Bucs cook up a plan to defend Saints’ Jimmy Graham

Published: December 14th, 2012
By Bucs Beat Feed

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has only missed one game in his career due to injury. Fortunately for the Bucs, that game came on Oct. 21, the day of the Saints’ first game against the Bucs.

With the Bucs traveling to New Orleans on Sunday for a matchup at the Superdome, Graham is expected to play. And Bucs coach Greg Schiano, who will see him for the first time, is preparing for the worst.

“In preparation for the game last time, I got to see him on video, but then he didn’t play,” Schiano said. “I’m not going to sit here and say I’m looking forward to seeing him in person. That would be untrue. He’s just a good football player, and then you make him 6-6 and as big as he is and as fast as he is. That’s why he’s a great football player.”

Heading into that game, the Bucs were making plans to have rookie safety Mark Barron shadow Graham. The tactic obviously never had to be employed.

Although Graham is not having the phenomenal season he did in 2011, when he caught 99 passes for 1,310 yards, Graham is still a factor. He’s caught 64 passes this season, including 19 in his past four games.

How will the Bucs go about defending him? That answer isn’t clear, but the Bucs seem to have cooked up a plan.

“We have our hands full, but we think we have some things where we’re going to try and account for him,” Schiano said. “But it’s hard when you have (Darren) Sproles and you have (Graham) and then you have your regular threats, which are your wideouts. That’s where you get into a little bit of a quandary. You have to make sure you have all your bases covered. When you do (choose) to focus on one, you know you’re a little bit (exposed) on the others.”