Saints WR Nick Toon hoping patience pays off
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va — As the son of former New York Jets All Pro wide receiver Al Toon, he’s got an NFL pedigree. Check.
At 6-feet-4, 218 pounds, he’s got size and certainly looks the part. Check, check.
On paper and with the eye test, New Orleans wide receiver Nick Toon seemingly possesses all the traits to make him a shoe-in to contribute this season.
However, his most valuable trait could be one that can’t be measured, quantified or given as a birthright.
“You just have to be patient,” Toon said, “and ready when your number is called.”
A fourth-round selection who missed his entire rookie season in 2012 after a foot injury landed him on injured reserve, Toon has been patient.
After a good training camp last season, Toon spent the season buried behind four other receivers. He played in just eight games, totaling four receptions for 68 yards, more than half of which came on one play.
“It was extremely frustrating,” said Toon, reflecting on last season’s limited playing time. “It was definitely a learning experience, but it’s something that you have to sit back and look, OK; why did this happen? What can I change? Move forward and take it as a learning experience.”
But again his patience was tested, which, he said, is never easy.
“You just have to be patient and keep grinding, keep working and (be) ready when your number is called.”
Now, in his third season with New Orleans, Toon’s patience is proving a virtue, his perseverance, paying off.
“This year, I definitely see him as someone who competes and factors in for not only playing time but for touches,” Payton said. “He has done well these first few days.”
Among several talented receivers, Toon has, through Monday’s practice, shown he belongs. A few good practices aren’t enough, though. He knows he needs to do more.
“I just have to continue to come out here and do what I’ve done the first few days, continue to be consistent and just repeat what I have been doing,” he said. “It is all about consistency. You have to be consistent.”
Toon understands that consistency breads trust, and it’s the trust of quarterback Drew Brees he’s after.
“You have to earn the trust in the quarterback and the older guys, Drew (Brees), (Robert) Meachem, and (Marques) Colston, they have been playing together for a long time,” Toon said. “It is very important for me as a younger player to continue to build that trust and be consistent like I keep talking about so that Drew can trust me.
“Trust comes with time. You can’t make up chemistry. Chemistry comes from repetition, and it comes with time.”
Only their’s has developed quickly. In just four practices, the two have connected so often and with such precision that Toon could be labeled Brees’ go-to receiver.
“You have to love getting the ball as a receiver,” Toon said. “My job is to go out there and make plays. When the ball comes my way I am going to do everything in my power to go up there and make a play on the ball.”
Toon isn’t allowing himself to look too far ahead. After reflecting on his past hardships and limited playing time, he is content with taking camp one day at a time.
“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.”