The day started with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith vs. Kevin Durant. It’s ending with ESPN’s Trent Dilfer and Ray Lewis vs. Jimmy Graham.
Dilfer and Lewis teed off on Graham as a blocker during Monday Night Countdown.
“He’s a fantastic offensive weapon when split out. But when he’s an in-line tight end, it’s not perception, it is fact. He is unwilling and incapable to hold up in the run game as an in-line tight end,” Dilfer said. “He’s more of a spectator than a blocker. They’re averaging zero yards per carry when he lines up as an in-line tight end.”
Dilfer then tried to soften the blow without taking a breath.
“I’m not ripping Jimmy Graham,” Dilfer said, to laughter from Steve Young and Suzy Kolber. “But it’s very important to understand what he is.”
Dilfer then argued that Graham’s involvement in the run game strips the team of its entire identity.
Ray Lewis agreed with Dilfer, saying it’s not an attack on Jimmy before jumping off the top rope.
“He’s a queen tight end. He’s the opposite of what I used to be playing against,” Lewis said, explaining that when Tony Gonzalez played for the Chiefs they would never run to his side of the field.
“When you have this type of deficiency in your offense,” Lewis said, “this can take away your identity without you even knowing it takes away your identity.”
The broader point is that the decision to trade for Graham means that the Seahawks are shifting away from being a power running team. And that point could have been made without attacking Graham. And the mere fact that Dilfer and Lewis said “we’re not attacking Graham” doesn’t change the fact that, indeed, they both attacked him.
It’s almost as if Graham at some point made enemies out of Dilfer and Lewis.