Jimmy Graham still learning the game, knows corrections must be made

METAIRIE, L a. – Jimmy Graham sat at his locker recently, still amazed that Adidas sent him boxes upon boxes of shoes.

In other words, the second-year tight end out of Miami still hasn’t hit that tipping point where the perks he receives for being a professional athlete are old hat.

Problem is, that’s not just an off-the-field problem for the youngster right now.

He’s still learning the game, getting used to being an NFL player and in Thursday night’s season-opening 42-34 loss to Green Bay, Graham said his inexperience played a factor in him being taken out of the game during long stretches.

“For me, it was, I guess, I wasn’t really getting to my depth,” said Graham, who finished with four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown.

He added, “I’m just young. I’m just learning. There are just things I’ve got to correct.”

Graham said for him problems come into play when he recognizes man coverage on him.

At 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, Graham is a matchup nightmare, an athletic specimen who played major college basketball at Miami before beginning his football career in his final year in South Florida.

So it’s natural that when he sees the one-on-one coverage, his eyes light up.

“It’s one of those where I’ve really got to just stay disciplined and do my moves and get to my depth,” Graham said. “Just kind of work on my precision with the route instead of just trying to speed it up because I know it’s coming to me.”

But Graham said he began to understand the game at the end of the Green Bay contest. On the Saints’ penultimate drive of the game, Graham caught two passes for 26 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown pass that pulled New Orleans within one score.

“I just think it’s me just going through and realizing what I was doing wrong,” Graham said. “We have clips on the sideline and I noticed I was breaking at eight instead of 12. It wasn’t me panicking, it was me just trying to get there as quick as possible and just over-thinking it instead of just playing.”

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