There hasn’t been a more unstoppable individual player in the NFL this season than New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham. With 593 yards receiving on 37 catches, Graham ranks sixth in the league in receiving while also having played one fewer game than the five players ahead of him in that department with the Saints having their bye in week seven.
However, in week six leading into New Orleans’ bye week, Graham was effectively shut down by the New England Patriots. Graham had zero catches, targets and yards in the game. To make matters worse for Graham and the Saints, the star tight end also left the game versus the Patriots prematurely due to a foot injury.
Though Graham is a physical freak, this foot injury seems to be bothering him quite a bit. According to reports from Adam Schefter of ESPN, Graham’s status is uncertain heading into New Orleans’ week eight matchup against the Buffalo Bills. ESPN has him listed as questionable on his player page, but the team’s official injury report won’t come out until Wednesday.
You have to expect Drew Brees in the Saints offense to have success with or without Graham against Buffalo, but they certainly won’t be as dynamic as they are with the tight end on the field. Graham is a rare combination of size, speed and physicality that makes him virtually impossible to cover on a consistent basis. He serves as both a safety valve and deep-threat in the Saints’ offense, making him dangerous in productive.
If Graham is indeed forced to sit out of week eight in the interest of his health, look for young Kenny Stills to get a few more looks in the passing game as a deep threat. Darren Sproles could also see more targets than his already fairly heavy workload gives him now. The Saints should be fine if Graham is sidelined, but they won’t have near the horsepower that they normally do.