Additionally, what makes New Orleans even more dangerous is that the quantity is complemented by versatility. And leading that department is Jimmy Graham.
When going over his checklist, Brown has the tight end at the top, along with running back Darren Sproles, who has nearly double the amount of catches than rushing attempts this season (51:26).
“He’s pretty high,” Brown said of Graham. “He’s probably the top two – between him and Sproles because they’re so versatile at their positions and they’re able to move around and do lot of different things. You have to be able to know where they are and be able to match up on them.”
In the 2011 meeting, Graham hauled in two of Drew Brees’ four touchdowns, including a 29-yarder that put the Saints ahead 35-10 late in the third quarter. Meanwhile, five different players had 45 receiving yards or more that night.
“It’s definitely one of those things where you know you have to make sure you’re disciplined at all times because between any of their receivers, tight ends, running backs, [Brees] can be able to hit them at any time,” Brown said. “So you definitely need to be on your guy.”
Graham has been particularly devastating inside the 20 this season, where six of his eight touchdowns have come in 2012. Of those, three have been from the one-yard line and another from six. That’s when his basketball DNA takes over. Graham is in a long line of former dual-sport tight ends that includes Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, and even the Giants’
“With him being a basketball guy, he does definitely have that athletic ability,” Brown said, referencing Graham. "He’s able to go up and get the ball, and he does very well like he’s boxing people out. You have to work against all that.”
He added: “The key is you definitely have to mix it up on him and keep him guessing. And then you just have to flat-out play.”