Tag:Jimmy Graham
Posted on: January 7, 2011 9:42 am

Saints likely to be without TE Graham, FS Jenkins

Posted by Andy Benoit

It’s looking like the New Orleans Saints will be without one of their top young offensive and defensive contributors Saturday at Seattle. Tight end Jimmy Graham did not practice all week due to an ankle injury. Free safety Malcolm Jenkins also sat out with a knee problem.
Both are unlikely to take the field, though neither can be ruled out completely.

"The news with Jimmy has been good in that in a day and a half, he's feeling a lot better than earlier in the week there certainly was a lot more doubt," Sean Payton said of Graham, according to the Times Picayune. The head coach expressed similar sentiments about Jenkins.

But frankly, this is probably mere coach speak. In all likelihood, the Saints will be counting on Jeremy Shockey and Dave Thomas at tight end and Darren Sharper at free safety. That’s not all bad given that all three have starting experience (and Shockey and Sharper have Pro Bowl experience).

Nevertheless, given what happened with Graham and Jenkins, you wonder if Payton regrets playing his starters in Week 17 against the Bucs as long as he did.

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Posted on: January 3, 2011 9:27 am

Saints' FS Jenkins, TE Graham dinged in Week 17

Posted by Andy Benoit

Week 17 was not without damage for the NFC 5 seed New Orleans Saints. Bourgeoning tight end Jimmy Graham injured his ankle on a touchdown catch. (Graham still did that ridiculous mid-air chest bump that the players, for some reason, are fond of, but he was only able to get a few inches of lift.)

More concerning is that free safety Malcolm Jenkins, whom Gregg Williams has said is the defense’s best player this year, left with a knee injury. Pro Football Talk writes, “Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Jenkins will have an MRI today.  It’s believed to be an issue more with the knee cap than with the ligaments.  That said, we’re told that Jenkins thinks he’ll be fine.”

Fortunately for the Saints, they have great depth at both positions. Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas are great intermediate receiving tight ends (both sat in Week 17 due to injury, but both will likely be available Saturday). Veteran Darren Sharper is Jenkins’ backup.

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Posted on: December 28, 2010 9:07 am

To punt or not to punt

D. Brees and J. Graham celebrate a New Orleans win (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

ATLANTA – In the immediate aftermath of the Falcons 17-14 loss to the Saints on Monday night, an interesting debate arose about coach Mike Smith’s decision to punt on fourth and six from the Atlanta 43 with 2:52 to play, his team holding two timeouts and losing by three points.

Personally, I liked the decision. The Falcons defense had been whipping the Saints offensive line for most of the game and Drew Brees hadn’t played extraordinarily well. Atlanta fans seemed upset at the move, but I didn’t mind it all.

That’s not how Brian Burke of the NY Times saw it. This morning, he wrote that, stastically, it made sense for the Falcons to take their chances and go for the first down.

From the Times:

The conversion attempt would have been the percentage play, by a margin of 0.23 to 0.15 (in Win Probability). One way to think of it is that the Falcons’ decision to punt lopped between a third and a half off their chance of winning. …

I also think game-specific considerations would tend to favor going for the conversion and keeping the ball out of Drew Brees’s hands. Normally offenses ahead in that situation are very reluctant to do anything but run straight ahead, making them predictable and easy to stop. But the Saints trust Brees to make completions.

He makes a good point about Brees’ ability. The Saints ended up converting two first downs and running out the clock, and in part, that was because Brees completed seven-yard passes to TE Jimmy Graham and RB Pierre Thomas that gave New Orleans second-and-short and third-and-short situations in which Thomas could run for the first down with ease.

Smith, though, thought he made the right call.

“Definitely thought it was the right thing to do,” Smith said. “On fourth and six, we felt like the way we’d been playing defensively, and we had two timeouts and we hopefully could wrap one around the two-minute warning. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done there at the end.”

The problem, I think, was that the Falcons defense seemed to tire a little, because suddenly, the New Orleans offensive line began picking up the Atlanta front four with relative ease.

“I think it was a little bit of that (fatigue),” DE Jamaal Anderson said. “But they’re the Super Bowl champions. They know what to do in those situations. They rally.”

And though I don’t think Smith made a bad decision, the Saints took advantage of a conservative play-call that might have cost his team a chance to win the game. Thus, he opens himself up to the easy second-gues.

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