On Thursday, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers connected with Jimmy Graham for a touchdown. Although it’s only preseason, Graham could be key for the Packers moving forward.
Quarterbacks often use their tight ends as a safety measure when things get tense, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers finally has a star tight end to rely upon in Jimmy Graham. Earlier this week, Rodgers told reporters that he’s developing a rapport with Graham. On Thursday, Rodgers proved that their connection is brewing with an eight-yard scoring strike to Graham on the team’s first drive against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Graham’s arrival in Green Bay will give Rodgers a comfort zone to throw to. Green Bay already is without Rodgers go-to receiver over the past few years, Jordy Nelson, having been released this offseason. But Graham’s acquisition gives the Packers a boost to an already stable receivers core of DaVante Adams and Randall Cobb.
Graham’s size (6-foot-7, 265 pounds) will also give the Packers a viable option over the middle. During his time with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, Graham torched defenses over the middle with his unguardable size and freakish athletic ability.
In eight seasons, the 31-year-old has 69 touchdowns and four seasons with at least 900 receiving yards. A five-time pro Bowler, Graham allows the Packers to stretch defenses down the seams, forcing safeties to stay inside and giving Adams and Cobb easier routes on the perimeter. With this mismatch over the middle, Rodgers can sit comfortably in the pocket and deliver routine throws to Graham in coverage.
Per Rodgers, the Rodgers-Graham connection began developing during the grueling days of camp. The team is putting an emphasis on the two connecting on the goalline. Graham, during one goalline session, made a leaping one-handed catch with a safety on him in coverage. For Rodgers, it’s what the team has been missing.
"“We needed something like that, because we’ve been talking a lot about how he wants those type of fade balls thrown,” Rodgers said after the 2½-hour workout on a warm, humid day. “It was nice to be on the same page."
Whenever two prodigious talents come together, usually that’s a good thing. Hopefully, we will see their connection come to fruition this season.