Bears' Jennings: Saints' Graham 'can’t run without the legs'

Bears' Jennings: Saints' Graham 'can’t run without the legs'
October 2, 2013, 5:15 pm
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Jimmy Graham is a four-year college basketball player who now is an All-Pro tight end for the New Orleans Saints. He hasn’t lost his basketball “moves,” adding a post-up move to a traditional dunk-over-the-goal-post TD celebration.

He also might be spooking Bears coaches more than at least some players.

How good is Graham? “How much time do you have?” Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said on Wednesday. “He’s a huge challenge, he’s a mismatch nightmare. He runs like a fast wide receiver, he’s got excellent catch radius, he’s a fierce competitor, his quarterback looks for him, and he feels like every ball that’s thrown to him he should catch it.

“He’s very effective, so whether he’s in a core or split out in the slot or the No. 1 receiver out wide, he’s everywhere.”

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Graham is 6-foot-7. Cornerback Tim Jennings is ... not (5-foot-8). Graham might be everywhere, but if he’s in Jennings’ area of the field on Sunday, he is on notice.

How to tackle Graham? “That’s easy,” Jennings said. “The big guys (are) the easy part. It’s the small shifty guys that are the problem, trust me. Once (Graham) catches it, he’s not very shifty.

“The best thing he can do is probably jump over you.”

But it’s hard to jump if someone is taking away your launch engines.

“Duh,” Jennings said. “He can’t run without the legs. The shifty guys are the ones where you have a problem getting those legs. It’ll be a good test for us, at home. So we’ll see.”