Drew Brees and Keenan Lewis use the phrase "night and day" to describe the difference in Brandon Coleman's play from last year to this year. The 6-foot-6 wideout is becoming more than just a big body as he's far more reliable catching the football and knowing the offense this offseason. At this rate, Coleman could be on his way to transforming into a viable piece in the passing game in 2015.
Talking about wide receivers, Nick Toon has been here for years now, do you think that this could potentially be his year to emerge.
Saints QB Drew Brees: “I do, absolutely. This will be his fourth season and that first year he was injured, the second year he made progress, and then last year he had a chance to kind of break out a little bit and get some opportunities to play once (Brandin) Cooks went down and I felt like made the most of it. We saw glimpses. For him it’s just a matter of repetition and the more opportunities he gets I think the more plays he is going to make. We’ve had the ability to maneuver him around and give him more opportunities that way and he’s been able to handle it very well. So I’m excited for Nick Toon, he’s got a great opportunity I think there’s a great fit for him and a great opportunity for him and a great role for him in this offense.”
Toon figures to serve as the WR3 behind Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston. The role hasn't traditionally been a big fantasy producer, but Jimmy Graham is gone so the team figures to get less production out of the tight end position. If anything happens to Cooks or Colston, fantasy owners should have Toon on speed dial.
Last year, Saints WR Brandon Coleman struggled with the offense and consistency catching the football was nonexistent. Both of those facets have improved dramatically during the first two weeks of OTAs. Coleman came up with several receptions Thursday during first-team drills to drive the point home.
Coleman nabbed a deep ball from Drew Brees as safety Kenny Vaccaro lost him coming off the line as an inside receiver. Coleman picked up another nice reception on a back shoulder throw from rookie Garrett Grayson with cornerback Kyle Wilson in coverage.
Coleman's most impressive play wasn't his flashiest. The Saints wideout outmaneuvered Keenan Lewis in one-on-one coverage on a crossing route to pick up another pass connection with Brees.
It's very early, but no longer does Coleman appear to be just some 6-foot-6 guy you're hoping can become something. He's getting past that point with each practice.
Coleman and Jones are competing with Nick Toon and Joseph Morgan for snaps behind starters Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston. The Saints spread it around, so the team's WR3 probably won't hold reliable fantasy value, but whoever wins the position should be on speed dial if Cooks or Colston suffers an injury.
Friday, April 10, 2015, 4:32pm
Stature stands in the way of Cooks being perceived as a No. 1-type wide receiver in the NFL. Not many true No. 1 wideouts are 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds.
Yet Cooks needs to be that primary pass catcher with the Saints losing Kenny Stills in a trade to Miami and Marques Colston's best days behind him. Cooks only turns 22 in September and missed the last six games last season with a hand injury. Cooks possesses the tools to become the guy.
As the author points out, those are lofty expectations for Cooks. But we've all seen Steve Smith become a Pro Bowler as a No. 1 wide receiver for Carolina for several seasons. Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown is the latest example leading the NFL in catches and yards last season, the story adds. Cooks said this offseason how he's striving to emulate Brown. With no more Stills and Jimmy Graham, the Saints hope and need Cooks to quickly develop into their top option. This seems to be good news for his fantasy value heading into 2015.
Monday, December 29, 2014, 10:04am
Marques Colston might be back with the New Orleans Saints next year. But just in case he isn’t, the Saints cherished his game-winning touchdown in Sunday’s 23-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for all it was worth.
Colston was awarded a game ball after turning a short pass into a 36-yard TD with 1:57 remaining. And the usually-stoic veteran even shed a tear, fellow receiver Robert Meachem told The Advocate.
“You couldn’t have scripted a better ending,” said Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who acknowledged that assistant coach Joe Vitt had made the team aware of certain milestones they could reach in the season finale -- including the fact that Brees and Colston could move into fifth place in NFL history with 68 touchdowns as a duo (they broke a tie with Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne).
Brees, Meachem and receiver Kenny Stills all insisted that they expect Colston to be back in 2014, even though his future is in doubt since he’s due $7 million in salary and bonuses. But the emotion they all expressed made it clear that they’re prepared for the possibility Colston, 31, might be done after nine seasons with the Saints. Colston could take a pay cut to stay, the story pointed out, but Saints may want to move on with a healthy Brandin Cooks back next year to go along with Stills, who emerged this year after injuries slowed his start to 2014.
Saints beat writer Mike Triplett on how the team will replace injured WR Brandin Cooks:
The Saints will rely even more heavily on Jimmy Graham and receivers Marques Colston and Kenny Stills going forward. Colston has been more inconsistent this year than ever before with too many dropped passes. But the Saints haven't lost faith in him. He's continued to lead them in snaps each week, and he led them with eight targets and 56 receiving yards against the Bengals.
From a fantasy standpoint, I might stubbornly give a slight nod to Colston over Stills for that reason -- though it's close, and both should see slight increases in production.
It will be interesting to see if this also opens the door for deep-threat receiver Joe Morgan, who has only caught one pass all season while being mostly inactive (and suspended for two weeks for an unspecified team issue). Morgan flashed his dazzling big-play potential with 10 catches for 379 yards and three touchdowns in 2012. But then he missed all of 2013 with a major knee injury.
