Jimmy Graham is 6-foot-7 and 265 pounds. It’s the size of a scary looking pass rusher, only he’s playing tight end for the New Orleans Saints, and the Cardinals must find a way with which to cover him Sunday.
With 10 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown last week, Graham beat up the Buccaneers. The Cardinals, meanwhile, had their own issues covering the tight end in week one, when the Rams’ Jared Cook got loose for seven catches for 141 yards. The Cards did a much better job against the Lions’ Brandon Pettigrew last week (three catches for 32 yards) but Pettigrew and Graham aren’t in the same zip code in terms of importance or talent. Cook’s big game, and the looming Graham issue, underscores the importance of having Daryl Washington in the lineup. But Washington is out for two more games, and it means the Cards will probably have to attack Graham in different ways.
Some have asked if the Cards could use Patrick Peterson. I don’t see that. For one, Peterson has wide receivers to deal with, like Marques Colston. At 6-4 and 225 pounds, Colston himself has size with which to take on Peterson. I don’t see Peterson battling Graham. The Cardinals used safety Yeremiah Bell at linebacker some last week, and that makes sense to continue. That’s the lineup that got rookie safety Tony Jefferson on the field, and I could see a version of it again. Washington replacement Karlos Dansby will likely get some work in that regard. And any team is going to drop into a zone from time to time.
There’s another part of the equation that would help, and that would go for Graham or Colston or any of the receivers — getting some heat on quarterback Drew Brees. That goes without saying, but it will be crucial.
Tags: Karlos Dansby, Patrick Peterson, Saints, Yeremiah Bell
Posted in Blog | 19 Comments »