Heading into their Week 13 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, there were some good news coming out of the New Orleans Saints‘ locker room after a week of practice. First, there were only a handful of players listed on the injury report, and only two of those players are likely to sit out come Monday night. Secondly, tight end Jimmy Graham was not one of those players listed.
Graham fully participated in practice this week after suffering from foot and elbow injuries several weeks ago. He may not be 100 percent as of right now, but he is likely the healthiest he has been for weeks now. This is great news for the Saints, who will need everyone at their disposal to come away with a win against Seattle.
On the season, Graham has compiled 11 touchdowns for 946 yards with a 14.6 YPC average. Few teams have been able to cover the 6-foot-7 offensive threat, the notable exception being the New England Patriots‘ Aqib Talib. Graham was held to zero catches and zero yards in that Week 6 matchup. The Seahawks may implement a similar strategy against Graham by having corner back Richard Sherman get up close and personal with Graham.
Since that time, Graham’s production and snap counts have dipped a little bit as he and head coach Sean Payton have attempted to help control his recovery. It’s a smart move, considering his presence on the field will be needed in the final weeks of the regular season and especially in the playoffs. This is of course assuming New Orleans will make the playoffs, but I think it is safe to say they will.
Graham could see a lot of looks and throws against Seattle now that he is healthier than he has been in recent weeks. Even his mere presence on the field will create opportunities for other players like Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles. If Seattle chooses to focus their attention on Graham, those players will thrive.
Hopefully the Saints can go marching in to CenturyLink Field and come away with a win. It would also be nice if Graham destroyed another set of goal posts after celebrating a touchdown pass like he recently did in Atlanta.