Both Colston and Stills should see more targets, but we view Stills as the better fantasy acquisition since he has been posting strong WR3 numbers since Week 7. He has averaged 4.2-58-.40 in the last five weeks, and that was with Cooks still in the lineup. For more on Stills, be sure to read the Sleeper Alert that Senior Editor John Paulsen wrote in the preseason.
Cox Sports Television first reported the news Monday morning, as did NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport.
Cooks, the Saints' first-round draft pick in May, has 53 receptions for 550 yards in his rookie season.
Saints coach Sean Payton will meet with the media later Monday, although he typically doesn't discuss injuries.
Cooks is second on the Saints in receiving yards after tight end Jimmy Graham. His absence would leave Marques Colston and Kenny Stills as the top two WR targets for quarterback Drew Brees. Stills is a guy likely on wires who could see an increase in targets as a result. The Saints play Monday night in Week 12 at home against the Ravens.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 8:34pm
The New Orleans Saints announced Thursday that receiver Joseph Morgan was placed on the reserve/suspended list and replaced by tight on Tom Crabtree on the 53-man roster. Coach Sean Payton declined to elaborate on the reason, and none has been revealed yet.
It appears as though it may have been a team suspension and not a league suspension, though that has not been confirmed. The move did not appear on the NFL’s transaction wire as of Tuesday.
Morgan, 26, has not played in a game since Week 1 (he’s been inactive five times this season). But when asked why during the course of the season, Morgan always insisted that there wasn’t any disciplinary reason for it. As Morgan has said, the Saints typically only use four receivers on game days, and the Saints had him below Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks, Kenny Stills and Robert Meachem in the pecking order.
Chances are, all of the Saints' receivers and tight ends will see slightly more targets instead of any one player replacing Jimmy Graham's production. That could mean a little more from Brandin Cooks, Kenny Stills, Benjamin Watson and Josh Hill. But the player that New Orleans will likely count on most is receiver Marques Colston, who works the middle of the field and the red zone in a similar fashion.
Colston has been up and down all season with some clutch catches but also a costly fumble in Week 1 and several drops. Quarterback Drew Brees will remain confident in him on those crucial third-down throws, though.
"I don't think it affects the receivers with Jimmy being out, other than it gives them more opportunities. I mean, Jimmy's balls have to go somewhere," Brees said. "Listen, that's Ben Watson, that's Josh Hill, the tight ends as a whole. And those guys are certainly capable and will do a great job, I've got so much confidence in them. But as a receiver corps, you just know throughout the course of a game those balls are getting spread out … you don't know how things are going to shake out."
The article identifies Colston as the biggest beneficiary, so owners should be more willing to plug him in the lineup after a rough start to the season. We believe that Josh Hill is the best play of the two tight ends, though it doesn't sound like he's going to see a huge number of snaps with Graham likely sidelined.
The Saints could choose to reduce the number of multiple tight end packages and go with more four-receiver looks against Detroit. That would mean increased snaps for Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston, Kenny Stills and Robert Meachem. It could also mean the Saints choose to activate a fifth receiver on game day -- either Joe Morgan or Nick Toon.
Graham's absence will increase the workload for Ben Watson and, to a lesser extent, Josh Hill. We'll start to find out this week if recent tight end acquisition Tom Crabtree will have a meaningful role in the offense.
Hill is more of a "move" TE than Watson, though it was Watson who was targeted heavily (7) when Jimmy Graham was injured. Hill has a couple of touchdowns on the season and can run. Hill played a season-high 32 snaps in Week 5, so he figures to get extra snaps with Graham out.
Monday, September 15, 2014, 11:24am
Brandin Cooks had 14 more snaps than Marques Colston who wasn't targeted in the game. Cooks had 55 to Colston's 41. It wasn't a great day for Saint WRs though as non had more than three catches. Robert Meachem led the way with 37 yards. Cooks played the most but had just 17 yards. He did have two rushes for 31 yards. As long as Jimmy Graham remains a target, Saint WRs will have a lot of up and down weeks.
Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm
Saints WR Kenny Stills (quadricep, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 2. The probable tag means that Stills should make his return in Week 2. He will likely play alongside Marques Colston and Brandin Cooks in three-wide sets, replacing Joe Morgan in the lineup.
Monday, September 8, 2014, 2:34pm
“He’s impressive,” Brees said. “He can do a lot of things. He’s a very smart player. He’s intense, when he’s out there, it’s business. He can do a lot of things for us.
“We’re really excited about him as we go along here, continuing to build packages around him and give him opportunities. Brandin can do some things. He’s explosive.”
Likewise, Cooks sees where there will be myriad opportunities for him to thrive in the Saints' offense. He was one of four players Sunday with at least five receptions and 58 receiving yards.
Although it was probably best to wait-and-see how Cooks was used before putting him in lineups, it's safe to say he'll be inserted starting Week 2. There will likely be up and down weeks for Cooks, however, as there are just too many targets in the Saints lineup. Kenny Stills was out of the lineup which certainly helped Cooks' targets and playing time. He was second among WRs in snaps behind Marques Colston.
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