Coming off a season where he was one of Drew Brees' key targets in the passing game, help spur a run game with his blocking to a number six NFL ranking and caught two touchdowns in the playoffs, Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey has been working hard throughout the preseason to produce a solid encore in his third year in New Orleans. Following this morning's joint practice, Shockey engaged the New Orleans and New England media on several topics including the pressure of following up on last season, the practices with the patriots and his pre-training camp haircut.
How are you guys able to focus on this year when you are coming off the franchise's first Super Bowl victory?
"Playing in this league, you have to look at it as this is this year and that was last year. This is today, not yesterday. I think everybody on our team has done that. I know a lot of people have speculated 'do we have the Super Bowl hangover?' There have only been seven teams who have won it back to back so history tells you it is very hard to do. We are just focused on practice and getting better every single time. That is one thing our team has been very good at and concentrating on. Coming out here and practicing against the Patriots has been good for us. I think we definitely got something out of it."
What is your mindset heading into this season?
"It is a month away so we still have some work to do. Obviously it is early in the preseason. We just have to get better everyday and grind it out."
You have had some soreness in your knee during camp. How are feeling right now?
"I am fine. It's football. You are going to get sore, nicks and bruises and stuff. I am not really concerned about that. I am just concerned about getting better everyday and I think our football team has gotten better."
Do you still find yourself looking back and celebrating on the great run you guys had last year?
"We have celebrated and did all that but it is time to put some stock into this season coming up not last year. Someone asked me that earlier and if I had to worry about all the teams I have played on through high school, college and every other team I wouldn't be able to concentrate on the team I am on now. I look at it day by day and feel fortunate I am here with a guy that drafted me in Sean (Payton) and great teammates."
What are your thoughts on Jets head coach Rex Ryan's style?
"I just worry about my team – that's it."
How did the practices go with the Patriots?
"We have definitely gotten better here. I know coach (Sean Payton) always wanted to emulate this team as much as possible. I think this team does a great job on and off the field. I think our team has proven to everyone that we can be as notable as the Patriots."
Is it hard to think that the Patriots have been talking about looking up to you guys and your success?
"It's not hard. I think both teams worked hard this week and we have one more day of work here tomorrow. We definitely got something out of it. The goal was to make each other better and I think we have done that."
Is your short hair here to stay?
"Till it grows (laughter)."