Drew Brees: Saints offense will be fine with or without Jimmy Graham

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The Saints haven’t had tight end Jimmy Graham at any of their offseason activities as he’s remained away from the team pending the resolution of his franchise tag grievance or agreement on a long-term deal with the team, but chances are good that they will have him on the field by the time the regular season gets underway.

Graham’s teammates haven’t been sweating his absence, which likely has something to do with quarterback Drew Brees also missing an offseason a couple of years ago while embroiled in his own contract impasse. Brees signed a deal in time for the season and the Saints offense didn’t look too thrown once he was back in the mix. Brees is confident that the same will be true this year and that holds even if Graham’s absence drags into the regular season.

“Look at our numbers over the last eight years,” Brees said, via Jarrett Bell of USA Today. “We’ve had a lot of different guys in there. Jimmy’s only been here four years. He’s only been here half the time. We were putting up some pretty big numbers before he got here, and we’ve been putting up some big numbers since he’s been here. Hey, we do what we do. It’s nice when you can have guys like Jimmy, and obviously he’s a big part of our offense. If he’s in there, we’re going to try to get him the ball. We’re game-planning ways to get him the ball, ways to put him in the best position to succeed. But if he’s not, somebody else is going to get those touches. We’ll put those guys in position.”

With Darren Sproles and Lance Moore also gone, an extended absence for Graham would lead to a lot of scrambling for the New Orleans offense, but it’s probably safe to say that the only loss that Brees’ absence would be the only one that would make them question their ability to succeed on offense.

39 responses to “Drew Brees: Saints offense will be fine with or without Jimmy Graham

  1. The Saints will miss Sproles more than Graham.

    I still think Sproles is/was one of the most underrated players in the NFL. I’m sure he’ll be on the decline, athletically, with the Eagles…but man…what he did in San Diego and New Orleans didn’t seem to attract as much as attention as it should have.

    Maybe Sproles should have had more “me, me, me” interviews with the media. This would have made his name bigger and got him more money.


    Helluva player though.

  2. I’m trying to figure out if the guy who claimed Kyle Rudolph was a better TE than Jimmy Graham was being serious or sarcastic.

    Since 2011….

    Jimmy Graham: 3507 yds receiving/36 TDs.

    Kyle Rudolph: 1055 yds receiving/15 TDs.

    Am I missing something here?

  3. Surprised you didn’t vomit the company line about how the Bills should have traded for Graham instead of Watkins.

    Who’s the clown who came up with that???

  4. He’s right…Saints have had a top 5 offense every year since 2006…most of those years were prior to Graham. Saints will have a top 5 offense again with potentially a top 10 defense to go along with it.

  5. Demanding a big contract that management isn’t willing to pay usually has similar negative karma as appearing on Madden NFL cover. Likewise, giving into the demands or offering a big trade to obtain the services of the individual usually results in a disappointingg return on the investment. Best result for all (except Graham) is to let Jimmy hold his breath til his face turns blue. Like Bree’s says, the Saints will have a good season with or without him.

  6. Graham is good, sproles was ok, but Brees makes everyone better, and will continue to keep the wheels rolling. I am not worried, but those less familiar with the team might. Our Offense will again be top 5 and our defense will again be top 5.

  7. Drew Brees would be just fine without Graham, but much better with him, since they lost Lance Moore and Darren Sproles. Also, because Jimmy Graham may be the best Tight End in the game.

  8. Love Mike Francesa’s comment on Graham and The Saints being a pinball offense. They are and indoor team. When the elements come into play they are mediocre at best.

  9. If you think the Saints will be “scrambling for offense” without Sproles and Graham, you either don’t pay attention or have been smoking something.

    Just let a defense relax if Graham isn’t there. That’s on you.

  10. I’m thinking the Saints would be just fine without him. You could put Colston in the slot and run the middle routes seeing as he is starting to slow down some and put the speedy Stills and Cook on the outside.

  11. “but it’s probably safe to say that the only loss that Brees’ absence would be the only one that would make them question their ability to succeed on offense.”
    What the heck does this mean? Please explain!

  12. *shrug* he’s right.

    If Graham isn’t there, someone else will produce. That is what the Saints do. Josh Hill and Ben Watson could easily catch 80 balls combined in this offense.

