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John DeShazier: Saints passing attack better with a healthy Marques Colston

Posted Nov 13, 2013

Colston came back strong against Cowboys

All you need to know is that when Marques Colston is healthy and available, any day could be his day.

All you need to know is that after being inactive for a week because of his knee, and following three weeks in which he totaled six catches for 44 yards, Colston can raise up and catch seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown in one game, against Dallas, and fade back into the woodwork just the same as if he’d been shut out or inactive.

All you need to know is that as prolific as the Saints' passing attack can be – and it’s humming along at 324.9 yards per game this season, second in the league – it’s better, more proficient and more lethal when Colston is healthy and available.

“He’s such a tough, durable guy who’s always there,” quarterback Drew Brees said after the game Sunday. “Missing (the Jets game), (the thought process was) let’s just give you a week to get healthy and feeling good. He’s always battling something.

“That’s just a testament to his toughness. He’s the antithesis of what most people would think of a No. 1 receiver, as far as the glitz, the glam, always in front of the camera. He just goes to work, takes care of his business, such a pro. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody. He just continues to impress.”

Sunday’s outburst was Colston’s 24th 100-yard receiving game, second to Joe Horn (27) in franchise history. But for a receiver who averaged 1,056 yards and 8.3 touchdowns in his first seven seasons, and is on pace for 842 yards and four scores this year, it was one of the few times this season he has looked like himself.

Though the day off coincided with a loss to the Jets for the Saints, it was a winning decision for Colston.

“I thought the week prior, not playing him, I thought he responded very well and moved around well, and made a number of big plays for us,” Coach Sean Payton said.

Included was a 22-yard touchdown pass, with Colston fighting through a defender for the last seven yards and lunging across the goal line for the score, New Orleans’ first of seven touchdowns against Dallas.

“He looked great, I think (he) felt great,” Brees said. “Marques is a tough guy, he’s always battling something. But he’s always going to be present and he’s always going to give you his best and he’s always going to be a play-maker, and there for you in crunch time.

“He’s so steady, all the time. For me, you always know what you’re going to get from him and some games are going to be bigger than others or just kind of the way they play out, maybe a couple of games stretch where he’s catching a lot of balls, catching a lot of touchdowns and then all of a sudden, there’s a quieter few weeks.

“But during those quieter few weeks, it’s Lance Moore that’s having a big day, or it’s Kenny Stills or it’s (Robert) Meachem. We spread it around quite a bit in that way.”

The Saints do but eventually, the wealth ends up coming back around to Colston, the franchise all-time leader in receptions (566) and touchdowns and receiving touchdowns (60), whose 7,843 receiving yards is 11 short of tying Eric Martin’s team record, and whose 7,850 yards from scrimmage is 15 short of tying Martin’s franchise mark in that category.

All you need to know is that healthy and available, Colston helps make the Saints offense a lot healthier and his teammates more available.

 

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