'm trying my hardest not to let that happen this year."

Henderson has an opportunity to be the team's third wide receiver because the Saints released Pathon. However, he has competition from Lewis, Gardner and Nate Poole, signed as a free agent from Arizona. New Orleans also is considering signing another veteran receiver.

"Time will tell; I don't know that anybody's ready to pin anything down yet," offensive coordinator Mike Shepperd said. "I have a lot of confidence in him. He's come miles. Like he has said, he thought he was prepared to come in and help (last season).

"The problem was he held out and then by the time he's ready and has learned a little bit about what we're doing, we're in the middle of the year and we've got Joe and Jerome and Donte fixed and his opportunity never came up.

"We had receivers who contributed on special teams and he wasn't quite ready to do that."

Henderson will have to be ready to contribute on special teams this year if he expects to get any significant playing time.

"We're counting on Devery Henderson this year," coach Jim Haslett said. "(Last year) he didn't know. You're talking about a young kid who didn't understand that if you're not the first or second receiver, somebody's got to run down on special teams. This isn't like college where you have 120 guys out there. On game days you've got 45 guys and somebody's got to play special teams.

"I think he understood it about halfway through the season, but it was a little late for him. I think he has improved so much from last season. He really did a great job from the time training camp ended last year. I thought his hands and route running improved. He's still got to work on his special teams aspect. I think he understands that he's got to do something."

Special teams coach Al Everest said he's seen improvement from Henderson, who has added nearly 10 pounds of muscle to his upper body but missed one week of coaching-session practices because of a pulled hamstring.

"Hopefully this year he knows what he's got to do," Everest said. "He's a lot more physical than he was last year. From what I've seen he's really been working hard at it. He knows what he's got to do.

"There was a big learning curve for him last year. A lot of it was probably a shock, not being able to suit up. But to be real honest he came in with a nonchalant, 'I-don't-have-to-play-special-teams' attitude, and unfortunately that parlayed into the way he practiced and prepared himself to play. So when it came time to make game-day decisions, he wasn't a factor because he took himself out of it."

Henderson tried to make amends by getting a headstart on off-season conditioning work, showing up nearly a month before formal workouts began.

"I started working out early and put on a couple pounds and got a lot stronger and right now I'm just trying to learn the offense a lot better so when I go out there I'll be comfortable with everything," he said. "I want to get out there and try to play this year and get on the field."

Henderson, a running back at Opelousas High School, didn't start playing wide receiver until his junior season at LSU.

"In the grand scheme of things, he hasn't played that many seasons at wide receiver," wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said.

"He was nine or 10 installations late when he got here last year. That set him back. You hope that after spending a year on the side watching, learning, and understanding what it takes in terms of practice and preparation that he'll have a better idea of what it takes to play in this league and contribute."

AllSaints 06-06-2005 09:03 PM

RE: Devery Henderson
Devery Henderson needs to prove something this year.

CHACHING 06-06-2005 09:13 PM

RE: Devery Henderson
This kid is gonna kill db's this year..
"no brag, just fact"

mayoj 06-06-2005 10:25 PM

RE: Devery Henderson
That's a bold statement about a player who has proved nothing yet. I'm hopeful, but all the mess with his involvement or lack of involvement in special teams last year makes me pretty suspect about his drive and ability.

CHACHING 06-06-2005 10:46 PM

RE: Devery Henderson
I think he got the he put on 10 lb's and is in the weightroom more than anyone.....determination...thats the key!

jnormand 06-06-2005 11:37 PM

RE: Devery Henderson
I certainly hope Henderson earns the #3 spot. The guy is a speedster. He didn't prove a much last year, but he has worked this off season. He obviously wants to get in there and play. More than I can say for Sully.

cajunsaint 06-07-2005 06:12 AM

He needs to get on the field, then he can prove himself. As long as he on the sidline we will never find out if he's got what it takes

saintswhodi 06-07-2005 09:29 AM


Devery Henderson needs to prove something this year
Why? We are still waiting on Stallworth to "prove something." Devery Henderson, IMO, just needs to get on the field and contribute. That's it. It usually takes WRs three years to adapt to he NFL. Ask Atlanta about their FIRST round pick Michael Jenkins, or ask Jacksonville about their FIRST round pick Reggie Williams. Ask Green Bay how many years it took for Javon Walker t contribute. The person who needs to prove something this year at WR is Stallworth, and I think he will. Devery just needs to get on the field, and see some game action. He is still raw, only having been a receiver for what, 3 years now, and not playing one of those years. Just get on the field, don't drop the ball, make plays where you can, and help where you can. Don't try to do it all now. There are several other players on this team who need to prove it this year a lot more then Devery.

Euphoria 06-07-2005 09:34 AM


mayoj 06-07-2005 09:41 AM

i also agree with the addition of please stay healthy as well.

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