Saints encouraged by Meachem

After disappointing the Saints by being unable to contribute in 2007, second-year wide receiver Robert Meachem had an encouraging offseason that drew praise from team personnel.

One of the most encouraging signs of the Saints' recently-concluded offseason workouts was the play of second-year wide receiver Robert Meachem.

Meachem, healthy now after being inactive for all 16 games of his rookie season because of a knee injury that bothered him throughout training camp, appears ready to make a strong run at becoming the third wide receiver this fall.

After receiving praise from Saints coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and quarterback Drew Brees for his attitude and work ethic in the spring, Meachem will at least go into training camp with much more confidence than last season.

As a result, he will likely battle veterans Devery Henderson and Lance Moore for the third spot behind starters Marques Colston and David Patten. The job is Meachem's for the taking since Henderson and Moore each went through periods of inconsistency a year ago.

Meachem has been solid this spring, thanks to his ability to get on the field. Last season, he injured an ankle in a rookie minicamp and then hurt his right knee in the full-squad minicamp. The two injuries ultimately wrecked his rookie season before it even started.

In addition to Henderson and Moore, Meachem will also battle seventh-round draft pick Adrian Arrington for a roster spot. Arrington, who was projected to be drafted much higher than he was, also turned some heads during the team's minicamps and organized team activities.

But as far as the speedy Meachem is concerned, the more competition there is the better because he's healthy again.

And there's a bounce in his step as well after the fans who were calling him a bust last season were cheering him during the recent minicamp.

"My confidence is coming back," he said. "Everything is rolling now. You hear everything (the fans) do. You want to have a great practice to show them you're coming back strong."

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