Coby Fleener wasn’t exactly a fan favorite during his four years in Indianapolis, but there was at least one person who came away impressed with his time with the Colts.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is Fleener’s new quarterback, said last week that Fleener always appeared to be open on film.
"We watched a lot of film on him last year, just because we played in the AFC South," Brees told the New Orleans Time-Picayune. "It felt like every time we turned on the film to watch an opponent that we were about to play, I'm watching Colts film or Fleener film. It was like, 'Man, this guy has an uncanny ability to separate.' He's always open. There's always a place to throw the ball where he can get it."
Brees explained how Fleener’s size makes him dangerous and how, as the two continue to work together they will just get better.
"Time on task with a guy like that, the more time we have in this offense where he can understand the nuances and understand what I am thinking, and where I want him to be, and when I want him to be there, and when and where the ball is going to be thrown — that's when you really start cooking,” Brees said. “That's when you feel like a guy is uncoverable. I don't care who is on him. He's 6-5 or 6-6, there is a place where I can throw the ball where he can get it or nobody can."
The Times-Picayune noted that Fleener was among the most-targeted Saints players in practice last week by Brees as the two work on developing chemistry. It’s clear that the future Hall of Fame quarterback came away impressed with Fleener’s time with the Colts and has grown more impressed after getting the chance to work with him.
Fleener was the second draft pick made by Ryan Grigson with the Colts, behind only Andrew Luck. The tight end spent four years with the Colts and played in 60 games, catching 183 passes for 2,154 yards and 17 touchdowns (averaging 11.8 yards per catch). In each of the past three seasons, Fleener was one of the top receiving options on the team behind T.Y. Hilton. For various reasons, however, he wasn’t too well-liked by the fans (never quite living up to his potential and his lack of yards after the catch were chief among them), and his comments questioning the effort of some of his former teammates after signing with the Saints wasn’t well-received either. But on the field Fleener was a favorite target of Andrew Luck and was a productive tight end, and that’s what Drew Brees has seen from him so far.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said earlier this offseason that Fleener will “flourish” in the Saints’ system with Sean Payton and Drew Brees, and it’s likely true. Already in mini-camp it sounds like Brees and Fleener are a good duo, and we could see that on the field in 2016 as well.