Graham injured his shoulder Week 5 against Tampa Bay but returned two weeks later without missing any game action. He has clearly not been the same since the injury and was on a snap count his first two games back.
"I'm not going to make any excuses for it," Graham said. "I think everyone plays hurt in this league. That's just a part of the job."
Graham has the fewest receiving yards since his rookie year in 2010. He needs 165 yards in Sunday's season finale against Tampa Bay in order to surpass the 1,000-yard threshold for the second consecutive season.
Graham initially injured his shoulder back in Week 5, but has been able to play through the injury all season. While his touchdown total has remained solid, Graham's yardage is down this year. It's possible he's more injured than he's let on all season, and the injury is serious enough that the team will send him for the MRI. Once the team has a diagnosis, Graham will evaluate with team doctors.
Graham came down with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees in the fourth quarter. He was targeted 10 times and finished with six catches for 53 yards and a score in a 30-14 defeat. He moved into second place in franchise history with 51 career touchdown receptions.
New Orleans will face Tampa Bay in Week 17.
Graham tied for the team lead with seven targets. However, he was unable to come down with a contested end-zone fade late in the third quarter.
Graham looked spry, pulling in catches for 29 and 22 yards and trying to hurdle safety Brock Vereen in the fourth quarter. Graham will try to end his three-game scoreless streak Week 16 against the Falcons.
OK. So one week after getting shut out at Pittsburgh,
But what are you going to do about it? Maybe if trading was still an option, I could see how you might consider the possibility that the shoulder sprain he suffered way back in Week 5 is too much to overcome or that defenses have suddenly figured him out five years into his career. At that point, every tight end in the game is theoretically within your reach, so it doesn't hurt to examine every possible angle.
But this late in the season, the only places you can look for alternatives are the waiver wire and your bench. And unless you somehow have both Graham and Rob Gronkowski on your roster, I'm going to say neither offers an adequate replacement.
Even if Graham's shoulder is still bothering him, as he suggested earlier in the week, he still has six touchdowns in seven games since returning. You know how many other tight ends have six touchdowns during that stretch? Try zero. Graham still led the Saints in targets in Week 14 with 11. You know how many tight ends have gotten more than 11 targets in any game this season? Heading into Week 14, only seven. Graham himself was the only one to do it more than once.
The last two weeks haven't been what you hoped to see from a player of his caliber, but Graham's potential from week to week remains too great for you to sit him.
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||5||31||356||11.5||52||5||3||1||21|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||11||99||1310||13.2||59||11||18||2||74|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||9||85||982||11.6||46||9||12||1||59|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||12||86||1215||14.1||56||16||19||5||61|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||15||12||79||835||10.6||29||10||8||0||52|
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||5||1||3||3.0||3||0||0||1|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||11||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||9||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||12||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||15||12||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||3||3.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||15||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2010||New Orleans Saints||15||1||0||0||1||0||20||1||0|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||16||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2012||New Orleans Saints||15||1||0||0||2||0||0||2||0|
|2013||New Orleans Saints||16||0||0||0||1||0||-2||1||0|
|2014||New Orleans Saints||15||2||2||1||0||0||0||0||0|
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