The Arizona Cardinals are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to preparing to play the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday evening.
This includes a plan for covering 6-foot-7, 260-pound tight end Jimmy Graham, who everyone, including Kevin Minter, knows is almost impossible to stop in the open field.
“There really isn’t much you can do with that, unless you put a D-end out there to cover him. I really don’t know what to tell you. We try to scheme against it, but it’s really our guys just manning up and making a play on it. And pray,” Minter said, per the team’s website.
Graham only has one game this season when he surpassed 100 yards and he has scored only twice. It’s hardly the kind of season he, or anyone else, thought he’d have playing with Russell Wilson. However, Minter did seem concerned about facing the now-loaded Seahawks.
“They already had Marshawn (Lynch) and Russell (Wilson), and now they got that fool over there. You pick your poison with this team.”
Graham was undeniably challenging to cover as a member of the New Orleans Saints, having caught 46 touchdowns in his last four seasons with the team. Though now, Graham is utilized differently by the Seahawks and is not receiving nearly as many red-zone targets as he did with his former team.
Safety Tyrann Mathieu believes the team has defended opposing tight ends well and welcomes the challenge of covering Graham on Sunday.
So far this year, the Cardinals defense has been effective in handling some of the NFL’s better tight ends, limiting the position to an average of only 38.5 receiving yards per game. Furthermore, the only tight end to score against the Cardinals this season was Cleveland’s Gary Barnidge.
It should be fun on Sunday when these top NFC West teams clash in Seattle. Graham is a key player, and if he can find a way to make big plays, then the Seahawks will be tough to beat at home.