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Jimmy Graham: 'Our run game is really going to surprise a lot of people'

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Jimmy Graham: 'Our run game is really going to surprise a lot of people'

-- Training camp is right around the corner, but Jimmy Graham is still steadily keeping himself occupied in his new province.

The American Cornhole League and the Green Bay Packers tight end teamed up on Sunday to host his first charity event in Green Bay: The Jimmy Graham Charity Cornhole Challenge.

Keeping himself involved with charity is nothing new for Graham. He's always worked closely in supporting the Wounded Warrior Project and Angel Flight, an organization whose members offer free air transportation for occupants in need of medical treatment.

The Packers inked Graham to a three-year, $30 million dollar contract in March after cutting long-time receiver Jordy Nelson.

While releasing a receiver for a tight end doesn't exactly seem like it off-sets on paper, Graham operates primarily out of the slot. In other words, he's essentially a 6-7 wide receiver who functions at his highest rate in the red zone -- where Nelson will be missed.

Being that Graham's role is going to serve more away from the traditional tight end position on the offensive line, that also means Graham won't often serve as a blocker -- one of his few appointed weaknesses over a long and successful career -- for the young, impressive stable of running backs.

That still doesn't mean Graham doesn't like the potential from the trio of Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery.

"Our run game is really going to surprise a lot of people," Graham told Kelly Price of NBC26 on Sunday. "We got some good, young running backs who are hungry. I think we can be very balanced with these young kids."

Jones is suspended for the first two games of the regular season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. As a result, the Packers may very well need to include 2017 seventh-round pick Devante Mays in their plans, at least for September.

The bulk of the load, however, will ride on the shoulders of Williams and Montgomery via a re-imagined offense under returning offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, who is presumably exploring the multitude of ways to get Graham involved.

"But I'm looking forward to playing with Randall [Cobb] and Davante [Adams]. Hopefully they get doubled every play and I'll be one-on-one with a linebacker."

Last year in his third and final season with the Seattle Seahawks, Graham caught double-digit touchdowns (10) for the fourth time in his eight-year career -- and all 10 came in the red zone.

Graham spent the first five seasons of his career after being drafted in the third round in 2010 with the New Orleans Saints, enjoying a copious amount of success with a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees. He ended up leaving New Orleans second on the franchise's all-time receiving touchdown list (51).

Whether New Orleans or Seattle, no amount of prepping in either city could prepare Graham for joining a hallowed franchise in Green Bay and encompassing himself within championship lore -- or riding children's bikes to training camp.

"People keep telling me about these little bikes I'm gonna have to ride pretty soon," Graham said with a smile.

"For me, to really connect and to really meet this community. I remember playing here -- I've played here many times and had many moments, good and bad, in this stadium -- and I've experienced this crowd and how much this community loves. It's much deeper than that. It's almost a part of who they are here, and to really see that and be a part of that is going to be special."


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (8) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Handsback's picture

I wouldn't sleep on Bouagnon either. He may actually be the biggest back of all of them and played well in college.

4thand1's picture

Teams are geared to stop AR and the passing game. This should help the running game even more. Still I'd be surprised to see more than 30 to 35% running plays, unless they are playing with a big lead. It's when MM takes his foot off the gas.

Bearmeat's picture

Agreed. MM is no killer like Belichick. He genuinely is a great guy - which often means that he is too nice on the field, unfortunately.

Also (and more importantly) agreed about the players involved. Assuming RT can achieve league-average play, this offense is going to be a 30+/gm unit.

GBPDAN1's picture

Speaking of our run game, Iove the addition of Mercedes Lewis. I was watching the Jaguars/ Patriots AFC championship game on the NFL network today. I isolated on Mercedes Lewis when the Jags were on Offense. Love the way this guy blocks.

The player he was assigned to was not in the play at all. His veteran experience is evident as he knows when to peel off the first block and attack the 2nd level. I'm excited to see what MM and Philbin do with Lewis, Graham, Rip, and our 3 running backs (4 really because I'm not counting May's out yet). The right side of our line will need to jell, but I do see a potent running game as Graham has eluded too.

With Adams , Cobb, Graham and Alison in the mix, with one or two of our rookie receivers stepping up, the pass game, with Rodgers, will have defenses off balance.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I love how Lewis will open holes, but Graham also carries real value for the run game.

When a 6'7" TE with solid speed stretches the seam, that freezes linebackers or pulls safeties back, opening the 2nd level. From there, it's just a matter of the line executing and the runner bursting through holes.

As for teams wanting to key on the run, Aaron will audible and make them pay.

Graham really does create problems for defenses, and not just in the red zonee.

DD's picture

I'll wait and see if the run game helps. Rodgers could certainly use this and not have to extend every damm play. Biggest concern is IF genius MM using them effectively and Rodgers isn't running for his life every play. I seriously have my doubts on MM changing. We'll find out soon.

justjoe's picture

Is anyone else concerned about the predictability of having Graham in the line up. Teams opposing Seattle in the last few years knew that if Graham was on the field it was a passing play since he does not block and if he was off the field it was a running play. Having an indicator like that could hurt us.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Not too much. Graham is perfectly fine blocking in space. He is bad when in-line and asked to block DL.

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