There were a lot of concerns after New Orleans Saints‘ tight end Jimmy Graham left the game in the fourth quarter in the loss to the New England Patriots in Week 6. It was eventually revealed that Graham had a partially torn plantar fascia, in the arch of his foot, and although he had the bye week to rest up and get any treatment he required, he was still a game-time decision.
Against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Graham finished the day with 37 yards on three catches and two touchdowns and was limited to 16 total snaps. After his touchdown catch in the third quarter, Saints’ head coach Sean Payton decided to pull him from the game, as part of a prearranged plan.
“It was just a matter of can he function and can he move in and out of a cut,” Payton said. “He was able to during the pre game workout like we talked about so we kept him up and put him in a certain amount of packages that was below his normal snap count, but it worked well and I thought he handled it well. He had a good pregame workout so I was pleased.”
Payton is one of the smartest head coaches in the league and this was certainly a wise move. It was good to get him back in the rotation and give him opportunities, but it was equally smart to have him sit for the rest of the game after his second touchdown, even if his risk of injuring himself again was low.
This is good news for New Orleans and their fans, and not so good news for future opponents. Graham will continue to heal, and although his production may not be like what he was doing on the field through the first five weeks, he will continue to help the Saints.