How Concerned Should Saints Fans Be About Coby Fleener?
How concerned should fans of the New Orleans Saints be about tight end Coby Fleener, the team's biggest free agent acquisition in the offseason?
When the Saints signed Fleener to a 5-year, $36 million deal during the free agency period, it seemed like a good deal. After all, Fleener compiled 50 or more catches for the last three season with the Indianapolis Colts, and now he was coming to the Saints, a team that had a tight end that totaled at least 825 yards for 5-consecutive seasons.
Many expected big things from Fleener in this Saints' offense, but that hasn't been the case, so far.
The 27-year old Fleener struggled to learn the offense in training camp, wasn't a factor in the preseason, and had only one catch for six yards in the regular season opener against the Oakland Raiders.
Time to worry?
Nah. That's being a little bit too much of a Chicken Little.
It's understandable to be concerned, but it's way too early to be worried.
While it hasn't been the best of starts for Fleener, he hasn't exactly been quick out of the gates during his career either.
In 2013, his breakout season, in which he had 52 receptions, Fleener only had one catch in the opener.
In 2014, a season in which he totaled 51catches for a career-high 774 yards, Fleener had only 4 receptions through the first two games, before going on a tear late, catching 29 passes in his last 7 games.
Last season, the last of his four seasons with the Colts, Fleener caught only one pass in the opener, before going catchless in week two, giving him only one catch in the first two weeks, prior to finishing the year with 54 catches.
Sure, there are reasons for concern, such as Fleener being a slow-poke in learning the offense, his less than stellar game against the Raiders, and the fact that his receiving yards diminished from 774 yards in 2014 to 491 last year.
All legitimate reasons to be concerned.
Not to mention, the Saints' two biggest free agent acquisitions last year, cornerback Brandon Browner and running back C.J. Spiller turned out to be busts.
That being said, he was the only tight end that the Saints had last Sunday, he's still learning the offense, he's gotten off to slow starts before, and it's not like they weren't moving the ball by throwing it to other guys.
I still believe that Fleener's time will come, and that he'll finish with 60-plus catches for 600-plus yards.
And even if you don't believe that, you still gotta admit that one game is entirely too soon to judge Fleener, or anybody else that has a good track record.
As a matter of fact, no opinions should be formed until after week four, at the earliest.
If you're a Saints fan, you just hope that Fleener rewards you for your patience.