A look at Saints tight end Coby Fleener throughout the 2016 season.
Coby Fleener had a first season in New Orleans that essentially mirrored his last three seasons in Indianapolis – 50 catches for 631 yards and three touchdowns, plus a rushing touchdown against Carolina.
During the three-year patch for the Colts that was instrumental in the Saints making the tight end their marquee free agent signee in 2016, his high numbers were 54 receptions, 774 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
But expectations in New Orleans are high for the five-year veteran. And if his Saints arc follows the path of his predecessors, then 2017 could be a high-output year for Fleener. Namely, in Jimmy Graham'ssecond year as a tight end for the Saints, his numbers jumped from 31 catches and 356 yards to 99 and 1,310, respectively. And in Benjamin Watson'sfirst year as the featured tight end following Graham's trade to Seattle, his numbers spiked to 74 catches for 825 yards, from 20 catches and 136 yards the year before.
Fleener likely won't need those kinds of numbers for the Saints to be productive, not with a trio of receivers (Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomasand Willie Snead IV) that was the league's most productive. But New Orleans will look more to take advantage of the mismatches Fleener provides as he acclimates more to the offense in '17.
BEST GAME:On a day when the Saints needed every point they could muster – a 41-38 victory over Carolina on Oct. 16 – Fleener scored twice. He caught six passes for 74 yards and a touchdown, a 50-yarder that was his season-long reception, and added the 2-yard touchdown run on a tight end-around.
BEST QUOTE:"(The run play) was something we worked on during this week (for the Panthers). Initially when you hear the call it seems a little outlandish, but I would say Coach knows what he's doing and it worked really well." – Fleener