Jimmy Graham and the 5 Best New Orleans Saints Surprises of the 2011 NFL Season
Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints has taken the league by surprise with his outstanding play, but he hasn’t been the only Saint this season turning heads.
The Saints are 4-2, and a big reason why they’ve been so successful is because of players like Graham making great plays and shocking the NFL.
While it’s not as shocking as Sean Payton’s freak injury last week on the sidelines (just seeing it makes me cringe), Graham and a few unlikely Saints have made noise so far this season.
After his performance on Sunday, Graham became only the second tight end in NFL history to record four straight 100-yard receiving games. Not bad for a second-year guy who spent most of his life playing basketball, right?
Along with Graham, these are the players that have surprised Saints’ fans with their play so far this season.
Jimmy Graham is quickly becoming the best tight end in football, and teams are finding out that it is nearly impossible to shut this guy down.
He presents matchup problems with defensive backs and linebackers, and defensive coordinators will have to start focusing their game plan on that matchup every week.
He showed glimpses of greatness last year, as you can tell from the video I've posted. He's taken those glimpses of greatness and multiplied them by a thousand this year.
Let me put in perspective what kind of a year he’s having: Graham is leading the team in receiving yards with 620 and the player with the most receiving yards behind him is Darren Sproles with 310.
Yeah, Graham has more than double the amount of yards the rest of the Saints' receivers have.
He’s also leading the team, along with Robert Meachem, with three touchdown receptions.
Normally, I’m not a big fan of guys who talk trash, but Graham can talk all the trash he wants on the field, because he undoubtedly backs it up.
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After a shaky first couple of weeks, Patrick Robinson has really settled in and is playing quality football right now.
He went from being the weakness in the Saints' secondary early in the season to now leading the team in interceptions, with two.
I have complete faith in the Saints when they draft players, but I was beginning to wonder how long it would take Robinson to turn around and start being that shutdown corner we thought he would be.
I’m more than happy to say, Robinson is finally becoming that player, and he’s surprised me with how quickly he’s been able to turn his season around.
I knew he’d be a great addition, but I didn’t realize he’d be the Reggie Bush the Saints never had.
In the same way that Graham is a mismatch for the defense, Sproles makes defensive coordinators want to pull their hair out.
All he needs is a little crack of space, and he will burn the defense with a huge play after a few shifty moves.
So far this season, he’s second on the team in receiving yards with 310, is averaging 7.4 yards per carry and has three total touchdowns including a punt return.
Simply put, Sproles is electrifying.
He’s definitely cooled off in October, but Devery Henderson shot out of a cannon at the beginning of the year.
Unfortunately for the Saints, Henderson has cooled down this month and only has 23 yards receiving. Hopefully, Henderson gets involved more in the offense in the upcoming weeks.
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He hasn’t been overly impressive, but Jonathon Casillas has shown glimpses of a very bright future in Greg Williams’ defense.
So far this season, Williams has used Casillas very effectively in getting pressure on the quarterback. He’s recorded nine tackles in only his third year in the league with many more to come.
The future looks bright for Casillas, and I’ve been impressed with the way Williams has fit him into the defense. I really feel like Casillas is a star in the making.