  13. Three things here. Ben Watson is a pretty darn good TE. Graham is better, but there is not a huge drop off there. Second thing, Sproles was great, up until last year, then his numbers came down in every category including punt returns. third thing I’d like to point out is all the knuckleheads that keep harping on the contract that Brees signed, name me a QB that is that productive who hasn’t signed a lucrative contract, or will do so soon?? He makes what he deserves according to league wide salaries of top QB”s.

  14. Jimmy is good but lets all remember that the Breesus got a ring before Jimmy got there. I’d like to see what Jimmy would do on the teams that can afford his services, especially if he’s tagged as a WR. And I’d love to have those two first rounders because any team that can afford the price tag and is dumb enough to give up two firsts will be picking really high.

  15. So the saints were awful for not giving Brees 130 million but no biggy if his teammate isn’t paid. This guy isn’t as nice as he professes.

  16. Saints would be okay without Brees too. Sean Payton is the mastermind. Pretty much proven the year he had to sit out. Nothing like Drew being a douche though by throwing his best receiver under the bus. The more Drew talks, the more of an idiot I realize he is. And I love the Saints.

  17. I wonder if Drew was just starting to get good he would say the same thing. Ever since he got paid he seems to be ok with letting players leave.

  18. This team is stupid. You have one of the best if not the best Tight End in the NFL and you want to quibble, not pay him, and put a lower franchise tender on him. Maybe he will force their hand and say pay or he leaves. Sorry, but this is terrible when they are willing to pay Brees what they do but want to cry over a couple million.

  19. I feel Graham is a product of the environment he is in. I would not say it is as curved as Edelman’s. I live in New England, Edelman caught 105 balls, the other 31 teams said he was a product of Brady. I feel Graham is good, not going to deny that. He is probably a top 10 talent at his position, Davis, Gronk, Thomas, Reed, Pita, Witten, in my opinion have about the same talent level. Thomas and Gronk still put up really nice numbers for being a tight end, they also have Manning and Brady throwing them the ball. Pita has Joe Flacco, how is he a $20 million Qb is beyond me they won both superbowls because of their defense in Baltimore. I like Witten Romo is not in the same talent level as Brees, RGIII might be an exceptional talent but until he stops being a run first QB his receivers will have less value, Davis I feel is pretty good, but San Fran has a lot more receiving weapons the New Orleans. Sorry if New Orleans owned a receiver that could run a speed deep route they wouldnt have a slow tight end doing it. Graham was also invisible at New England and at Seattle.

  20. What Brees is saying may be right, I’m just curious about why he said it.

    I wonder how he would have felt if the same was said about him when he was seeking so much money that it challenged the management to pay other key players?

  21. Averages before Graham: 4574 yards 30.5 TDs
    Averages with Graham:5108 yards 40.25 TDs

    Yeah, that’s the guy you should pick a financial fight with. The GM’s job is to talk money. A leader at QB shuts up about other players paychecks.

  22. Brees, another company man just like Tom Brady. God forbid if Graham said the Saints offense would fine without Brees.

  23. Brees doesn’t want the competition for greediest Saint. He can pad his stats and chase records with other receivers.

  24. Sounds like Tom Benson has been talking to Brees to me. We would be so much better with Graham back. He will be in the Hall of Fame one day barring injury. Pay the man what a combo tight end wide receiver is worth and move on. I know he can’t block well but he makes up for it in the fantastic things he does!

  25. I charted every pass route Graham ran last season, including the postseason, and cornerbacks were involved in coverage on 177 of Graham’s 630 routes. Brees only threw a pass toward Graham 38 times in the 2013 season against a cornerback. Graham caught 20 of those 38 passes (52.6 percent success rate).

    Graham’s 52.6 percent success rate vs. corners would rank 91st out of 111 wide receivers last season, nestled between St. Louis’ Brian Quick and former Cowboys wideout Miles Austin, according to the catch percentage rate compiled at Pro Football Focus. It would be the lowest rate among Saints wide receivers. By comparison, teammate Marques Colston ranked 11th last year, catching 70.1 percent of the passes thrown his direction.

  26. Jimmy Graham is a tight end. Probably the best in the league in this system. He should be paid what the best tight end in the league should be paid for arbitration purposes. I don’t blame him for taking a shot at trying to get WR money but he simply doesn’t play that position. If he can negotiate a huge contract with the Saints, more power to him. While I agree the Saints will still move the ball with or without Graham, I gotta believe it is a lot easier with him in the line up.

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