Monday, September 23, 2013
Reclaimed: Saints score with Meachem
By Mike Triplett
METAIRIE, La. -- One team's trash is another team's treasure. Especially when another team throws away one of your old favorite toys.
The New Orleans Saints didn't waste a moment in snatching up wide receiver Robert Meachem after he was released by the San Diego Chargers in Week 1 -- bringing him back to where he started his career as a big-play threat from 2007-2011. And they haven't wasted much time getting Meachem back involved in their offense. He caught a 27-yard touchdown pass Sunday on the Saints' opening drive in their 31-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
The Saints have quickly worked Robert Meachem back into their game plan.
“As I said earlier when we were able to sign Robert, he's running well, and we feel like we've got a pretty good handle on the things he does well,” Saints coach Sean Payton said Monday. “And it's good to have him back.”
It's a little surprising that the Saints have incorporated Meachem back into their offense so quickly. But clearly they valued the speed dimension he brought to their offense for so many years. So they inserted him back into the lineup in Week 2 ahead of second-year pro Nick Toon, who has been inactive the past two weeks.
Although reports out of San Diego this summer suggested that the Chargers felt like Meachem had lost a step, the Saints clearly didn't feel the same way when they looked at Meachem on film and brought him in for a workout.
“Not at all,” Payton said. “We felt like once he got comfortable with the system, his speed was something that we felt was a big plus. And then his size, he's a good blocker and someone who can make a play above his head.”
As Brees pointed out after Sunday's game, Payton even foreshadowed Meachem's touchdown on Saturday night by telling Meachem he was overdue to return to the end zone in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Payton recalled saying something like, “It's been a while since you found this end zone, so this would be a good game for you to get reacquainted with it.”
And sure enough, on the Saints' seventh offensive snap of the game, Meachem got behind Arizona cornerback Jerraud Powers while the Saints flooded the right side of the field with Meachem, tight end Jimmy Graham and tailback Darren Sproles.
“The touchdown catch was great,” Meachem said after the game. “The only problem was that I thought Jimmy was supposed to jump and take it. He said the same thing. If he would have jumped, then he would have had three touchdowns.”
“It felt so good to score,” added Meachem, who has clearly been relieved since leaving a situation that never panned out in San Diego. “I was kind of mad at myself because I had a ritual when I was here. I used to toss the ball underhand to the fans. (But) I really should have kept that ball. That ball meant a lot to me, but some fan got it.”
Meachem, who has now caught 25 touchdown passes as a Saint, including the postseason, isn't likely to take on a huge role in the Saints' offense this season behind other options like Graham, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Sproles and emerging rookie Kenny Stills. He has just two catches for 34 yards this season -- both coming on Sunday. But he's clearly a part of the mix again.
Moore's status: The Saints won't have an update on Moore's status until Thursday this week, when they practice for the first time leading up to Monday night's game against the Miami Dolphins. Moore left Sunday's game early with the training staff (after they reportedly checked out his wrist on the sideline). But the Saints haven't offered any updates.