Deke: Saints WR Toon might make a big splash in 2014
by Deke Bellavia,posted Jul 31 2014 11:39AM
His skill set is very good, his size allows him to have an advantage over most DB’s and he comes from some pretty good NFL stock. Saints wide receiver Nick Toon enters his third season with a lot on the line.
“Yeah, it’s a good start. There’s a lot of work to be done before the regular season gets started. I think I am off to a good start," Toon said. He has been solid during off-season work and he’s off to a very productive start at training camp thus far. Still, his first two seasons in the NFL have left a lot to be desired.
Toon spent his entire rookie season in 2012 on injured reserve, and 2013 was not that impressive. The talented WR was known more for what he didn’t do than what was expected of him. Toon played in eight games last season with three starts to his credit, and finished the season with four receptions for 68 yards.
“It was extremely frustrating. It was definitely a learning experience but it’s something that you have to sit back and look, okay, why did this happen? What can I change? Move forward and take it as a learning experience. There are new learning experiences every day, positive and negative, you just have to learn from your past and use it to put yourself in a better position for the future.”
Toon spoke to the media earlier this week about his struggles his first two seasons in the NFL. “I think Nick Toon can be a very good player for the Saints. His father, Al Toon, was one of the best ever. And I think Nick has the skills to be very productive. He’s just got to go out there and catch the football,” said Bobby Hebert. Al Toon was one of the greatest wide receivers in New York Jets history. Nick says he is able to lean on his father for some words of advice.
“Just be patient. Like you said, you just have to be patient and be ready. You can twist it a million different ways, but you just have to be ready when your opportunity presents itself.”
And how does QB Drew Brees think the third year WR is doing? “He is playing with a lot of confidence right now, and he is healthy. I think now going into his third year in this offense, I think he has a chance to see a lot of things, absorb a lot of things, a lot of things are becoming more natural for him, so he is able to play fast. A lot of these subtle adjustments he has down now. He has watched (Marques) Colston enough times and Lance (Moore) and those guys. I think that has been a big thing for him. More opportunities he gets, the better he will become.”
Toon averaged 17 yards per grab in 2013 and his longest reception was a 35 yard grab against the Chicago Bears. Toon says right now, his focus is just improve each time he's on the field.
“I am just trying to continue doing what I did last year, build off what I did and come out here and try to prove myself every day and just do my job. My biggest thing is I’m just trying to come out here and prove myself, stay consistent, and make plays.”
With 11 WR's on the roster, the Saints have legit talent and competition at the position. I think Colston, Cooks and Stills are locks. Then you have Joe Morgan, Robert Meachum, Nick Toon, Brandon Coleman, Andy Tanner, Seantavius Jones and Charles Hawkins all trying to make the roster.
One thing that looks evident to me is the trust and chemistry Toon is seemingly building with Drew Brees and the other Saints QB's. Toon knows that trust and chemistry will be key in him making the squad.
“Trust comes with time. You can’t make up chemistry. Chemistry comes from repetition and it comes with time. I have been here a few years now and it is something I have been trying to continue to develop from the first day I stepped on the field. Even now, I am still trying to work on that every day. I am continuing to build on that chemistry and the relationship with the quarterbacks.”
New Orleans will be fine at the WR position, and when you toss in the league's leading TD grabber from a year ago (Jimmy Graham) and fellow TE Ben Watson, the pass catchers are one of the better groups in the NFL.
Toon could really help put the Saints over the top on offense. His big 6'4" frame allows him to cause match-up problems, and if he continues to move in the right direction, Toon could be yet another very dangerous weapon for New Orleans this season.
It's early, and there is a lot of time left before the first game of the season happens against Atlanta. But to all of you out there looking for a guy to make a big splash for the Saints offense, picking Nick Toon would not be a bad idea.