I said this because it was the obvious joke, and because Jimmy’s success against the erstwhile Badger made me just a smidgen happier than standard Jimmy success. Just a smidgen.
Because, make no mistake, Tyrann Mathieu has no business covering Jimmy Graham. It’s not really fair–and not just because of the incredible size difference between the two players but because Mathieu also can’t really handle Jimmy’s route-running.
At this point, Jimmy Graham runs routes almost like a Megatron-class wide receiver. Keep that in mind as his contract negotiations begin.
And now for the film.
Second Quarter, 4:33 Remaining
The first Graham/Mathieu matchup we’ll look at is actually a win for both of them.
Jimmy picks up 21 yards, but Mathieu makes an extremely good tackle. Jimmy leaps up after this play, screaming, flexing muscles–I think maybe getting tackled here made him a little mad. In the end poor Honey Badger is the one who suffers for it.
Third Quarter, 5:45 Remaining
At the bottom of the gif, Jimmy Graham is lined up as a split end, with Mathieu alone in coverage. This is an obvious jump-ball size mismatch sort of thing, but it’s not Jimmy’s size that wins the day here: It’s his quickness and route-running. Jimmy uses a quick move that Mathieu bites on terribly, then simply runs past the smaller guy.
In a footrace, I’m probably taking Jimmy Graham over Tyrann Mathieu. And that’s scary.
Wide receiver-like skills are what carry Jimmy past Honey Badger in our other example, too.
Fourth Quarter, 11:07 Remaining
In this one, Jimmy starts off lined up behind another receiver. The result is Mathieu ends up covering him again. Sorry, Badger.
Getting off the line cleanly, Jimmy makes two sharp cuts, and the overwhelmed Mathieu bites on both of them. Again, these are receiver moves–sharper route-running than even Marques Colston, who relies routinely on his size advantage more than Jimmy does on his, can generally manage.
After being burned and seeing Jimmy catch the pass in front of him, Tyrann Mathieu tries for a tackle. That doesn’t work, either. Jimmy carries Mathieu for a while, then drops him. Honey Badger’s fortunate the sideline was his friend on the play.
Jimmy Graham Is Very Awesome
Read the heading again in case you need to be reminded.
We’re no longer talking about a size mismatch monster playing tight end. We’re talking about Jimmy Graham, Megatron equivalent as a weapon. The gifs above are evidence, but if you need more proof, here’s some numbers.
That’s not Calvin Johnson‘s 2012 statistics (122 catches, 1964 yards, 5 touchdowns, in case you’re wondering). Those are the numbers you get if you project Jimmy Graham’s stats so far out over a full 16 game season.
Right now, Jimmy Graham is not competing with Rob Gronkowski‘s tight end records. He could set all-time receiving records.
Why would the Saints make their first contract offer to Jimmy now, three weeks into the season? Why not a month ago? Why not a few months from now?
Maybe it’s because 13 more games like this would put Jimmy Graham in a position to ask for a contract as large as the one Detroit gave Calvin Johnson.
Photo via Tom Pumphret