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Graham Discusses the Offseason, Drew Brees and Flying Planes

Posted Jun 5, 2012

Saints Pro Bowl TE focused after "crazy offseason"

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham
Media Availability Transcript
Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Watch the interview

You put up huge numbers last year, what areas can you improve on?

“The little things, the things people don’t notice. I see an extra thirty receptions out there that I left (on the table). I see chances where I could have done a little bit more on some blocks, sprung a couple of running backs free for a couple more yards, just things like that. I’m a young player, and I’m young to the game, so every day is a learning experience for me.”

How much does it help having a full off-season?

“It has helped me a lot. I guess more or less where it’s helping me is the chance to watch film, the chance to watch all the plays from last year, all the catches, all the drops and all the missed opportunities. Really where I’ve focused is on the film-watching aspect in getting better at what I know and working on defenses and recognizing that a little bit faster.”

Knowing there is at least a year’s worth of film that other teams have on you now, do you feel like they’re going to try to defend you differently considering how productive you were?

“Maybe. It’s hard to defend any one person on our team because we are so dynamic and we have so many weapons, our biggest weapon being Drew Brees. It’s hard to really defend that.”

Everybody called you a sleeper last year, but this year the expectations are high and there will be more attention on you from the media, fans, etc. Have you asked anyone if it is going to be a different experience?

“I would say at the end of last year that teams played a little bit more detailed to me. I could tell that they were just paying attention to me more and playing different looks and I was still able to find some holes. Once again with this offense that we have, it’s hard to really stop one person because if you’re focusing on one person, (Marques) Colston is going to go out there or light it up…or (Darren) Sproles…or Devery (Henderson). We have so many weapons.”

David Thomas said he went to six different doctors, trying to make sure that he was alright to come back from a couple of concussions. What do you gain out of him deciding that he was still good to go and is now back in the locker room?

“His leadership. He is like an older brother to me. He’s been there since I didn’t even know what a 3-4 (defense) was. He’s helped me out tremendously, especially in the running game. That’s where he’s really taught me so much and to have him back means everything.”

Are you still confident that Drew (Brees) will be here by training camp?

“I’m pretty confident, at least I hope so. He’s our leader and we want him here. I can’t wait for him to get here.”

Does there come a point where you start getting worried about it?

“He’s the quarterback; you want him here. You want him on the field leading us. More than our quarterback he is our leader. We are working hard without him and are getting better without him, and right now preparing for him to get here.”

Do you talk to him daily or weekly?

“I talk to him a lot about everything but football. I talk to him about fishing, golf and flying. I know he has a lot on his mind and he’s going through a lot right now. I just tell him that we all love him here and we are all anticipating him coming back. I let him know that we are working just as hard while he’s not here, because we know that once he gets here it’s going to come quick.”

How was your off-season?

“It’s been pretty busy, with all the pilot stuff and with (television) shows. It’s been crazy. I still remain focused and wanting to get better because that’s why I live; to play football and get better every off-season.”

Which television shows were you a part of?

I was on Oprah, so that was pretty cool to meet her. She’s really nice and very inspiring, so to have that opportunity to meet with her and share my story was pretty incredible.”

Are these events things that you would say “I felt obligated to do this” or “These are good opportunities”?

“These are great opportunities for me. A chance to maybe touch a little kid and to inspire him to maybe become something or get through something is why I do it. To have a camp here and then to give the proceeds to Boys Town Louisiana and help those kids out that really need it means a lot to me.”

How many pilot hours do you have right now?

Too many, actually, I flew every day last week. It’s cool to be able to fly over the (Mercedes-Benz) Dome and being able to take friends, family, and teammates up and show them the city from a different aspect. That is pretty cool.”

Do your teammates trust you in the air? What teammate has given you the most trust?

“David (Thomas) has the most trust in me. (Jonathan) Vilma, if the Miami Heat win (tonight), he’s going to go with me (to a future playoff game). So the Heat better win tonight.”

Did you get your foundation up and running?

“Not yet, but I am steadily working on that.  What I really want to do right now is focus on helping things in the community right now. If I have an event like I did with the football camp, the goal is to give the proceeds to someone in New Orleans. I want it to be very legitimate, I want it to be productive and it takes a long time to come up with all those things.”

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