Shockey injury leaves Saints short on playmakers

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Just when it looked like the Saints were about to catch a break with a three-game home stand, there's more bad news on the injury front.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports tight end Jeremy Shockey will be out three to six weeks because of a sports hernia. That's horrible news for an offense that already is without wide receiver Marques Colston for at least a few more weeks.

Shockey, who was obtained in a trade with the Giants, was one of New Orleans' top offseason pickups. His absence leaves an offense that appeared to be loaded at the skill positions suddenly looking very thin.

Shockey's absence likely will change the look of an offense that was still adjusting to his presence. The Saints don't have another true pass-catching tight end. Top backup Mark Campbell is known more for his blocking.

With Shockey and Colston out, the Saints will have to rely more on veteran wide receivers David Patten and Devery Henderson. The injuries could create an opportunity for second-year receiver Robert Meachem to become a bigger part of the offense, especially in the red zone.

The running backs also are going to have to take on a bigger offensive load. Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush have shared time at running back in the first three games and the Saints haven't been able to show a consistent running game. Veteran Deuce McAllister has carried only twice as the Saints bring him along slowly in his recovery from knee surgery.

Bush has been effective when used as a receiver, but the Saints may turn to him even more as a runner and receiver because they don't have a lot of playmakers right now.