Jimmy Graham fantasy owners can breathe again.
Graham put up a rare goose egg on Sunday in the New Orleans Saints’ loss to the New England Patriots. Graham had no catches, no yards and only six targets. He even left the game briefly in the second half with an undisclosed foot injury but later returned to the game.
Graham as locked up for most of the game by cornerback Aquib Talib (how did the Bucs let this guy go?) Talib eventually left the game with an injury, but Graham still was unable to pull down a catch. Graham did drop two passes that would have gone for significant yardage, however.
The Saints are partly to blame for Graham’s goose egg largely because of play-calling. Graham repeatedly lined up at tight end or in the slot and released to the inside or over the middle. That made it easy for the Patriots to use a linebacker or safety to help Talib in coverage. The Saints need to move Graham outside or put him in motion to give him more space and a free release and keep opponents from jamming him and doubling his routes.
“He’s a very good tight end,” Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard told NFLNation. “Our biggest thing was to go in there and try to stop him, just stop their whole receiving corps and tight ends, so we did a pretty good job.”
Graham has a bye week to reassess his play and heal his injury.