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Expectations rise for New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees treated his fellow quarterbacks, offensive linemen and tight ends to a day at the historic Del Mar Racetrack on Sunday, where they got to watch the horses up close and mingle with the jockeys ...

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Old 08-24-2011, 06:39 AM   #1
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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees treated his fellow quarterbacks, offensive linemen and tight ends to a day at the historic Del Mar Racetrack on Sunday, where they got to watch the horses up close and mingle with the jockeys afterward.



Michael DeMocker/The Times-Picayune
New Orleans Saints rookie tight end Jimmy Graham is expected to be a key member of the offense this season.
And sure enough, one of the jockeys went up to Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and told him he's his "sleeper pick" in fantasy football.
"Oh my God, that's all I hear about, man," said Graham, who heard another dozen fantasy football references as he signed autographs for a new set of fans after practice in Oxnard. "It seems like everybody I meet on the street, somehow I was some sleeper or something crazy. I have no idea what they're talking about. I have no idea any kind of points system. I've never played (fantasy football) or anything like that."
And it's not just random fans, either. Graham said one of his old friends excitedly let him know last year that he helped him beat his brother in a crucial family grudge match.
Even a reporter who called him for an interview thanked him for putting him in his fantasy Super Bowl last season.
"It's everywhere," Graham said.
Graham became a hero in fantasy circles by coming "out of nowhere" last season and developing into a potent offensive weapon down the stretch. A converted basketball player who played just one year of football at the University of Miami, Graham developed quicker than expected for the Saints. In his final eight games, he caught 26 passes for 307 yards and five touchdowns.
That made him a cult hero among non-fantasy football fans, as well, in New Orleans.
And now expectations are high, externally and internally, for Graham heading into his second season. He will be taking on a much bigger role now that the Saints have released veteran Jeremy Shockey. Already in the first two preseason games, Graham has been targeted four times on third-down passing plays.
"I am 10 times better than I was last year at this point," Graham said. "But for me, it's still working hard and keep taking those baby steps to be the best I can be. And try to see what my role is going to be this season compared to last season and just be prepared for whatever I might get."
Graham said he's especially concentrating on becoming a better blocker. Graham, who is 6 feet 6, said he went from 258 pounds last year to 265 this year.
"I actually came in about 271 two weeks ago, which I had to slim down a little bit. I was blocking a little too well," Graham joked. "They were about to turn me into a left tackle. I'm about 265 now."
Even more important is his mental growth. Graham said he doesn't have to think nearly as much as he did last season. Now he can react.
"You know, last year Drew would call a play, then I'm thinking of where I have to be, where I have to go," Graham said. "Now it's me looking down the field, trying to figure out what the defense is now. That's a big step from last year, and I know it's only going to get better."
Brees and Graham instantly developed a rapport. Even during last summer's training camp, Brees was firing bullets down the middle of the field to his newest big option.

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Old 08-24-2011, 07:24 AM   #2
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He's poised for a big season. And he's my sleeper pick.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:34 AM   #3
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I hope so..we dumped Shockey for him...
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:55 PM   #4
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SHockey was too brittle BUT I am not sold on Graham. He has become the "annointed one" in the media but my understanding is that he has not looked too great in practice!!
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:34 PM   #5
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he has to be a work in process still, if he's up to it just like last season so be it. he's like a beast to be. i just don't want him to have that sophomore jinx. or he has this thing that he don't have shock man by his side coachum him up. and hes lonesome.
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Old 08-25-2011, 02:05 AM   #6
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I hope he will have around the same numbers as last year and that Thomas helps to pick up som of the slack from Shockey.
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