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Jimmy Graham: "This is the Hungriest I Have Ever Been"

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham talks about what he wants to improve on this season

New Orleans Saints Tight End Jimmy Graham
Minicamp Media Availability
Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How are you feeling?
"I feel good. It was a good first day of red zone out there, first day of minicamp. Everything feels good having Sean (Payton) back and having Drew (Brees) here this offseason. It's all been great."

How about your health specifically? How does it feel to be back out there?
"Everything is going well. I've been in rehab and I've been getting stronger. Right now I'm almost 100%. Going into camp, I'll be 100%. It just feels good. It just feels good to be healthy finally and back playing like myself."

Can you talk about the fan support out at practice today?
"It's crazy how hot it is out there and our fans show up. I got here at about 6:30 this morning and there were fans waiting in line to get in. That's just how it is here. We definitely have a special group of fans."

How much do you think your injured wrist affected you last year?
"I don't use excuses and I can't blame it on that. I think everyone in this room wished they could have plays over and wished they could have changed the outcome of last year. That is the past and that year is over. Now I am healthy and just looking to the future and looking to get back in the playoffs."

You mentioned Sean (Payton) and (Drew) Brees being out there. You guys have answered this question a lot but, but is it to the point now where it really does just feel normal like everything is back to the way it should be?
"It definitely does on the offensive side of the ball. It feels like it did two years ago. We are right on pace and guys are learning. We have these installs and are running them really well. I'm definitely excited for what is going to happen this year and for everything to start to count."

Coach singled you out for having a good practice today. Just talk about bringing that intensity to the practice field and not just gamedays even in June right now?
"I'm a hungry player and this is probably the hungriest I've ever been to kind of right the wrongs of last year, prove what this team can do, and to maybe hush up some of the naysayers. For me, it's all work and doing as much as I can to be the best player I can."

Is that just team or is that individually you feel like you want to right some personal wrongs?
"I think team and individually. Every man has taken a long look in the mirror this offseason and put whatever we can on our own shoulders. First, you have to get better and you have to prove yourself. You have to correct some of the wrongs that you did last year and then collectively as a team. So, I've done that, looked at myself in the mirror and I'm ready."

Is there anything in particular that you want to focus on?
"Just all-around being more aggressive. From day one, being the aggressive player that I am and bringing the energy that I bring."

Is having (Nick) Toon here almost like having another draft pick for you guys?
"I'm defiantly happy to have him back healthy. He is a big receiver who runs great routes, has great hands, and to see him back healthy and the improvements that he has made is awesome."

Looking at the 3-4 defense from your perspective playing against them, can you compare it to what you saw last year, what you're noticing different, and what's it like out there flying around?
"There's a big difference as far as just run blocking. You've got some big outside linebackers there just holding the edge. They seem to be doing a lot of stand up lately. Sometimes that gets difficult whenever you're trying to figure out who to block, who to pass protect against, who is going to jam you, and who isn't. They have really been doing a great job of mixing it up. With their coverages today in the red zone, they were doubling three guys sometimes. It's definitely been a mix up for us and sometimes even we struggled against that kind of defense with San Francisco and what not. It's great practice for us even. It's defiantly been different and it looks nice."

Do you think, from what you've seen, we will see a drastic improvement even though we are only in June?
"I hope so. I know that, just like our offense is, our defense is righting the wrongs from last year. So far it looks great, it really does. They have done a great job and they are really mixing it up."

Did you say there were people here at 6:30 this morning?
"6:30 in the morning. It was already 80 degrees and people were drinking Gatorades and waiting to get into practice."

How do you feel as a player? Since this is your fourth year, you are a veteran.
"I guess I've been here the longest as far as tight ends go on this team. That's defnitely different. I've always had an older guy. I've always had a David Thomas or a Jeremy Shockey. I've always had somebody there to kind of teach me and to kind of follow them. Now it's a little bit more on my shoulders but I do have Benjamin Watson and Michael Higgins. All these guys have been in the league a while, so its definitely a different feel. I'm definitely getting a little older, I'm learning a lot more about defenses this year, and I think that's what is going to help."

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